It has been a wild few days of Odell Beckham Jr. rhetoric and speculation. The ride through another day in the life of the most electric New York Giants personality of the 21st century dominated the NFL’s annual meetings.
After all that unfolded, it appears we’re back where we started Sunday, when co-owner John Mara first spoke publicly about being “tired” of questions about Beckham’s behavior and said his star player wasn’t untouchable. The Giants don’t want to trade Beckham. They don’t have him on the block, but they are at least willing to listen to offers. If a team happens to blow them away, anything can happen.
Mara and co-owner Steve Tisch, general manager Dave Gettleman and coach Pat Shurmur wouldn’t guarantee Beckham will be on their roster this season, despite more than a few opportunities to do so. But they also wouldn’t guarantee that anybody (aside from maybe Nate Solder) will be on the roster.
This is relevant because Beckham is the team’s best player and biggest star but has been the subject of some controversy of late (see: video from France). He is looking for a new contract.
If this were the Atlanta Falcons or Pittsburgh Steelers, they wouldn’t be saying publicly Julio Jones or Antonio Brown weren’t untouchable. That’s because those teams have already committed to their star receivers.
The Giants haven’t committed to Beckham long term. They want him on their roster. They just don’t really want to pay him, and their actions to date illustrate this point. Tisch conceded Monday talks were in the “premature stages,” which means they haven’t really begun negotiations.
All these vagaries the past few days from the Giants brass ultimately (unintended or not) served a purpose.
1. It invited teams to come with offers. Big offers. The Giants aren’t desperate to trade Beckham, but they would consider it if the price were right. The thinking, according to multiple executives, is this is real. The Giants under Gettleman and Shurmur would move on from the enigmatic wide receiver, and there are teams that are interested and will undoubtedly come with proposals. It appears unlikely anything will happen at this point, but the Giants starting 2018 season without Beckham on their roster is plausible.
2. At worst, the Giants put Beckham on notice. Nothing else had really worked to date. Maybe this does? They’ve talked to him, expressed their desires … and the incidents keep occurring. Well, now he knows they really mean business. Trust me, Beckham has taken notice of the fact the Giants are willing to contemplate LAB (Life After Beckham). They are going to vet whatever trade offers come their way. Any slip, trouble or peep from Beckham in the next few weeks could be his last straw.
Both sides know what they want. The Giants want a healthy Beckham on board with the new regime and willing to show them he’s ready to be a team player by showing up for the offseason workout program as they try to rebuild the culture. Maybe then the Giants will sit down and begin contract negotiations.
It would be a sign of goodwill from both parties, which seems necessary given the current situation. Beckham is returning from a broken ankle. The Giants need assurance he’s back to his previous form.
Beckham wants to be wanted. He has seen that just about all the other wide receivers from his draft class — aside from Kelvin Benjamin and Brandin Cooks — are on their second contracts. Mike Evans, Sammy Watkins, Marquis Lee, Paul Richardson, Allen Robinson and Jarvis Landry — all of whom were drafted in 2014 along with Beckham — will pocket more from their teams in 2018 (salaries plus signing bonuses) than Beckham if he plays this season on the $ 8.5 million fifth-year option from his rookie contract.
That will not sit well with the three-time Pro Bowl receiver. His play when healthy warrants more. It can easily be argued Beckham is the best wide receiver from his draft class. The Giants know it. They just aren’t sure if he can be trusted or if he’s worth the price tag that a player of his caliber would command.
It has all led us to this point, where the Giants will at least look at offers for Beckham’s services and won’t guarantee he will be on the roster this coming season.