EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- If there was any belief that the New York Giants were tiring of Odell Beckham Jr.’s act, throw that line of thinking out the window. It’s not happening. If anything, the Giants are ready to throw all their chips (or in this case, real Benjamins) into his corner.
This was as clear as a cloudless sky on Friday after the Giants completed their first training camp practice of Beckham’s fourth professional season. Co-owner John Mara doubled down on the star wide receiver.
“He’s going to get paid a lot of money at the appropriate time. You can argue that the appropriate time is now, but you can argue both sides of that, I guess. It’ll happen when it happens,” Mara said.
He later added:
“He deserves to get paid -- we’re going to pay him, it’s just a question of when we enter into the contract, and I don’t have a timetable on it right now. I just don’t think there’s any need to rush into it. He’s going to end up getting paid at some point.”
The Giants see the kind of star Beckham has become. It has them entranced. He’s their modern-day Lawrence Taylor and their most marketable player.
He’s also a lightning rod with his sometimes irritable act and celebrations. That tends to rub outsiders the wrong way. But Beckham’s teammates and the decision-makers in the organization aren't bothered. They're sold, even if he’s constantly making headlines with his actions, words, tweets or Instagram posts.
“I would say it is unlike anything. Lawrence Taylor was that caliber [of star],” Mara said. “Obviously, he accomplished more in his career because Odell is still so young, but it was a different world back then -- it was without social media. But Odell certainly is a star in every sense of the word, and that presents certain challenges. But you know, I’ll live with those challenges every day of the week to have a player like him.”
Coach Ben McAdoo wasn’t the least bit concerned with Beckham’s Uninterrupted video that expressed his desire to be the highest-paid wide receiver and player in the league, or that it could become a distraction to teammates and the locker room. Mara also has said in the past he would love to have 53 Beckhams on the roster. Of course he would if he could fill a lineup with that kind of rare talent.
Beckham, 24, has produced three seasons of 90-plus catches, 1,300-plus yards and 10 or more touchdowns. He’s the only player in history to accomplish that feat. He has made the Pro Bowl each year, and his fame is off the charts.
There’s no doubt that Beckham is a star. But even though general manager Jerry Reese said the receiver needed to look in the mirror and grow up after last season, Beckham has nothing special to prove to the Giants to get a new deal. He simply needs to continue playing football at an extremely high level.
“I think he’s just got to keep doing what he’s doing, keep playing,” Mara said. “He’s going to get a long-term contract. We’re not asking him to prove anything at this point. Just keep playing as hard as he’s been playing and continuing your growth off the field as a person. I’m confident he’s going to do both.
“He’s a very smart young man and a very talented player. One of the things I’ve said about him before is that he does so many wonderful things off the field that nobody knows about. He’s somebody that we want here for a long time.”
Barring anything crazy, it will happen. Beckham won’t be the highest-paid player in the league as he unrealistically desires -- even Mara conceded that honor is reserved for a quarterback -- but he will get paid handsomely. It will be enough to make him and his family happy.
It just may take some time because the two sides have yet to begin negotiations. But Mara did think it was “certainly a possibility” there would be a deal done by this time next year.
At this point it’s only a matter of when, not if. The Giants are completely sold on Beckham being their star of the present and future.