INDIANAPOLIS -- Giants GM Dave Gettleman was barely a minute into his first press conference in nearly two months, when he dove head-first into the Odell Beckham Jr. rumors. He wanted to put out the fire that had only just begun to spark.
"I'll say this," he began. "It's a repeat of what I said at my postseason presser: We didn't sign Odell to trade him. OK? So I know that's all over the place. So understand that.
"That's all I need to say about that."
Oh, if only it were.
Within hours, there were two national reports that the Giants were either interested in or open to trading their star receiver, which of course follows the "bold prediction" from NFL Insider Jay Glazer earlier this month that Beckham would be traded during the offseason. Indeed, the "Will they or won't they?" speculation about Beckham is one of the hottest topics behind the scenes (and at the bars) of the NFL scouting combine this week.
All of which begs this question: Why won't Gettleman just say no?
His faux outrage at the speculation is amusing since he could bury it all by just saying "Hell no, we're not trading Odell Beckham Jr." And it's not like he hasn't been given that chance. After his initial "We didn't sign Odell to trade him" comment at his end-of-the-season press conference, he was asked directly if that means Beckham isn't going anywhere. His response: "You heard what I said."
True. And everyone also heard what he didn't say. So after he repeated that line at his podium press conference at the combine on Wednesday, he was given a second chance to be clearer when he met with local reporters for about 20 minutes in a separate interview session.
Asked if he'd be willing to definitively say Beckham will not be traded, Gettleman said "I just told you, we didn't sign him to trade him."
Told that his statement sounded like he didn't intend to trade him last August when they signed him to a five-year, $90 million deal, Gettleman said "That's good ears. You heard me."
When asked if there's a reason he won't just say no, Gettleman said this: "First of all, why is it my responsibility to eliminate that speculation? Because you guys could say anything, get it cooking around the table, and now I got to answer that. Am I wrong? No, I'm not wrong. So I told you what I said. Next question."
And finally, when told it's not about responsibility, it's just that reporters were giving him an opportunity to put the speculation to rest, once and for all, Gettleman said: "I just told you what I feel."
There's a lot to unpack there and a lot that can be interpreted in a myriad of ways, which might be Gettleman's intention. Maybe it's all as simple as he just doesn't want to be boxed into a corner. It's hard to understand why he won't just say no, though. Last year when he refused, it was all about sending Beckham a message. Maybe that's what he's trying to do again?
Only Gettleman knows for sure. But here's what we know -- and what SNY has reported, from various sources -- about what's true and what's not true about the Beckham trade talk:
The Giants are not shopping their star receiver. They decided he would be part of their long-term future before they even began negotiations on the long-term deal he signed last year. However, he has proven to be a headache at times. Even his biggest organizational supporter -- head coach Pat Shurmur -- was furious at him at times last year, especially after his infamous ESPN interview when he said he didn't know if the Giants had a quarterback problem.
They haven't given up on him. They're not throwing him away. But they will listen if other teams call. Nothing will be serious, though, unless they are overwhelmed with an offer. The likely starting point to get their attention is a first-round pick, plus something else of high value (like a second first-round pick).
Chances are that won't happen. But what happens if the Giants-Beckham relationship deteriorates? What happens if there's another controversial video or interview in his future? For now, Shurmur said his relationship with Beckham remains "good" and they've communicated "frequently" in the last few weeks. He also said "I'm looking forward to having him back here in April."
But what if Beckham doesn't show up?
It's those "what ifs" that seem to be the reason why Gettleman won't slam the door on a possible Beckham deal. He's been controversial, unpredictable, and at times a lot to handle, and the Giants are often closer to the breaking point than they may publicly appear.
So the bottom line on what Gettleman said and didn't say is this: The Giants don't seem intent on trading Beckham, and the most likely scenario is he's on the Opening Day roster in 2019. But they're not as locked into his future as they were the day he signed his contract, so they're open to being overwhelmed in a potential deal.
In the meantime, Gettleman purposely kept the door open to rumors, reports and speculation. So don't expect those to go away any time soon.