New York Giants keep Dave Gettleman, as GM and co-owner John Mara both say team is 'on the right track'

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman is returning for a fourth season with the same title and responsibilities, team co-owner John Mara announced Wednesday.

Mara said he "really didn't contemplate" firing Gettleman despite the Giants' 6-10 record this season, citing the GM's relationship with first-year head coach Joe Judge and their personnel moves over the past year.

"I think the way Dave and Joe worked together, I thought our personnel decisions were really sound this year," Mara said. "I feel better about our roster than I have in years. I think the two of them working together have started the building process of something that can have sustained success going forward.

"And I just didn't think that making a change at this point in time was something that was going to be beneficial for us."

The Giants have a 15-33 record with Gettleman as the GM, losing at least 10 games each season. Only the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cincinnati Bengals and New York Jets have compiled worse records during that span.

The Giants have conceded there were key personnel miscalculations in 2018 that set the organization back. But Gettleman insisted they have made "quality strides" over the past two years, beginning with his insistence that the culture and locker room have improved.

It's a sentiment that was shared by ownership, and the overarching belief in the building is that it has the Giants moving in the right direction.

"The best thing I can say is John said 2018, we didn't have a stellar roster-building season. It has affected us," Gettleman said Wednesday. "But we're on the right track right now and done some really good stuff the last few years.

"We're gonna fix this. We're gonna fix this."

Mara emphasized that Gettleman's long-term status would not be determined solely by the Giants' record in 2021, saying "everything in this business is year to year."

There were rumblings in recent weeks that Gettleman could have a redefined role or retire, but the Giants are ready to move forward with him in Year 2 working alongside Judge. Gettleman, who turns 70 next month, has no desire to retire and recently received a clean bill of health from his lymphoma doctor at his 24-month review.

Gettleman battled cancer during the 2018 season, his first full year in charge of the roster.

After a 1-7 start this season, New York won five of its last eight games and was in contention to win the woeful NFC East until the final game of the regular season, when the Washington Football Team clinched the division title with a controversial victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.

"The fact that we did go 5-3 in the second half of the season gave me some reason for some optimism about what we have in the locker room," said Mara, who also noted six wins wasn't deserving of a playoff spot. "Obviously, we need to be better going forward."

Mara insisted that the sorry state of the division this season and meaningful December games that came as a result were not among the reasons the Giants decided to remain status quo.

"We were playing meaningful games because our division is what it is, but I think it was more of a factor that our younger players -- and some of our new players that we brought in here -- were showing why we either took them in free agency or picked them in the draft," Mara said. "I think our talent level finally started to show itself a little bit.

"Now, we're far from a finished product. There are a lot more pieces that we need here. But I think we are in much better shape now than before."

Gettleman was hired to replace Jerry Reese late in the 2017 season and is just the fourth GM since 1979 for a Giants organization known for its patience.

Judge spoke highly last week of his working relationship with Gettleman and other key members of the front office, saying he has "enjoyed working with Dave the entire year" and that the two of them have "done a lot of good things together."

Mara and co-owner Steve Tisch said last year that Gettleman's batting average needed to improve, but they decided to retain him for the 2020 season because they thought he deserved a chance to finish what he started.

The results were still much of the same for the Giants, who have endured three consecutive losing seasons under Gettleman.

"Obviously [the wins] have to come soon," Gettleman said. "The idea is to win. Like I said, a lot of things have happened. We're definitely on the right track."

Gettleman, by his own admission, needed to do better than his first two years working with Pat Shurmur as the coach. He has overseen the construction of a Giants roster that features star running back Saquon Barkley, the No. 2 overall draft pick in 2018, and quarterback Daniel Jones, the sixth overall pick in 2019.

The Giants had more success in free agency this past offseason than the previous two years. Cornerback James Bradberry made the Pro Bowl while middle linebacker Blake Martinez and safety Logan Ryan were key players on defense. All three were key free-agent acquisitions last offseason. All three are under contract for at least two more years.

"I just think there is a different feeling in the building now than there has been in a number of years," Mara said. "I think that is why I'm optimistic."