New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman is 30 pounds lighter, has a fresh layer of thickness in his Boston accent and lives in his son’s basement.
And he couldn’t be happier.
Gettleman, the former GM of the Carolina Panthers, was out of football last season after team owner Jerry Richardson fired him unexpectedly last summer.
But his energetic re-emergence at the helm of the Giants seems to agree with him, although he did not expand much on the nature of the events that got him there during his podium session at the NFL scouting combine on Wednesday.
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“It just, I think you need to check with ‘Mister,’” he said, referring to the nickname for Richardson some Panthers coaches and players use. “You know, it happened. I said it publicly, anytime something like that happens, we all have to understand that we’re complicit. We’re all complicit. OK? So I had to step back and be honest, and I have a great wife that’ll make me do that ...
“And you have to understand that when there is a difference of opinion between people, and you guys have all had arguments, and you ladies have all had arguments, if you have a difference of opinion, somewhere in the middle is where it should be.
“You know, it’s his franchise, he made a decision, and here I am.”
The Giants built another Carolina-to-New York connection earlier this month, when they hired an unemployed Mike Shula, the Panthers’ former offensive coordinator.
There has also been speculation that Gettleman may look toward Carolina again as free agency approaches.
Gettleman is known for his love of offensive linemen, and may have a particular fondness for potential free agent guard Andrew Norwell based on their history.
Gettleman signed Norwell in 2014 as an undrafted free agent, and the guard has since worked his way up to an All-Pro talent and one of the top projected free agent prospects this spring.
Gettleman noticed Norwell’s ascension.
“(His development) is exciting,” he said. “He’s a great kid. Blue-collar, hog molly, I love him. It’s really gratifying for me to see where he’s at.”
Gettleman has a reputation for being fiscally conservative when negotiating contracts. But Norwell, who signed with big-time agent Drew Rosenhaus last summer, will require a large deal.
Despite cutting three former starters this week and sitting on nearly $30 million in cap space, the Panthers may be unable to offer Norwell the money he seeks because of the large contracts they have given left tackle Matt Kalil and guard Trai Turner. The Panthers also need immediate help at safety, defensive end and wide receiver.
Gettleman doesn’t publicly discuss contracts and declined to comment on whether he would pursue Norwell in free agency to help fix an ailing Giants offensive line.
But the prospect of paying a lot for a guard doesn’t seem to faze him.
“At the end of the day, it’s keeping your quarterback upright and out of the hospital,” he said. “I mean, there’s a bunch of guards now that are getting paid, and when you think about it, they’re closer to the quarterback.
“Listen, it’s the market. Is that car worth $150,000? If someone buys it, I guess it’s worth it, you know what I mean? It’s no different.”