When new general manager Dave Gettleman arrived to the New York Giants for his second go-around with the team, it was clear there was a lot of work to do. First is finding a new head coach, a process that is ongoing. Then there’s the matter of figuring out what to do with the second overall pick in the draft, determining Eli Manning’s future with the club and setting a long-term strategy for Odell Beckham and his looming contract issues.
No big deal, eh?
But somewhere fairly high on the totem pole of the Giants’ offseason objectives is cleaning up a locker room that became a toxic place by season’s end. Gettleman established his no-nonsense, turn-the-page style as the Carolina Panthers GM by letting Steve Smith walk (at zero salary-cap savings) and rescinding the franchise tag on Josh Norman, who shockingly was let go with nothing to show.
And when Gettleman returned to the Giants, what was one of his first moves? Cutting starting right tackle Bobby Hart, who reportedly had mentally checked out this season. That seemed to be an example of what owner John Mara said when he promised “wholesale changes” to come.
Gettleman said at his press conference: “my plan is to come in here every day and kick ass. That’s my plan, OK?’’ One longtime Giants staffer, who remains with the team for now, said it didn’t take long for those words and Gettleman’s intentions to make their way through the building.
So it has been a natural assumption that cornerback Eli Apple, a former first-round pick (10th overall) of former GM Jerry Reese, would be on the chopping block. After all, Apple was suspended this season for his behavior and called out by safety Landon Collins as a locker-room “cancer.”
But will Gettleman ship Apple out? That hasn’t been determined yet, we’ve been told. It’s still possible, and the Giants still could find buyers for a talented 22-year-old corner who might just need some maturing and a strong locker room to get the best out of him.
It appears that Gettleman has met with Apple already, and we’re told that there could be further discussions on whether he wants to be with the team. Even with the limitations put on teams speaking with players through parts of the offseason, that’s never been an issue for teams wanting to circumvent the rules or have second-hand discussions with Apple’s agents.
If the Giants feel Apple is committed, he could be back. Collins’ surprising defense of Apple and stated desire to see him back in 2018 this week also can’t go overlooked.