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Dave Gettleman emerges as favorite in Giants' GM search

It's a rarity for an NFL team to create a general manager opening midway through the season, yet two teams did it this week.

The Browns moved quickly, firing executive vice president Sashi Brown on Thursday and hiring former Chiefs general manager John Dorsey in less than 24 hours. While the Giants fired Jerry Reese three days earlier, their search is expected to move far more deliberately.

Though co-owner John Mara said it's "possible" to hire someone before the end of the year, sources say the organization is expected to wait until the end of 2017 to fill its GM post. They will want to interview some personnel people who are currently employed -- which Cleveland didn't do.

And several sources informed of their GM search say the Giants do have an early favorite: former Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman.

Co-owners Mara and Steve Tisch almost always hire individuals with ties to the organization, and Gettleman has that. He was the Pro Personnel Director and the Senior Pro Personnel Analyst with the Giants until Carolina hired him away in 2013.

While he led the Panthers out of salary-cap hell and built a Super Bowl participant, he stayed in touch with friend and confidant, Ernie Accorsi, who is serving as the Giants' consultant for the search. Gettleman and Accorsi have have been in contact recently and the Giants are the two sides are set to formally talk this week.

Interim GM Kevin Abrams, a respected executive in the league, also will get serious consideration for the head job. One upside of Gettleman is that Abrams would likely stay in the organization if he were hired, perhaps with a promotion.

Had Dorsey not been hired by the Browns, the Giants would have interviewed him, a source said. That's one reason Cleveland moved as quickly as it did.

Among the other key names for GM openings this year are Nick Caserio (Patriots), Joey Clinkscales (Raiders), Eric DeCosta (Ravens), Don Gregory (Panthers), Brian Gutekunst (Packers), Trey Brown (Eagles), Will McClay (Cowboys), George Paton (Vikings), Jimmy Raye III (Texans), Eliot Wolf (Packers), Doug Williams (Redskins), Scott Pioli (Falcons) and Martin Mayhew (49ers).

The Giants' tentative plan is to hire a GM first and then a coach. If it's Gettleman, no doubt Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks will get a serious look because of his reputation and their history. As one of the most high-profile jobs in football, the Giants' coaching vacancy is expected to draw a top-tier list of candidates.

Follow Ian Rapoport on Twitter @RapSheet

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