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It’s important to understand what is at stake for Odell Beckham, Giants

Whatever happens will alter the shape of the franchise

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at New York Giants Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to Odell Beckham Jr., the battle lines in the New York Giants fan base have clearly been drawn. In bright colors and capital letters. They are those who want him paid NOW and see zero justification for ever trading a player with that much talent. There are those who want him gone, thinking he’s a selfish diva who is more trouble than he’s worth. There are those in the middle who hope the Giants and Beckham work it out, but would be OK with a trade if the Giants get overwhelmed.

At this point, no minds are going to be changed by anything written or said. Then, why am I writing about it — again? Some will just say “clickbait” and want to believe nothing else. You know what? Beckham helps page views. He sells newspapers. He drives ratings. So, yeah, that happens.

I say this again and again, though. Everything on the Internet is clickbait. It exists to be clicked on, read, discussed. So, yeah, there’s that.

Why keep coming back to the Beckham topic? The page views are nice, but they really aren’t important. What is important is that Beckham is one of the most prominent figures in Giants franchise history, along with Lawrence Taylor one of the franchise’s two most talented players of the Super Bowl era.

We keep coming back to it because this an offseason unlike any other I can remember for the Giants, and the Beckham drama — real or media-manufactured depending upon your viewpoint — is a big part of it.

The Giants have a new head coach. They are working with a new general manager, having fired a general manager for the first time in their history. They not only went 3-13 last year, but they have missed the playoffs five of six years. The franchise is in a dark period. They have a 37-year-old quarterback whose heir needs to be, if not found right now, at least seriously sought. They have the No. 2 overall pick in the draft for the first time since they selected Taylor in 1981.

The seeds that are planted this offseason will not only have an impact on 2018, but will go a long way toward determining the course of the franchise for the next five, six, maybe 10 years.

The Beckham story is a big part of it — maybe the biggest.

I don’t know if the Giants should trade Beckham. I don’t know if they will trade him. I don’t believe they want to. Maybe they give him a mega-deal this offseason. Maybe they don’t, making him wait a year. I don’t know which approach is right.

I know that Ralph Vacchiano of SNY offered the best description of the Beckham saga when he termed all of the non-football headlines he generates as “nuisance controversies.”

Individually, each is really nothing. Together, they provide an annoying pattern of a player turning — or finding if that word makes you happier — the spotlight on himself in too many unnecessary, unflattering ways. None illegal, awful, or really damaging. Just, all in all, a nuisance. You just want him to turn off the spigot before the constant drip becomes a flood of much worse news. You want to be absolutely certain — or as certain as you can — that the $100 million or more you give Beckham is money you don’t regret spending.

I think the Giants are doing exactly what they should be doing. Nothing should be off the table when it comes to finding a way to lift the Giants out of hole they have fallen into. The recent messaging may have seemed a bit harsh, or sudden. Thing is, the Giants should explore absolutely every avenue to try and do what is best for the long-term future of the franchise. It never hurts to listen, especially since the calls aren’t collect.

Maybe you get an over-the-top offer you just can’t say no to. Maybe you don’t. Even if you don’t, though, you’ve gathered some information on what the rest of the league thinks of your player and how other teams value him. Maybe, just maybe you make Beckham consider how badly he wants to remain a Giant. Is he willing to sacrifice, to work with you a little, to make that happen?

Beckham and the Giants both have things to gain — and things to lose — in this dance they are doing.

Here is one thing I don’t understand.

There are some Giants fans who have offered up the idea that if the Giants were to trade Beckham they would turn in their fan card. They would no longer root for the team. I don’t get that, not even a little bit.

Unless you are very young, or very new to caring about football, you rooted for the Giants before Beckham came along. You have seen other star players. You have seen Super Bowl titles. You have seen awful teams, and lived through some awful decisions — like making Ray Handley head coach. Sorry, couldn’t help the Handley reference.

I don’t get the “if my team trades my favorite player I won’t root for them anymore” mentality.

I thought “Giants fans” rooted for the team to succeed, not just one player. If you are one of those fans are you saying that if the Giants trade Beckham and stink, that would make you happy? Or, if they trade him and go on to win a Super Bowl in a couple of years that you would be unhappy?

Superstars have been traded before.

Sometimes, those trades come at the end of a player’s career when he is the only one who really can’t see that his time is done. Some of those, though, have come during a player’s prime. Many happen when there is unsolvable acrimony between team and player.

For what it’s worth, here is one such list of some of those trades.

Those trades have occasionally worked out for teams who send a superstar packing. Occasionally, they have backfired.

What will happen with the Giants and Beckham? Whatever it is — stay, go, deal, no deal — will have a lasting impact on the direction of the franchise for the next several years.

If nothing else, it is important to understand that is the reason why we continue to talk about it.

More headlines

Nate Solder’s goodbye to New England

Really cool work from new Giants left tackle Nate Solder last Sunday, thanking the New England Patriots fan base for supporting him. Tells you a lot about the kind of player the Giants are getting.

Something about Beckham you really should read

I always try to be aware of the fact that whenever we discuss anything sensitive, there are generational differences in how we perceive things. I’m a 57-year-old white man trying to make a decent living. Odell Beckham Jr. is a well-to-do 25-year-old African American with a celebrity lifestyle. I’ve never lived his life and don’t claim to get it. Our readers come from all age groups.

This piece from The Shadow League offers a much different perspective than anything I could ever put together. It’s worth the time.