The Giants’ 2017 training camp needs a new official name: The Odell Beckham Jr. Lovefest.
On Saturday, the Beckham hype machine spun into dizzying overdrive when new Giant Brandon Marshall declared, unsolicited, that “Odell obviously is the best player in the NFL.” Top defensive back Janoris Jenkins also said in a separate interview that “in my opinion, (Beckham) is” the league’s best player.
“He’s not even a superstar; he’s a rock star,” Marshall said. “It’s something our NFL has never seen before. This guy’s a global icon already at 24.”
Marshall and Jenkins seemingly were breaking the news that Tom Brady, Von Miller, Khalil Mack, Aaron Rodgers, J.J. Watt, Antonio Brown and Julio Jones are playing in the Canadian Football League this season, not in the NFL. That would be the only explanation for Marshall’s statement, right? One would think.
Odell Beckham already a distraction after contract comments
But no, Marshall was being serious. And his praise piggybacked on John Mara’s Friday commitment to sign Beckham to a long-term contract extension, as the co-owner essentially excused Beckham’s off-field distractions in the name of his on-field talent.
“It definitely presents some challenges, but the reason his star shines so bright is that he’s a tremendous player, so I’ll deal with that issue any day of the week,” Mara said.
Beckham’s Thursday video on Uninterrupted, which he is partnered with, caused a stir when he said he believes he’ll be the NFL’s highest-paid player. Beckham knew it would.
And yet the Giants’ response has been not only to embrace the distraction but to enable his thinking, rather than seeing Beckham’s behavior as a continued pattern of ignoring the consequences of his actions.
Odell Beckham vows not to hold out, will prove worth on field
And by doing so, the Giants run the risk of letting OBJ Inc. grow into a bigger business than Big Blue.
Unless that’s already happened.
GM Jerry Reese said in January that Beckham needs to “grow up,” and yet only six months later, Mara’s comments make it seem as if nothing ever happened at all. Mara said the Giants are “not asking him to prove anything at this point.”
And now Beckham’s teammates are feeding an ego that certainly is not missing any meals.
Mara on Beckham getting Giant contract: ‘He deserves to get paid’
The short-term consequence could be a continued rollercoaster of Beckham drama throughout this season, especially if Beckham continues producing on his $ 1.8 million 2017 salary and grows impatient. But the long-term consequence could be more perilous:
For if Mara is going to praise all that Beckham represents and his teammates are going to call him the best player in the entire NFL, who is actually going to look Beckham in the face when his new contract negotiations begin and tell him suddenly that he isn’t worth the money he wants?
Mara joked Friday that negotiations on Beckham’s new deal would begin “when we determine that his agent is being reasonable.” But what exactly does ‘reasonable’ mean when one of the best players in the NFL not only considers himself THE best but is being called that by all of the people around him — and when the people paying him are speaking about him in the same tone?
A contract in the range of $ 20 million per year with at least half of it guaranteed sounds reasonable for both parties on a long-term contract. It would pay Beckham like he is one of the NFL’s best players. But what if he wants $ 26 million per year, which would eclipse Oakland quarterback Derek Carr’s league-high average? What if Beckham wants the number on his paycheck to directly mirror the value he believes he’s worth?
Here’s Odell Beckham’s path to richest WR contract in NFL history
Mara may have brushed aside the notion that a receiver could top the league’s salary chart, but he is not going to have a strong argument to tell Beckham no, either, if the Giants continue bowing at Beckham’s feet.
Send a Letter to the Editor