This could be the most expensive pepperoni pizza of all time.
Price: $ 55 million.
Even if Odell Beckham Jr. enjoyed the $ 15 or $ 20 pie that was sitting on a bed with the box open between him and the woman he allegedly just met at a club in Paris last Wednesday night, it might be the most extravagantly priced case of the munchies of all time.
If indeed that was a blunt stuffed with marijuana in his left hand and cocaine neatly arranged in lines in front of the young lady, Beckham could be in big trouble with the Giants and the NFL.
The optics are so bad that it could get the Giants to back off indefinitely on talks for a new contract and could get Beckham placed in Stage One of the NFL’s drug intervention program, part of the league policy on substances of abuse negotiated with the players union. Players do not face a suspension unless they commit a violation after progressing to Stage Two of the policy.
It adds to the long list of concerns the Giants already have with Beckham’s lack of maturity. It will be financially irresponsible to sign him now to a $ 100 million deal when he is forcing them to wake up each day bracing for the next brush fire that could turn into a wild fire from either side of the Atlantic.
In a seven-second video posted Friday, Beckham is seen lounging in a bed with what appears to be a blunt in his left hand. The woman, since identified as Laura Cuenca, an aspiring French model, is holding what appears to be a credit card with a white powdery substance in front of her.
To be clear, there is no definitive evidence that Beckham is in possession of marijuana or that the woman is separating portions of cocaine.
Again: Bad optics.
The woman told the Daily News that Beckham was actually holding a piece of pizza. “No. He did not take any drugs!” she said, but did not respond when asked if drugs were in the room. She did say she had no idea about Beckham’s celebrity until he asked her to take down the video that she said was recorded at 6 a.m. Paris time.
If Beckham is trying to convince his bosses that he is worth $ 20 million per year and wants to use Mike Evans’ deal signed Friday with the Bucs as the floor in negotiations — five years $ 82.5 million with $ 55 million guaranteed — there’s got to be a better way.
Beckham is such a great player and such a handful. Why would he put himself in that position in Paris when he’s trying to get a new contract? He will wind up crying about the Giants doing him wrong if they force him to play out the final year of his deal this season, but he will only have himself to blame if his buddy Jarvis Landry is making twice his money in 2018.
OBJ is not Pacman Jones — he has no arrest record. He is not Zeke Elliott — he has never been suspended for domestic violence. He is not Josh Gordon — he has never suspended for marijuana use. But he’s still a terrible pain in the butt to the Giants.
They would be nuts to invest $ 55 million guaranteed as part of a $ 100 million contract when he has acted like a 3-year-old just out of diapers on the field — no need to rehash the episode in Philly last season — and makes questionable choices off the field — no need to rehash the boat trip. They should have no sense of urgency to get a deal done now when OBJ clearly doesn’t care how his behavior reflects on a $ 3.3 billion organization.
Even Beckham’s biggest allies are running into each other jumping off the bandwagon following pepperoni pizza night.
“Time for you to grow up and stop being a little boy,” Cris Carter, who trained with OBJ last year, said on Fox.
Former Giants linebacker Carl Banks, the team’s radio analyst, tweeted: “I am OBJ’s #1 supporter and I’m here to say he has to exhibit better judgment even in his private life. …No excuse he has to grow up and embrace stardom responsibly.”
Beckham’s most immediate concern is being put in the NFL’s drug intervention program. It is at the discretion of the league’s medical director whether to place a player in the program if “he exhibits physical, behavioral, or psychological signs or symptoms of misuse of Substances of Abuse.”
Will this video be enough? Remember, there were reports drugs were aboard the SS OBJ on the Miami adventure prior to the playoff game in Green Bay 14 months ago. Again, no indication that Beckham was using drugs. There’s also been no indication if he is already in the drug program, which remains confidential until a player is suspended.
However, if the NFL’s medical director has sufficient concern about Beckham, he will place him in the program. That would mean constant drug testing for Beckham. Any player not in the program submits to only one drug test per year for substances of abuse between April 20-Aug. 9.
It’s always something with Beckham. John Mara was clear last summer that Beckham’s big pay day was coming. Now, what’s the rush? He needs to prove over the next year he can grow up. He’s not off to a good start with the GM Dave Gettleman and coach Pat Shurmur, two no-nonsense guys
The Giants have Beckham under contract this year at the fifth-year option of $ 8.4 million. They can control him the next two years with the franchise tag. This year it was $ 16 million and it increases each year. That would bring OBJ’s total for the next three seasons to a little over $ 40 million. But instead of committing to the guaranteed money up front on a long-term deal, the Giants can slow things down and take it year-to-year and use the pay as you go approach. That reduces their exposure to getting burned.
Beckham is trying to bounce back after breaking his ankle in the fifth game last year. So the Giants already had reason to tap the brakes on a new contract until they see him running full speed. The hilarious “Dirty Dancing” spot he did with Eli Manning in January does not constitute full speed.
The downside to the Giants putting negotiations on hold is Beckham potentially boycotting OTAs like he did last year. But instead of then showing up for mini-camp and training camp to avoid getting fined, he could elect to hold out and worry about the fines later.
Beckham is on his third coach and second general manager in five years, and so far they are 0-for-5 getting through to him. If it turns out to be the worst case scenario and it was marijuana and cocaine in Paris, then the pepperoni pizza better have been damn good.
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