Dave Gettleman wouldn't put a timetable on how quickly he'd be able to "fix" the Giants' terrible offensive line, but he certainly didn't take long to get started.
The new Giants GM took big steps to shake up the line on his first full day as the new Giants general manager by releasing right tackle Bobby Hart and, according to multiple team sources, approving the benching of left tackle Ereck Flowers. Both players are on the injury report as "questionable" this week, and both players refused to practice on Friday, according to a team source.
The Giants apparently believed their injuries - an ankle for Hart and a groin for Flowers - weren't serious enough to keep them off the field completely, especially after they were limited at practice on Wednesday and Thursday. The team was also fed-up with their attitudes, according to a source - a problem which goes back several weeks.
One former Giants player said that Hart was refusing to play in the Giants' finale against the Redskins on Sunday afternoon. A team source confirmed that and added that Flowers had made it known he didn't want to play either.
"Gettleman isn't playing. Clearing out locker room cancers," Tweeted Geoff Schwartz, who played for the Giants in 2014-15, which included the rookie years for both Hart and Flowers. "Made it easy for him when Hart came into the facility this week and told the staff he wasn't playing this week. Nice try."
Schwartz added "Hopefully Gettleman continues to rid that OL room of guys who bring it down" - a reference that he made clear in later Tweets was directed at Flowers.
It's unclear if Flowers will be active on Sunday, though one source said probably not. Rookie Chad Wheeler is expected to start at left tackle in Flowers' place.
That's quite a fall for the Giants' season-opening tackles - and players former GM Jerry Reese said he expected "to make a significant jump this season."
The Giants also promoted two linemen off their practice squad on Friday - veteran Nick Becton and rookie Adam Bisnowaty, their sixth-round pick out of Pitt.
It's unclear what the long-term plans are for Flowers, the Giants' 2015 first-round pick. Releasing him is financially unwise because his 2018 salary of $2,397,522 is guaranteed and he'll count for $4.5 million against the Giants salary cap next season whether he's on the roster or not. It does not seem likely that he will return as the left tackle. In the past the Giants have internally discussed moving him to right tackle, or even to guard.
As for Hart, this was quite a fall for the former seventh-round pick who this past offseason declared himself "the best right tackle in the league." He was far from that, of course, during this injury-plagued season and team sources said his attitude got worse as the season went on. And since his $705,000 in 2018 is guaranteed and his rookie signing bonus was only $71,000, he was very expendable
The Giants also placed receiver Tavarres King on injured reserve and promoted tight end Ryan O'Malley. They previously had one opening on their roster when they suspended cornerback Eli Apple earlier this week.