Everything about Odell Beckham Jr. seems to divide the New York Giants fan base, and draw wildly varying opinions from media analysts. Thus, it shouldn’t be a surprise that our Wednesday poll asking whether or not the Giants should give Beckham a new contract now drew a mixed reaction.
Should the Giants give Odell Beckham Jr. a new contract now?
This poll is closed
In a political election, a margin of 54 percent to 46 percent is likely considered a landslide. In a poll like this one, with 54 percent of participants against the idea of a new deal for Beckham now and 46 percent in favor, that is actually a pretty even split.
So, let’s talk about it. Again.
The Giants Will Make Beckham Rich, Unless ...
Eventually, the Giants and Beckham will come to an agreement that will likely make Beckham, 24, the highest-paid wide receiver in NFL history. The Giants know what kind of player he is, and so does Beckham.
Giants’ ownership has been clear that the organization wants Beckham to spend his entire career with the team.
There will be a lot of noise and a lot of posturing — like we are already beginning to see — before that happens. A deal will happen, though. Unless the relationship between the two sides fractures beyond repair.
If you want to see troubling signs you can find them, but I doubt either side wants to see that happen.
Beckham Doesn’t Do Himself Any Favors
We don’t really know how Beckham feels right now. Is he really sending the Giants signals about his contract? Does he really simply believe he can prepare better on his own than with his team? We don’t know because Beckham hasn’t addressed any of it.
What he has done is used social media to re-tweet messages that could be interpreted as disrespectful to coach Ben McAdoo or that money may indeed be behind his absence from voluntary OTAs. He has lived his very active, celebrity life out loud as Carl Banks would say, and rightly or wrongly that rubs some people the wrong way.
Maybe it isn’t true that Beckham wants a new deal now, or at least that he is reminding the Giants they will eventually have to fork over a truckload of money to keep him. Maybe it isn’t true that he is spending too much time enjoying the perks of the celebrity lifestyle and not enough time focused on helping the Giants win a Super Bowl. If, though, you are pre-disposed to thinking those things Beckham gives you plenty of ammunition to feed into that belief.
Perhaps Beckham doesn’t care about all the noise. If he did, showing up at a few OTAs would have helped. Explaining himself to the media so we all don’t have to guess his intentions would help. A little more thought about how he uses social media would help.
Maybe, though, none of that matters to him.
The Giants Don’t Have To Be In A Hurry
Sure, the Giants could take the Phil Simms approach and “make Odell happy” now by tearing up his rookie deal and giving him a rich new contract. They certainly, though, don’t have to.
At $1.8 million for the 2017 season — 44th among wide receiver salaries — Beckham is massively underpaid by NFL standards. No one disputes that.
First and foremost, though, the Giants have Beckham under contract for two more seasons. If he wants to play football, the Giants can make sure it is for them. In 2018, the fifth-year option in Beckham’s contract will pay him $8.459 million, top 10 among receivers.
If it comes to it, the Giants can also make use of the franchise tag on Beckham as many as three times, per NFL.com. That is something neither side would want as multiple tags would likely wreck the relationship, but using it in 2019 is certainly a possibility at this point.
There have been no indications that there are any actual negotiations, or that Beckham has directly asked for a new deal.
The Giants aren’t really in a great spot financially to give Beckham a new deal right now. They have only roughly $8 million in cap space.
There Is Also The Maturity Issue
Yes, this has to be a factor. A major factor. If you are going to spend the kind of money it will require to keep Beckham you want to make absolutely certain you are making a sound investment.
Beckham is obviously a great player. Perhaps the most talented offensive player the franchise has ever had. But the kind of rich long-term investment required to make him a Giant for life requires more than immense talent.
It requires him to show the Giants that he has taken to heart GM Jerry Reese’s message about the need for him to grow up. It requires him to show the Giants that he has learned from the boat trip and his many other self-inflicted wounds, and that he can keep the focus on the field and on the game rather than on his actions.
The situation reminds me a bit of how the Giants handled Jason Pierre-Paul. Even before the fireworks explosion wrecked his right hand, the Giants were hedging their bets on JPP, using the tag. He had more to prove to them, and they used the tag to pay him handsomely while figuring out if a long-term deal was the right move.
In my view, I wouldn’t blame the Giants for pushing off a massive deal with Beckham for at least another year.
To be honest, I’m not sure how much Beckham is ever going to change. He’s probably always going to be an emotional guy, and there will probably always be some histrionics. What the Giants organization and fan base need to hope for is fewer of the counter-productive ones.
He is also always going to be a millennial and a celebrity, and he is probably always going to show us his life via social media.
In the end, Beckham is probably going to be a Giant for a long time. I just don’t see the deal that makes that happen getting done before the 2017 season. Nor do I believe it should.