EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- General manager Dave Gettleman didn’t hesitate to hit the hole. He charged right through it upon taking the job and immediately began tearing apart the 2017 New York Giants roster.
Right tackle Bobby Hart was waived Saturday after declaring himself out for what turned into Sunday’s 18-10 victory over the Washington Redskins when they ran for a season-best 260 yards. Hart had started seven games this season and was the Giants’ Week 1 starter at the position before struggling and bouncing in and out of the lineup all season.
Cutting Hart isn’t a crippling loss. It will hardly be noticed by the time Gettleman’s done cleaning out this roster.
“It’s definitely going to be different,” said running back Orleans Darkwa, who led the team in rushing but is set to become an unrestricted free agent.
Hart’s attitude and production made him an easy target. He will undoubtedly not be the last to be jettisoned from a team that had a worse record (3-13) than everybody but the Cleveland Browns.
Flowers pulled the same stunt as Hart by declaring himself unable to play Sunday against the Redskins. It was hardly a surprise. One of his teammates earlier in the week had noted that Flowers and Hart were checked out and didn’t want to play in the season finale. He was right.
The only difference between Flowers and Hart? Flowers is a first-round pick. That gives him a chance. They both isolated themselves from the rest of the offensive line from the day they arrived in 2015. Neither have been popular in the offensive line room or the locker room.
But Flowers, the No. 9 overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft, was a considerably more talented prospect and could have some value in a trade.
“[Former Giants] general manager Ernie [Accorsi] taught me something a long time ago: don’t quit on talent,” Gettleman said at his introductory news conference Friday. “Don’t quit on talent.”
Cleaning out a locker room that has seen three cornerbacks suspended and an offensive lineman waived and benched during this season was an obvious priority for the new general manager. But Gettleman’s job stretches beyond that.
The Giants weren’t this bad strictly because of attitude and coaching. Their roster was flawed and single-ply thin. Many of Gettleman’s predecessor’s draft picks simply haven’t played well enough to hang around much longer.
These are the bit decisions. Gettleman will address bigger and more important subjects, beginning with quarterback Eli Manning and star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Manning will be 37-years-old this week and was benched earlier this year. Beckham is looking to get paid, likely as the league’s highest-paid receiver.
“Well, I think we’ve just got to see what happens,” Manning said about his situation.
The early returns under Gettleman are that both will return, but anything is possible at this point. That is inevitable when a new regime comes into town.
“I don’t really care, to tell you the truth,” defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul said. “I know he is going to come in and do what he is supposed to do and give the coaches the hand that we need. Whatever he does, I’m behind him, and I will be ready to play football next year.”
Gettleman is also faced with decisions on more than a few key free agents. Offensive linemen Justin Pugh, D.J. Fluker and Weston Richburg, running back Orleans Darkwa and linebackers Jonathan Casillas and Devon Kennard are unsigned.
Whatever happens, expect for the Giants to look drastically different in 2018 than they did this season when Jerry Reese shaped the roster. Given the results, it will be for the better.