New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. woke up today a richer young man thanks to his new five-year, $95 million contract signed Monday.
While the record-setting deal raises the bar for future NFL receiver contracts, it also does something on a much deeper level: it proves that there is more than one way to get a new deal that doesn’t include holding your breath until your face turns blue or taking your ball home out of frustration.
In perhaps his greatest show of maturation yet, Beckham was patient and calm throughout the entire process, a process that picked up steam shortly after the Giants opened training camp.
Whereas some of his fellow NFL comrades were taking control of their contract situations by holding out, Beckham took control of his by placing the onus on the Giants.
The first thing he did was show up and be a frequent participant in the offseason program and OTAs.
It helped that Beckham and head coach Pat Shurmur had an understanding in which Beckham wouldn’t be exposed to any dangers of the preseason that come at the expense of a young, hungry defensive back on the roster bubble of another team looking to make a name for himself by taking out one of the best receivers to come along in this generation.
Shurmur, who made building a relationship with Beckham a top priority, kept his end of the deal, protecting his receiver at every turn by keeping their private conversations between them.
He also repeatedly gave his receiver the benefit of the doubt and vowed to be there to help Beckham find his way on his own.
Beckham, to his credit, responded to Shurmur’s gentle guidance. He vowed to become the best player he could be and had the video to prove it.
When he arrived at the Giants this year for the start of their offseason program, he was not only in the best shape of his life, he showed zero signs of having been laid up with broken ankle suffered in a Week 5 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers last year.
More importantly, Beckham made a conscious effort to keep his name out of the tabloids. For him it was all about football, and if it wasn’t football with he Giants, it was teaching football to youngsters who attended his offseason camps.
Just like that, Beckham grew up before our eyes, and the Giants, liking what they saw, decided to commence contract negotiations just a couple days into the start of training camp, working on blind faith that Beckham was really the same receiver he was skill wise prior to his injury.
So here we are, about six weeks later and Beckham is officially signed, sealed and delivered to a five-year deal worth $95 million that includes $65 million guaranteed and has a $20 million signing bonus.
The new deal removes the potential for a distraction that likely would have popped up had a deal not gotten done before the Week 1 clash with the Jaguars.
In the end, Beckham, whose critics have called him a “diva,” a “cancer,” “immature” and other derogatory terms are eating crow as the new and improved 25-year-old Beckham showed the NFL community that good things really do come to those who wait and that you don’t have to hold your breath until your face turns blue to force it.
Odell Beckham Jr has grown up, ladies and gentlemen, and the Giants and Beckham are both going to be a lot better because of it.