The New York Giants are reportedly in danger of entering a rocky contract dispute with their star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. despite statements claiming otherwise. This comes on the heels of the Giants making it crystal clear that they are in “win now” mode with new general manager Dave Gettleman after not drafting a quarterback with their 2nd overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft.
A loss of Beckham for any length of time has potentially catastrophic consequences for the Giants and while Beckham has said he will not hold out for a new contract, sources tell a different story. According to Ralph Vacchiano of SportsNet New York, the possibility of a Beckham hold out is being undersold publicly by those involved.
“Odell Beckham, Jr. promised he won’t hold out, but sources in his camp insist a holdout is still on the table. Pat Shurmur said he expects Beckham will show up to camp on time, but team sources say they’re not so sure about that. Beckham wants a new contract, but there’s no indication he’ll get one any time soon.”
It’s worth noting that the majority of New York media should be trusted as far as you can throw them, but Beckham is due $8.4 million on the fifth year option of his rookie contract. That payout is peanuts compared to a host of other contracts that have been to given to players of lesser talent. Below is the top contracts being paid out to wide receivers in 2018.
(image courtesy of Over the Cap, NOTE: Alshon Jeffery is not represented because his contract was made from stardust and the cap is a myth)
The top two names, Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Mike Evans and the Cleveland Browns’ Jarvis Landry were both drafted in receiver-rich 2014 NFL Draft with Beckham. Evans recently inked a new 5 year, $82.5 million dollar extension while Landry convinced the Browns into loading his bank account with a 5 year, $75.5 million payout. Comparing the trio’s production to this point in their careers makes a compelling case for Beckham to demand more for his services.
Beckham is a top flight receiver and much more deserving of top tier money than Evans and Landry. Highlighting that opinion is his 38 touchdowns, which outpaces both Landry and Evans despite playing nearly a season less in total games played. Considering he is set to make what Buffalo Bills’ wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin will earn in 2018, who doesn’t sniff Beckham, Evans or Landry in production, the case for a hold out strengths even more.
When talking about tiers of players, whether you win “because of”, “with”, or “in spite of them”, Beckham is a “win because of” talent. Those types of players at the wide receiver position raise the play of their quarterback and give their teams the chance to light up scoreboards or at least give them a fighting chance to keep pace. Taking a look at Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning’s 2017 campaign, that couldn’t be clearer.
That 1 ½ yard dip in yards per attempt alone drops Manning from below average to Joe Flacco levels of efficiency. If negotiations are taking place or will take place you can bet your buns that Beckham’s agent Zeke Sandhu of Elite Athlete Management is fully aware of Manning’s drop in play without his client and will be shouting it from a mountaintop.
You can criticize Beckham for not honoring his contract if he continues to hold out, which could cost him up to $3.2 million in fines if a hold-out persists through preseason. However Beckham’s elite production and skill set is rare and the Giants would be wise to lock him up long term. The Giants possess leverage in that they have him under contact and can franchise tag him after this year, but Beckham knows that the Giants know how valuable he is to making a potential run in 2018.
There’s a saying in football that you should “be who you can afford to be”. For Beckham, he can afford to put stress on the Giants, incur fines, and still come out in the black financially.