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Source: Giants, Odell Beckham Jr. open talks about new contract

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Golic: OBJ 'deserves to be highest paid WR' (1:34)

Mike Golic wants to see the Giants offer a contract to Odell Beckham Jr. that makes him the highest paid receiver in the NFL. (1:34)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The process has finally begun.

The New York Giants opened talks about a new contract with star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. earlier this week, a source told ESPN.

This came days after Giants owner John Mara admitted the two sides had not talked about a new deal, but that they would be speaking "sooner rather than later." Sooner was just days after Beckham reported to training camp, where he has been participating regularly in live drills.

Beckham was forced to wait as 10 of the 12 wide receivers drafted in the first two rounds of his 2014 draft class received new deals within the past year. The Giants wanted to see that Beckham had bought into their new regime and that the ankle he broke last October was healed.

The talks are a promising sign for the two sides in hopes of having something finalized before the season opener on Sept. 9 at MetLife Stadium against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

"Depends on how reasonable they are," Mara said Wednesday on the "Morning Show with Boomer and Gio."

Beckham was dreaming big last summer when he declared a desire to be the highest-paid player in football. The more realistic benchmarks for a wide receiver are Antonio Brown's $17 million per year and Mike Evans' $55 million in total guarantees.

Beckham, 25, could be in line to top both. It helped his negotiations with the Giants that he attended the start of the offseason workout program, OTAs and minicamp this spring. It has not gone unnoticed by the organization after the Giants listened to trade offers earlier in the year.

Mara has said on many occasions over the past week that he thought Beckham was "moving in the right direction."

Beckham is a three-time Pro Bowl selection who averaged 96 receptions, 1,374 yards and 11.7 touchdown catches during his first three seasons. He played in just four games last year before breaking his ankle.

He is set to play for $8.5 million on the fifth-year option of his rookie contract. That there is progress on a new deal provides reason for optimism.

It comes at a time when there is pessimism about two other stars from his draft class who are holding out of training camp. Defensive lineman Aaron Donald and the Los Angeles Rams seem to be in a stalemate, with whispers that he could miss games this season, while the Oakland Raiders and defensive end Khalil Mack don't appear close to a new deal.

Mack hasn't spoken to new coach Jon Gruden since he took the job, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Beckham and his new coach, Pat Shurmur, have been able to forge a strong relationship early in the coach's tenure. Shurmur went to Los Angeles to speak with his top playmaker not long after being hired and they texted regularly throughout the offseason.

The Giants have liked what they've seen from Beckham since he arrived for the start of camp.

"I see what I expected to see when we started to communicate back in February," Shurmur said earlier this week. "This guy loves to play football, he trains extremely hard, he's totally engaged in the meetings behind the scenes, the things that the world is not aware of, and he's got a lot of passion for the game. We were just out in a walk-through and I saw three or four times when he was talking to different players about certain techniques within the play. That's all good stuff."