Odell Beckham Jr. is poised to get a record-setting contract and he likely will have Sammy Watkins to thank for it.
The New York Giants will undoubtedly give Beckham what is likely the biggest wide receiver deal in NFL history, in fact, it will be a contract that could and should make him one of the highest paid players in the entirety of the league. Currently, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans tops the charts with $18.2 million in salary for the 2018 season. Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald at $16,8 million comes in second.
Beckham should and will get more than Evans, if only based off his production as he enters his fifth year in the NFL. The three-time Pro Bowl selection is the fastest player in NFL history to 250 receptions as well as the fastest to 4,000 receiving yards. He wades into a market that is primed to see him get a major payday.
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This offseason, Watkins signed a three-year, $48 million contract with the Kansas City Chiefs. His numbers and production paled in comparison to what Beckham has done the past couple of seasons and Beckham is far more marketable than Watkins. Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com said that say “Beckham should thank both Watkins and the Chiefs” for setting the market.
“The Sammy Watkins contract was arguably the most questionable contract given out at the position since Percy Harvin a few years ago. It is possible that teams can argue that the contract is simply an outlier that has no bearing on the market or if it sets a new baseline to work from,” Fitzgerald told Metro. Fitzgerald is the founder of the site and has consulted with several teams on cap issues. “Based on the old market I’d think he would be looking at between $17.5 and $18 million a year. I think that number should increase by $2-3 million a season based on the Watkins contract. The guarantee will likely be similar in either case which about $40 million fully guaranteed and $57-$60 million in injury guarantees.”
The Giants won’t wait too long to get a deal done, Fitzgerald said. Beckham is in the final year of his rookie contract.
The drafting of running back Saquon Barkley likely doesn’t give the Giants any leverage in trying to retain Beckham or change the look of their offense. They are likely all-in on keeping Beckham in blue.
“Could the Giants take a wait and see attitude? It is possible but very risky. The price is only going to rise and if Barkley doesn’t have a good rookie year it puts the front office in an impossible position when making a decision,” Fitzgerald said. “I have a hard time buying into the trade talk. It doesn’t mean it won’t happen but this grade of receiver is usually never moved so it is hard to picture a team moving on from someone so good at that position.”