Odell Beckham Jr. is arguably on pace to the be the greatest receiver of his generation, and will soon be rewarded by the New York Giants for his elite play with a deal that will likely make him the NFL’s highest-paid receiver.
But that day won’t be today, tomorrow, or even this offseason.
It was well known that the fiery receiver had decided not to participate in the Giants’ voluntary OTA sessions, but it was reported Wednesday that Beckham’s absence was due to a desire for a new contract.
Beckham will make a base salary of just over $1.8 million in 2017 in the penultimate year of his rookie deal (the Giants exercised his 2018 fifth-year option worth $8.4 million in April). There’s few who’d argue that he isn’t one of the biggest bargains in the NFL.
But Beckham is overplaying his hand. He simply doesn’t have the cards to pull off this kind of move.
No one disputes Beckham’s otherworldly talents on the field, and while his sidelines antics and emotionally charged outbursts have appeared to wear thin on some in the Giants organization, they’re nowhere near enough of an issue for New York to consider life without him.
Talent trumps all in the NFL. Always has, always will.
But teams own nearly all the power in contract negotiations. Thanks to the fifth-year option and possibility of using the franchise tag in back-to-back years, the Giants could conceivably control Beckham until the 2020 season if the star receiver demands the world, albeit at a steep price.
None of the lauded 2014 first-round draft class has signed an extension, and only Los Angeles Rams star defensive tackle Aaron Donald is reportedly close to doing so, probably thanks to his immaculate record on and off the field and the Rams’ open desire to reward him for back-to-back first-team All-Pro nods.
(Photo courtesy: Action Images)
The Giants have no reason to come to the negotiating table, other than to appease their best player, and in doing so, potentially set a precedent for more of their players to demand new deals. The fact that New York only has around $8 million in cap space likely only increases their desire to ignore Beckham’s wishes.
As pointed out by ESPN’s Dan Graziano, the Giants have recently shown a willingness to reward their top players, even if disaster strikes in the contract years.
After defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul proved he could still play in 2016 after sustaining significant hand injuries in a July 2015 fireworks accident, the Giants hit him with the franchise tag this offseason and signed him to a big-money extension just weeks later.
That doesn’t mean Beckham shouldn’t push for a deal, he should just wait until the right moment. The Giants have proven time and time again that they’re one of the best-run organizations in the NFL. Beckham’s time will come, and he should be buoyed by New York’s handling of the Pierre-Paul situation.
Beckham is reportedly expected to be at next week’s mandatory minicamp, though it’s no lock, as he was also expected to report at some point during OTAs.
After all this drama, it could be forgotten in a matter of weeks.
If the receiver’s absence is a statement of intent to the Giants, a signal of displeasure ahead of next offseason’s negotiations without actually giving up any money in fines for missing mandatory work, then his stance makes sense.
But if Beckham is trying to leverage a new deal for 2017, he’s in for a rude awakening.
In the NFL, the house always wins.
Copyright © 2017 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.