Odell Beckham Jr. won’t play again this season for the New York Giants. No official announcement about surgery on his fractured left ankle has been made, nor has a move to place him on injured reserve been announced. Those things, though, are coming. Almost as certainly as the fact that the sun rises every morning.
What is not certain the wake of Beckham’s devastating injury is what happens next between Beckham and the Giants. Beckham has said he wants to be the game’s highest-paid player, something that was never realistically going to happen? Highest-paid receiver, maybe. The Giants have said they want him to play his entire career with them, and that they would eventually make him incredibly rich.
What happens now is anyone’s guess. The Giants hold a fifth-year option on Beckham for next season. Do they give him a long-term deal, albeit probably at less money than he thought? Do they make him play on the fifth-year option and see if he can reach pre-injury form, or if he is different? Who will be making the decisions? Throwing the passes when he does come back?
At 0-5 and headed for what might be a historically bad season all of these things open for debate, and none have clear answers.
Here are what some other NFL writers are saying about the Beckham situation:
The best teams in the NFL don’t hand out contracts to reward play from the past, but to invest in a player for the future. Giving Beckham a huge deal would only be smart if the Giants believe the fast start to his career will continue for many years to come.
But Beckham’s fractured ankle adds to a growing list of injuries suffered by the wide receiver in his four seasons in the NFL.
He missed the first four games of his career due to a hamstring injury, dealt with more hamstring problems in 2015, and played through hip and thumb injuries during the 2016 season — the only year he played all 16 games. Prior to Sunday, Beckham suffered an ankle sprain in preseason that kept him out in Week 1.
His latest setback is the worst of his career, but it raises red flags for the wide receiver that may make the Giants hesitant to throw record-breaking amounts to him.
Beckham has spoken about his desire to be the highest paid player in the NFL at any position, wanting to help "change the game" by getting superstar money in the same manner as the NBA's biggest names. Beckham chose not to withhold his services during training camp this season despite his $1.839 million salary in 2017 placing him outside the top-60 highest paid players at his position. Team owner John Mara said this summer that the Giants were "going to pay" Beckham with a long-term deal more fitting of his talent. Mara allowed that it was a "possibility" Beckham could get that deal next offseason, although the aftermath of this injury will make it more complicated.
Beckham is under contract through 2018 after the Giants picked up the fifth-year option in his rookie deal, which should pay him in the range of $8.5 million. (That figure comes from averaging the third through 25th-highest paid receivers in football.) Beckham's recovery timetable has yet to be established, but the team eventually will have to decide whether it wants to offer a top-of-the-market deal to a player coming off a serious injury. Giants brass might have to balance their significant leverage with what Beckham has clearly earned through his superlative play in his first three-plus seasons.
Beckham, who was reluctant to say that his absence from voluntary workouts arose from his desire to get a new deal, eventually said he wants to be the highest paid player in all of football.
With that bar at $27 million and rising, Beckham surely will never get there, unless he plays the year-to-year game of tag to its logical conclusion and forces his way to the open market. He’d need to play at least four more years to get there, however. Based on his broken ankle, Beckham won’t want to wait that long to get his financial reward.
But the Giants also may want to wait before paying Beckham, waiting to see whether Beckham can be the guy he’s been after the ankle heals. Which could create an impasse, with Beckham wanting to wait for his deal to play again and the Giants wanting to wait to see him play before giving him a new deal.Beckham, who was reluctant to say that his absence from voluntary workouts arose from his desire to get a new deal, eventually said he wants to be the highest paid player in all of football.
This was about much more than a likely season-ending injury for Odell Beckham Jr., who on Sunday fractured the left ankle he sprained in preseason.
This was about a potentially franchise-altering decision down the road concerning the wunderkind receiver. Beckham went up for an incomplete pass in the fourth quarter and got his ankle caught under Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward. That gut-wrenching moment not only piled more misery on an already awful Giants season but also could shape Beckham’s future.
The thing you have to ask yourself now: Will Beckham ever be the same again?