It isn’t a laughable idea, that the New York Giants might be a better team should they move on from wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. But for one member of the team’s coaching staff, it is just that. Downright laughable.
Beckham is out for the remainder of the year with a fractured ankle, an injury that has derailed an already messy and disappointing season for the now 1-8 Giants. Set to next season enter his final year under his rookie contract, Beckham’s contract is clouded not just by the injury but also his personality and temperament.
As far as production, Beckham is undoubtedly elite, a reason why the Giants already picked up his fifth-year option. But he has struggled with controlling his emotions, lashing out at opponents (Josh Norman) or in other ways (hello, wall in the visitors’ locker room in Green Bay).
Offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan was asked if the Giants offense would be better without Beckham. It is an interesting point given the emergence of wide receiver Sterling Shepard and tight end Evan Engram, not to mention a presumed salary for Beckham’s next contract that will likely make him among the highest paid players in the league.
Also, all the distractions off the field and frequent outbursts of immaturity.
“Would it be better without Odell Beckham Jr.? I want to keep a straight face to that question, but Odell Beckham Jr. is a phenomenal talent. I mean, he’s a playmaker. He’s a guy that creates and can, as we’ve all seen, take those slants and take a five-yard catch for an 80-yard touchdown run,” Sullivan said.
“He’s a guy that really does a lot from a defensive standpoint to dictate coverage and change the game plan. I think if we could continue to do some of the things we’re trying to do in the run game and you have some of the development of an Evan Engram, Sterling Shepard continues to be the type of player he is and we’re able to get some consistency running the football, I mean that would be just a huge addition. So, I couldn’t disagree more with any notion that we’re a better offense without him. That’s – I wouldn’t agree with it. I’ll leave it at that.”
Noticeably absent from Sullivan’s answer is any mention of Beckham as a teammate or a personality.
It is clear that Beckham gets easily distracted off the field, such as his infamous party at the end of the regular season on Justin Bieber’s boat, just days removed from the team’s playoff game at the Green Bay Packers. Not a good look.
Or his bursts or attitude and temper on the field, as evidenced by his feud with the aforementioned Norman. There is also his picking a fight with a kicking net or putting his fist through a locker room wall in Green Bay. While Beckham is a unique and an other-worldly talent, he is not without flaws – some serious flaws.
So on the field, it is an easy question for Sullivan to answer. Of course, the Giants are a better offense with an All-Pro talent on the field.
Off the field? Far more complicated for the Giants and whoever is their next general manager.