All those trade talks surrounding New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. just a few months ago seem a little trivial now, don’t they?
After a tumultuous stretch that included some off-field issues, the threat of a holdout until he gets a contract extension and the Giants possibly wiping their hands clean of the young talent, it looks like the organization is ready to lengthen Beckham’s deal.
“It’s not the first contract negotiation we’ve ever had,” Giants co-owner John Mara said (h/t ESPN.com’s Jordan Raanan). “It will get done when it’s supposed to get done.”
Beckham’s rookie contract expires at the end of the 2018 season where he is owed $8.5 million, a bargain considering he is one of the most explosive playmakers in the NFL when healthy.
Normally, an extension would have been at the top of the Giants’ offseason checklist. It might very well could have been, but questions surrounding Beckham’s immaturity has seemingly stalled proceedings, which ushered the 25-year-old’s threat of holding out until he gets a new contract.
Just hours after the news of his potential holdout broke toward the end of March, his name suddenly and shockingly appeared in trade rumors with teams like the Los Angeles Rams showing initial interest.
Trade talks have died down since as Beckham reported to team facilities in early April for offseason workouts and later showed up at minicamp even though he is continuing his rehab on an ankle injury that limited his 2017 season to just four games. Head coach Pat Shurmur even said that Beckham will “absolutely” be a Giant next season (h/t NFL Network’s Kimberly Jones).
But there are still plenty of hurdles to overcome before securing Beckham for the long haul.
Over the winter, it became known that Beckham will be looking for a contract that pays him at least $20 million annually, an exorbitant figure no other receiver in the league makes. Pittsburgh Steelers star Antonio Brown makes an average of $17 million per year. Looking at the Giants, Eli Manning is the only player on the roster that makes more as he provides a $22.3 million cap hit in 2018.
It’s impossible for New York to dole out that kind of contract right now, regardless. Due to an aggressive free agency period that included the signing of Nate Solder and Jon Stewart, along with taking on of Jason Pierre-Paul’s $15 million of dead money after he was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the franchise has an estimated $9.1 million of cap space remaining in 2018, per OverTheCap.com.
All of that remaining money can’t even be given to him considering the Giants need to re-sign their entire rookie class of draft picks and undrafted free agents.
If the Giants are truly hellbent on getting Beckham a new deal this offseason, they likely would have to restructure the contract of a more expensive player on the roster, assuming he agrees to take what is basically a pay cut. That way they can offer something closer to the ballpark figure of $20 million while keeping the team under the cap.
Should negotiations go nowhere though, the Giants could always franchise tag him and try again in 2019.