Even though a public statement has been made to the contrary, there are still reports that Odell Beckham Jr. may hold out from Giants training camp in hopes of a new contract. If that happens, for a few reasons, the Giants cannot afford to blink.
Beckham is coming off a major injury
There is no denying Beckham’s talent. He has caught at least 91 balls in three of his four seasons and has 38 career touchdowns. However, his 2017 season lasted just four games due to a broken ankle.
Footwork and speed are big keys for any wide receiver. Any major injury to a lower extremity can be a career changer, but some do come back just fine.
Early reports of Beckham’s health this offseason have been good. Still, the Giants need to make sure they are getting the same player they had prior to the injury before even beginning to entertain the possibility of giving Beckham a new deal.
In February, Beckham hinted at wanting to be not only the league’s highest paid receiver, but also the highest-paid player in the entire NFL. Regardless of what position a player plays, you could not pick a worse time to make that kind of statement in public. It sounds far-fetched, even if a player is healthy. When a player is fresh off a major injury, it comes across as just plain stupid.
Receivers are not vital to team success
This is the effect of fantasy football. Receivers touch the ball and score a lot. Thus, many people think you need top-flight talent at the receiver position to win big in the NFL.
This is a total myth. Carolina ran roughshod over the entire league in 2015, losing just a single game before coming up short in the Super Bowl. The leading wide receiver on that team was Ted Ginn Jr. with 44 catches.
Throughout their entire run of dominance, the Patriots have had one elite wide receiver in terms of raw talent. New England had Randy Moss for a little more than three seasons. He put up some video game numbers with the help of Tom Brady, but the team never managed to win a Super Bowl with Moss. Guys like Deion Branch, Julian Edelman and even Wes Welker to some extent, are mostly benefactors of brilliance that is Brady and Bill Belichick.
The receiving groups for the 2012 Ravens and 2013 Seahawks were also rather pedestrian. Those teams won Super Bowls as well.
A few teams mentioned here had really good tight ends, which can serve a similar purpose to wide receivers. While it is always nice to have the best players at every position, that is unrealistic. In today’s NFL, elite wide receivers are a luxury, not a necessity.
Breaking the bank to keep Beckham happy would really hurt the rest of New York’s roster. It is only a question of whether the damage would be done in the short or long term.
The Giants are building a new culture
To call the Giants a disaster last year is an understatement. They had a coach who was in way over his head and did not last the season. There were injuries to key players like Beckham, and members of the secondary were calling each other a “cancer.” They truly earned their 3-13 mark.
However, Eli Manning is still a pro’s pro. Also, new head coach Pat Shurmur and new general manager Dave Gettleman clearly had one priority in mind this offseason. That was to build a tougher, more business-like football team. Drafting running back Saquon Barkley and offensive lineman Will Hernandez should certainly accomplish that. The same can be said of the signing of former Tom Brady protector Nate Solder.
Whether it is his bizarre fascination with the field goal net, getting into fisticuffs with Josh Norman or his dog-urination celebration, none of that fits in to what the Giants are trying to build.
The front office that brought Beckham to the Giants is gone. The current regime has no obligation to even keep him on the roster, much less give him a new deal. The team can be successful with or without Beckham in 2018.
The former LSU Tiger is a very talented player. However, if the Giants cannot get Beckham on board and behaving at something close to his current salary, the franchise is better off letting him sit at home for as long as he wants.
Featured image from dawgsbaynature.com
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