EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- While a handful of teams have recently signed players to long-term contract extensions, the New York Giants have elected to put business on the back burner.
There have been no recent discussions about deals for wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., guard Justin Pugh, center Weston Richburg or starting linebackers Jonathan Casillas and Devon Kennard, multiple sources told ESPN. Something might unfold later this summer or during the season, but as of now, it does not appear the Giants are in any rush to get deals done.
Beckham, 24, is looking for a mega-deal and has stated his desire to be paid as the top wide receiver -- and player -- in the NFL. Clearly becoming the league's highest-paid player is unlikely, as owner John Mara recently stated. The top billing typically is reserved for a quarterback. Beckham eventually will get a new deal. It just might take some time, and seems more likely to get done next year.
"He deserves to get paid, we're going to pay him," Mara said last week while conceding the sides haven't begun negotiating on a new deal. "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 are $7.6 million under the salary cap, according to NFLPA records. But that shouldn't handcuff them too much.
"Salary cap-wise, there’s a way to work it out, yes," Mara said of a possible Beckham extension.
Pugh, Richburg, Casillas and Kennard are entrenched as starters. Pugh and Richburg are considered leaders on the offensive line and Casillas is the team's defensive captain. Kennard is a proven, solid defensive contributor who could play a bigger role this season. All four are set to become free agents after the season.
G Justin Pugh: He’s playing on a substantial fifth-year option ($8.821 million guaranteed). That will make it extremely difficult to get any sort of deal done this season after the guard market exploded this year in free agency. A hefty payday with a salary in the $10 million range and $20-plus million in guarantees is likely as long as he remains healthy. So in order for Pugh to take any Giants offer seriously, it would have to have $25 million or more guaranteed. The Giants appear to have backed themselves into a corner on this one. Pugh seems intent on concentrating on this season, and appears destined to reach free agency.
"I'm not even worrying about contracts," he said. "That's something that's talked about outside of this building. You can't worry about that. If you let that start creeping in, it's going to start affecting how you prepare. So that's not even ... that's a no-brainer for me. I'm just getting ready to go out and win games. I mean, if we win games everything will take care of itself."
C Weston Richburg: He's on the final year of his rookie contract. As a second-round pick, there is no fifth-year option. That has Richburg on the brink of free agency. He didn't have his best season last year as he dealt with a hand injury that eventually required surgery, but he's a top-10 center and will be paid accordingly. Jacksonville Jaguars center Brandon Lindor received more than $10 million a season last week. That might complicate things, but this is the deal most likely to happen this season. Richburg is willing to let it all play out.
"You know, I didn't really [pay attention to others]," he said. "I just said it earlier, I can only control what I can control. So that's what I'm focused on and if my focus is anywhere else, it's not going to help me."
LB Jonathan Casillas: He's in the final season of a three-year, $8.75 million deal signed in 2015. He's 30, but there are enough reasons for both sides to extend the relationship for a couple more years. Casillas has proven to be a strong veteran presence on the defense and can even contribute on special teams despite being a three-down linebacker the past few seasons. He's also from New Jersey, so his family is close by and he's become a favorite of defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.
LB Devon Kennard: A fifth-round pick in 2014, he is in the final season of his rookie contract. He'll be paid $1.8 million this season. Kennard has become a reliable player for the Giants. How much do they value his role and contributions at strongside linebacker, a position that isn't on the field every down? That ultimately will determine whether he is offered an extension before the season ends.