Kim Jones reported earlier this week that New York Giants superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr would report to camp on time.
At the time the general reaction to the story could generally summed up as “Okay, good. He should.”
And Wednesday we saw Beckham prove Jones right and show up to camp on time. And why should he not? Oh, right: He is going in to the last year of his rookie contract and obviously wants an extension and a big pay day. Holding out and trying to exert some leverage on the team is a common tactic.
But so far Beckham has done just about everything he can to establish a good rapport with the Giants new coaching staff and front office. He has shown up to most of the voluntary OTAs, as well as mandatory mini-camp, and when he couldn’t attend he was in constant contact with the Giants. He has struck up a good relationship with head coach Pat Shurmur and when he hasn’t been in the Giants’ facilities, he has been working hard on his own and with teammates. He didn’t hold out and has made good on his word to show up on time to training camp.
And that is as it should be. A contentious relationship, or being a disruptive or standoffish presence, benefits no one. That would only make negotiating a contract extension that much more difficult.
Odell wants an extension and is doing his part to get it done. So the Giants should be overjoyed and ready to get to work on it... Right?
Well, there’s this from Ralph Vacchiano of SNY:
“At the moment, there are no indications that a deal is close. The Giants have taken a patient approach to negotiations so they could make sure he was really committed. They also want to see how healthy he is..”
Okay, about his health: Those of us on the outside don’t know. All I know is that his workout videos have been impressive and he showed no hesitation that beat reporters could see at mini-camp. By every indication we have, he looks good to go, but the Giants’ team doctors should know better either way. They have access to actual doctor-y things like diagnostic equipment, his full medical files (so they know the exact nature of the injury), and, well... his leg.
But what’s this about his commitment? Has he not done everything they could have asked? Has he not worked his butt off as long as he has been a Giant? There are things you can criticize about Beckham, mostly related to letting his passion get the better of him, but commitment has never been one of them.
None of this is taking place in a vacuum, either.
Beckham is all alone with Kelvin Benjamin as the only highly-drafted receivers from the vaunted 2014 draft class to not get a second contract.
Since entering the League in the fifth game of 2014, Beckham largely rewrote the rookie record books, with the start to his career eclipsing everyone but Randy Moss. He is in the company of players like Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski when it comes to most touchdowns scored since 2014.
None of those other 12 receivers compare to him.
And still, OBJ has been patient and tried to show the Giants that he wants to work with them.
Meanwhile, Julio Jones — who fans and the media routinely opine Odell should act more like — is holding out for a new contract.
Julio Jones does not plan to report to Falcons on schedule Thursday without an adjustment to his contract, which has three years remaining, per league sources. He is set to make $10.5 million in 2018. The team is aware of his mindset at this time.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) July 24, 2018
Julio Jones' $47 million in guarantees was paid out in first three years of his extension at a fair market value of almost $16m per year. He has three years left at $10.5m, $12.5m and $11.4m but annual salary not guaranteed until week 1 as vested veteran. https://t.co/v0asTdPzw1— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) July 24, 2018
For the second straight year, fellow 2014 draftee Aaron Donald is holding out for a contract extension. Likewise, the negotiation with Khalil Mack has turned contentious in Oakland, and the All-Pro defender is holding out as well.
The Le’Veon Bell situation has turned into a disaster for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
So now, let me speak to the Giants directly with respect to Beckham’s contract:
(As if they would actually read this and give a damn what I think.)
PAY THE MAN!
It is long past time to pull up your big-boy pants, belly up to the negotiating table, bite the bullet and get a deal done.
Rather than clutching their pearls over Beckham dancing in the end zone after making a game-breaking play to score the touchdown, the Giants should have done after 2016 what the Los Angeles Rams did Tuesday afternoon.
The Rams, while they have been hesitant to extend Donald, were proactive in extending their own offensive star as soon as they were able under the CBA.
Rams and RB Todd Gurley finalizing agreement on a 4-year extension worth $60 million that includes $45 million guaranteed that ties him to LA for the next six seasons, source tells ESPN. Finally a deal that resets the RB market.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 24, 2018
The Giants had plenty of cause to do this after the 2016 season. Instead they opted to wait and see.
In the meantime, the wide receiver market has been redefined by Mike Evans, Sammy Watkins, Jarvis Landry, and Brandon Cooks. The Giants are now up against a negotiating wall while allowing players everyone — the Giants and Beckham alike — knows aren’t as good to re-set the market and raise Beckham’s price tag.
But still, Odell has been extraordinarily patient and cooperative. All the while taking away every excuse the Giants have not to get a deal done.
Except, of course, that they never wanted to. I am spectacularly loathe to even type this, but it has to be said: One of the possible motivations for drafting Saquon Barkley, a freakishly athletic and “Face of The Franchise” type dynamic playmaker, might not have been to complement Odell, but to replace him.
The Giants need to realize that the time has come. Odell Beckham’s final training camp on his rookie contract is upon us. It’s time to step up and stop slow-playing Odell’s contrat extension. It’s time to get down to business and get a deal done. Sure, the Giants could strong-arm two more years out of OBJ for roughly the same amount they would be paying him on a contract extension (as the Steelers have done with Bell), but how about showing a bit of good faith? Odell is a player who is popular in the locker room, spectacularly popular with the fan base, and the best player the franchise has had since Lawrence Taylor.
Pay The Man.