Could the Odell Beckham Jr. sweepstakes be a “coin flip” between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys. A Beckham confidante thinks so.
“If I’m a betting man right now,” (Nelson) Stewart told The Post, “I’d flip a coin between New York and Dallas. It’s tight. But of all the teams I’ve heard about, the one that really resonates a little bit more is New York.
“And you can certainly say the Giants have the most intrigue with Odell’s old coach.”
Stewart was Beckham’s high school coach, and Ian O’Connor of the New York Post describes Stewart as “a reliable mentor and advocate” for Beckham who “understands the receiver like few others in his orbit.”
Beckham was the Giants’ first-round pick in 2014 and rocketed to stardom in New York with record-setting numbers, highlight-reel catches, and Pro Bowl appearances in his first three seasons.
Things eventually soured in New York, and the Giants traded him to the Cleveland Browns after the 2018 season.
Beckham is currently rehabbing from a torn ACL suffered while playing for the Los Angeles Rams in last season’s Super Bowl. He is expected to be cleared soon, but a report from CBS Sports indicated that it could be a few more weeks before Beckham is ready to play.
CBS also said that the Green Bay Packers, Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, and the Rams have joined the Giants and Cowboys in expressing some level of interest in Beckham.
CBS said this about what the 30-year-old Beckham might be looking for:
The prevailing belief is that Beckham wants a multi-year contract on a team that is both contending now and will in the future. A cold-weather city isn’t a no-go, but he’d prefer warmer weather and wants a city or brand with a big platform.
“Many teams will have to work some [salary cap] maneuvers to get him on board,” one team executive told CBS Sports.
Despite their surprising 7-2 record, the Giants are 30th in the NFL in passing yards and 22nd in points per game. Their leading wide receiver, Darius Slayton, did not catch a pass until Week 4.
Last Sunday against the Houston Texans, the Giants threw the ball only 17 times while running it 46 times, with Saquon Barkley getting a career-high 35 carries.
Giants quarterback Daniel Jones is having an efficient season, with career bests in quarterback rating (92.7), completion percentage (65.8), and interception percentage (0.8). Still, Jones has thrown for 200 or more yards only twice in nine games and there are questions about whether or not the Giants can succeed in games where they are forced to rely mostly on the passing attack.
Even head coach Brian Daboll is not sure what would happen in such a circumstance, understandable since the Giants have thus far managed to avoid needing to find out.
“I don’t know,” Daboll said. “You practice that each week. You’re ready, and you try to be as ready as you can in every situation. I think you just take each game as they come, and coach and play the way you need to play for that week.”
The Giants have lost Sterling Shepard for the season to a knee injury, traded Kadarius Toney to the Kansas City Chiefs, and seen Kenny Golladay once again disappoint.
Even at 30 and with a pair of torn ACLs in recent years and the fractured ankle he suffered in 2017 with the Giants, Beckham would immediately be the Giants’ most talented wide receiver.
GM Joe Schoen said during the bye week that he would have interest in Beckham.
“Obviously, he’s been a good player. He’s a guy we would consider and talk to when he’s healthy,” Schoen said. “If a player is healthy and they would help us win football games, we would pursue them if they fit what we’re looking for.”
What the players think
Giants’ star running back Saquon Barkley said recently he would like to see Beckham join the Giants:
“He know how I feel. He knows how we feel in this locker room,” Barkley said. “He’s a heckuva player.
“He’s a special player, and he’s still got a lot left in the tank. He’s Odell. When he’s healthy, one of the best players in the league. Why wouldn’t anybody want him?”
On WFAN Sports Radio, Giants’ safety Julian addressed the Beckham chatter this way:
“I think for sure you want to look at anybody, I know Joe Schoen and (Brian Daboll) and all the upstairs guys look at fits, potential fits. He obviously has a relationship with a lot of people in the building, but I’m not sure what the deal with that is. I’m not even sure if he’s able to play this year. All that stuff goes into (it), but yeah, that’s an upstairs decision,” Love said. “You want to see us have success and bring in guys who can help, no doubt, but also we can’t bank on short-term success. We’ve got to still build for our future.
“I think – what I’ve heard in this building, and I’ve obviously just been in this building, thankfully – is that you really appreciate stuff after it’s gone. You really appreciate being in this Giants building after you’re not anymore. The people, the community, yeah everybody has passion and it’s high-pressure, but they do it right. In the building, you just get treated a certain way. It’s one of the founding fathers of the league, the New York Giants are. And so I think that goes into effect, so yeah, I know in his heart realizes kind of what he had here, I’m sure, so I think that’s kind of what’s at play here.”
Are Beckham and the Giants really a match?
This is the difficult part.
This year’s Giants team could use a top-tier talent at wide receiver. Is Beckham, at his age and after all of the injuries he has suffered, still in that class? He averaged 108.8 yards receiving per game as a Giants’ rookie in 2014. He has, though, seen his production decline steadily over the years. With the Browns and Rams last season, he averaged a career-low 38.4 yards receiving per game. His 11.3 yards per reception average was also a career low.
How good is Beckham at this point in his career? The only way to really know is to get him on the field and find out.
Does Beckham really want to return to New York? Does he really see the Giants as a contending team that can get him back to the Super Bowl in the next couple of years? Or, does Beckham just want to keep the idea of returning to the Giants alive as a bargaining chip to get more out of the Cowboys or someone else?
Can the Giants even make a Beckham deal work financially?
Most reports have indicated that Beckham wants a multi-year deal. Over The Cap says the Giants currently have just $2.261 million in 2022 salary cap space. Beckham is almost certainly not signing a veteran minimum deal for just the remainder of this season.
That means the Giants would have to find some mechanism to squeeze a Beckham deal in this season, and probably kick substantial money down the road. Schoen has been averse to doing that to this point. Would he really do it for Beckham?
No one really knows the answers to these questions. The only thing we do know is that it seems likely we will find out where Beckham will land in the next week or two.