The New York Giants wouldn’t trade Odell Beckham Jr. away … would they?
The answer is probably not.
But let’s explore both sides of the FOX NFL report by Jay Glazer claiming that the Giants received “decent offers” from teams looking to acquire the 25-year-old record-setting receiver, but that the Giants are “pumping the brakes for now.” (Emphasis added.)
The cap hit
Beckham, remember, signed a five-year, $90 million extension just before the start of the 2018 season, a deal that includes a $20 million signing bonus.
To fit Beckham under the team’s 2018 cap, the Giants lowered his cap figure from a about $8.5 million to $5.459 million by lowering his base salary to $1.459 million.
So if the Giants were to trade Beckham this year, New York would be on the hook for the first prorated installment on Beckham’s signing bonus—the $4 million figure—plus half of his base salary ($729,500) for a total cap hit of $4.729 million.
As for the rest of Beckham’s prorated signing bonus ($16 million), that would accelerate into their 2019 cap.
Beckham’s 2019 cap figure consists of a $16.75 million base salary, the $4 million prorated signing bonus and a $250,000 workout bonus which he probably wouldn’t collect given that he prefers to train in Los Angeles in the offseason.
If the Giants were to move Beckham, his dead money hit would be $16 million on the cap while the Giants would save $17 million (his base salary and his workout bonus). So in reality, the Giants would net a $1 million cap savings if they were to trade away Beckham.
Is there a benefit to trading Beckham?
The instant reaction to this question is, “What, are you crazy? Trade one of your best offensive players?”
But let’s look at the moves the Giants have made so far in an effort to gain some possible insight into their thinking.
As Giants fans know, the team moved cornerback Eli Apple and defensive tackle Damon Harrison last week. The reason behind those two moves was due in part to production and in part to dollars.
Furthermore—and this is a common factor behind both trades—the Giants actually had young players waiting in the wings at each position that they wanted to take a look at for the future.
So what about receiver? The Giants added Corey Coleman, a former No. 1 pick of the Browns, to their roster this week and he is a player they could certainly be interested in taking a look at on offense once he gets up to speed on the playbook.
And they will soon have to decide on Sterling Shepard, who will enter the final year of his rookie season next year and who is currently having his best season yet in an expanded role.
It’s early, but it would probably be a stretch to expect the Giants to be able to keep Shepard if they keep Beckham.
There is also a question about whether Beckham, who has made it clear that he hates to lose, would be willing to be on a team that is clearly going to undergo a rebuild for at least the next two years, two years that would see Beckham turn 27 by then.
How does Odell feel about it?
Beckham can’t be happy with the direction the team has taken, but if he is regretting having committed to the Giants for another five years, of which at least two will be a rebuild, he isn’t saying.
“I don’t think I am going anywhere,” he said when asked about the trade rumors. “All I want to do is be the very best that I can be when I’m on the field, off the field as well. It’s really hard to think about that, but it is what it is.”
But is this where he wants to be?
He nodded his head yes. “This is where I’m at.”
Earlier in the week, Beckham was asked if he would have reconsidered his decision to re-sign with the club had he known the team would start its rebuilding so soon.
“I don’t really know,” he said Thursday. “It’s not really re-sign, I signed something. I could have been here another three years. It’s hard to think about that right now, and it’s really irrelevant to think about that now because I’m here and I will be here.”
When pressed to clarify if he was second-guessing himself, he said. “No. I just wish we had a better record than what we have.”
Bottom line: Should the Giants trade Beckham?
You look at the production and what he’s capable of doing and the answer is a resounding “NO!”
But — yeah, there’s a but — Beckham’s $21 million cap figure would become the highest cap figure on the team in 2019 if the Giants remove Eli Manning’s contract.
Yes, Beckham is putting up astronomical numbers for the franchise, but with that said, if you’re going to make the argument that you can’t live in the past regarding the two Super Bowl victories that Manning brought to the franchise begin a reason to overlook, you have to apply the same argument when it comes to Beckham.
But here is the other side of the coin that will likely result in the Giants keeping Beckham (barring an off-the-charts offer).
The Giants foundation is in shambles, yet among the rubble are some sturdy young talents that this team can rebuild around.
Beckham is one such talent that any quarterback would probably love to have as a pass target.
So unless some team is willing to pony up multiple first-round picks, Beckham is not only going to be a Giant when Big Blue returns from its bye week, he’s going to be part of the solution moving forward.