Dave Gettleman has made a series of head-scratching moves that sometimes seem to contradict each other. Meanwhile, a fan base already angered by nearly a decade of failure, gets whiplash trying to figure him out.
So what is Gettleman doing? Apparently only Gettleman knows. To the media and to the paying customers, he said on Monday that it's none of our business.
He's wants everyone to trust the process. He wants everyone to trust him.
"Very honestly, it's not my responsibility to tell you guys what I'm doing," Gettleman said, speaking for the first time since his franchise-shaking Odell Beckham Jr. trade. "Just like it's not my responsibility to respond to every rumor that comes down the pike. That's not my job, OK? That's not my responsibility.
"Trust me, we've got a plan. You've got to be patient. Everyone wants the answers now. We're in an instant-gratification world. Over time, you'll see it. You've got to trust it."
The problem is, Gettleman is asking for a blind faith that won't be easy for Giants fans to give him, nor will it last long if they do. Maybe he'll eventually earn that trust. He just better hurry, because the patience of his fan base is already wearing out.
In fairness, that trust is what all new general managers should get, and Gettleman is still new-ish at this job, having only been the GM in New York for 15 months. When he got here, he inherited a team that was a 3-13 mess with bad contracts and a combustible locker room. He had a lot of work to do. Dynasties aren't built in a day.
But the last few weeks have strained everyone's ability to trust, as Gettleman has continued to dismantle the roster, parting with talented young players like Landon Collins and Beckham while sticking by a 38-year-old quarterback and adding older veterans like safety Antoine Bethea and receiver Golden Tate.
He passed up a chance to trade Collins in October, only to let him walk away for nothing four months later. He traded Beckham after insisting "We didn't sign him to trade him" and without shopping him for better offers around the league. He stuck by his fading quarterback, even though cutting him could have yielded $16 million in salary cap space.
Add in the free agent signings of older veterans, and it sometimes looks less like a plan and more like throwing darts.
"We're building," was Gettleman's only explanation on Monday. "The object of this is to win as many games as possible, every year, OK? So we're building. I don't understand why that's a question, you know? Really and truly, you can win while you're building."
That remains to be seen, especially since players like Beckham, Collins and edge-rusher Olivier Vernon could have helped the Giants win - maybe even moreso than their replacements. Beckham, in particular, is one of the top talents in the NFL. It's hard to argue the Giants are better without him, especially if Gettleman insists, as he did, that the deal "was purely a football decision."
It wasn't, of course. As sources told SNY, the deal was much more about Beckham's off-field headaches. Even Gettleman, when questioned on that, admitted "Obviously there's a lot of stuff that factors in." Same with Collins, whom the Giants chose not to use the franchise tag on, after declining to accept the offers they received for him back in October. Gettleman said those offers - which SNY reported were not higher than a third-round pick - weren't what he felt Collins was worth.
Those explanations won't calm the frayed nerves of the Giants' paying customers, though. Nor will they feel better about Manning after Gettleman said "The narrative that Eli is overpaid and can't play is a crock." Gettleman even said that picking up Manning's $5 million roster bonus and not reducing his $23.2 million salary cap hit was such a no-brainer "there really wasn't a decision to make."
Many, many would disagree.
And that's Gettleman's biggest problem: The fans don't trust him right now. They did at first, when he came in and started sweeping out some of the Giants' old problems and seemed to be a no-nonsense tough guy whose focus was rebuilding the offensive line. Then it didn't work fast enough. Then he went farther with his moves than anyone expected.
And honestly, it's not clear if fans want him to pull back the reins and stop cleaning what's left of his house, or go even further and sweep out Manning and any other dead weight he can find. All that is clear is fans are confused and angry and want to know exactly what Gettleman is doing.
The fact that he won't say will only anger them even more.
At this point, really, there's only one way for him to regain the trust of the fan base. He needs to win, and sooner than later. This Giants team needs to play at least .500 football and threaten to make the playoffs. Manning has to be the quarterback Gettleman thinks he is. The line has to protect him. And it would help if Tate had a huge season while Beckham does not with the Browns.
In the meantime, he has no choice but to accept the fans' anger. His only hope is that by the end of this upcoming season, or maybe even the next, they look back and say "Oh, now I get it" when he's done.