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Odell Beckham’s next move crucial in deciding future with Giants

Odell Beckham Jr.’s next move matters most.

And the business at hand is Beckham’s contract impasse with the Giants: he reportedly wants at least $ 20 million per year on a long-term extension and won’t play in this, his fifth and final year of his rookie deal, until he gets it.

The Giants are so uncertain about such an investment that they have discussed trade offers to ship OBJ away.

Beckham showed up Monday for the first day of Giants offseason workouts, though, when driving a hard bargain with the organization easily could have called for staying in Los Angeles.

So the question is: what will Odell do now?

If Beckham sticks around with his teammates (well, all of them except Ereck Flowers, Monday’s lone absentee), it will seemingly continue to reaffirm Beckham’s desire to remain a Giant and perhaps become the foundation of goodwill upon which his agent, Zeke Sandhu, and Giants assistant GM Kevin Abrams can strike a deal.

But if Beckham gives Giants coach Pat Shurmur the old nice-to-see-ya and flies back to L.A. until the Giants pay him what he wants, then Monday’s appearance will have meant nothing and we’ll be right back where we were late last week: wondering if Beckham’s days as a Giant are numbered.

OCT. 8, 2017, FILE PHOTO

Odell Beckham showed up for the first day of Giants offseason workouts Monday.

(Bill Kostroun/AP)

There is, after all, a timeline on all of this. The deadline? The night of April 26.

Why? Because Beckham will lose significant leverage on the Giants if he is not re-signed or traded before the first round of the NFL Draft that evening.

Once that passes, NFL GMs no longer will have the two first-rounders the Giants are asking for in a trade. At the very least, they no longer will have a 2018 first-rounder that would give the Giants some necessary immediate return.

So Beckham’s options would dwindle to 1) agreeing to a contract more to the Giants’ liking, 2) playing on the fifth year of his contract, or 3) holding out and not playing at all.

Beckham intends to play in 2018. His preference is to play for the Giants. But it’s not out of the question that, if the Giants are not willing to make him the league’s highest-paid receiver, he would ask for a trade to a team that would compensate him appropriately.

I’m not reporting that Beckham is going to demand a trade. I’m just saying that if he wishes to do so, he’d have to do it before the draft’s first round so the Giants would be in position to accommodate him.

Back page of the New York Daily News for March 23, 2018.

Back page of the New York Daily News for March 23, 2018.

(New York Daily News)

So how does a deal get done? Well, I don’t know the lowest annual salary number Beckham is willing to accept, but it has to come in higher than Steelers star Antonio Brown’s league-leading $ 17 million per year among receivers.

And this isn’t about any Brown vs. Beckham comparison. It’s about the rest of the top five: the Buccaneers’ Mike Evans ($ 16.5 million), the Texans’ DeAndre Hopkins ($ 16.2 million), the Chiefs’ Sammy Watkins ($ 16 million) and the Browns’ Jarvis Landry ($ 15.982 million on a franchise tag).

All of those deals or numbers have come within the last year, and the nature of the NFL’s constantly-rising salary cap is that the most recent contracts for top-end players often set a new bar for their respective positions (see LT Nate Solder’s $ 15.5 million for offensive linemen). On top of that, Beckham’s elite talent and value to the Giants gets him to a number clearly higher than Brown’s.

The Giants understandably are resistant to committing such enormous resources to a wide receiver whose decisions and immaturity have routinely cast either him or the organization in an unfavorable light. Beckham’s recent video in France that appeared to show a white powdery substance in the room (and in his hand) is a threat to any clean slate with new GM Dave Gettleman.

Beckham at his best is great for business, but if he’s bigger than the team, that might not translate to wins and certainly won’t translate to the culture Gettleman feels he was hired to create and sustain.

The Giants’ next move, therefore, matters as much as Beckham’s.

Odell Beckham wants to be the NFL’s highest-paid wide receiver.

Odell Beckham wants to be the NFL’s highest-paid wide receiver.

(Michael Perez/AP)

To the best of anyone’s knowledge, the Giants still haven’t closed the door on trading him, a willingness first reported by the Daily News on March 26 after the Rams and Giants had discussed an OBJ deal.

On Saturday, NFL Network’s Michael Silver reported that one high-ranking executive of an NFC team said the Giants had asked for two first round picks for Beckham and that the team had passed. It’s unclear if that team was the Rams — who moved on to the Patriots’ Brandin Cooks — or another, such as the San Francisco 49ers.

There is a chance Beckham’s appearance Monday was nothing more than a smart business move, too.

Beckham’s salary would be automatically guaranteed on injured reserve if he sustained an injury working out at the team facility, but the Giants technically could elect not to pay him were he to suffer some freak injury out on his own, a reminder Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk offered up recently.

Still, Beckham would have been harshly criticized had he not shown up in East Rutherford on Monday. He therefore deserves credit for flying east and showing up for Shurmur’s first day with the team.

The question now is what will Beckham do next? It could mean everything for his future on this team.

Tags:
odell bekham
new york giants
pat shurmur
ereck flowers
kevin abrams
nfl

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