If John Mara and Steve Tisch haven’t seen the movie ‘Rounders,’ they should brush up on it immediately.
Because one of the Giants’ co-owners is going to need to sit across a table from Odell Beckham soon and utter the immortal words of John Malkovich’s card-playing Russian mob boss, Teddy KGB, after a rare defeat:
“Pay him. Pay that man his money.”
In the high-stakes game that is the NFL, it is time for the Giants to pay Beckham what he is worth. It is time to hammer out a five-year deal that equals or even surpasses $ 100 million, with $ 50 million or more guaranteed, given the annual inflation of player contracts and the salary cap and considering Beckham’s standing both in the league and on this team.
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The Giants were prudent not to balk in the spring, when Beckham skipped voluntary OTAs to try to convince them to begin negotiations on an extension. The organization should have lingering concerns about Beckham’s maturity and emotional control and about his playoff debut flop in Green Bay last January.
However, if there were any doubts remaining about how important Beckham, 24, is to this Giants team, they were erased on Monday night, when Beckham’s injury scare left the Giants with a bleak picture of what 2017 and beyond could look like without him. They have no running game and no one else like him. Most teams don’t.
Ben McAdoo wouldn’t reveal in his Tuesday conference call if Beckham’s follow-up MRI had revealed anything more than a sprained left ankle. The coach only would say Beckham and Brandon Marshall – whose left shoulder X-rays were negative – had undergone treatment Tuesday at the Giants’ facility.
“We’ll take it day-by-day,” said McAdoo, before an ESPN report early Wednesday morning stated Beckham may in fact miss the season-opener in Dallas on Sept. 10.
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The prospect of losing Beckham should make clear to the Giants that a contract extension is in the best interest of both parties. The franchise would secure and satisfy its best player in the aim of winning another championship; Beckham would get the security he both needs and deserves.
Not that Beckham is hard up for cash, having signed that NFL record five-year, $ 25 million Nike endorsement deal in May. It’s more about Beckham recognizing just how much he has to lose right now by continuing to play without a heap of guaranteed money on the table, at or near the peak of his earning potential. That is why Yahoo ran a story on Tuesday quoting sources close to Beckham that the Giants’ star receiver will consider acquiring a massive insurance policy “possibly for more than $ 100 million in injury protection” if he doesn’t sign an extension before the start of this regular season.
Beckham isn’t leveraging an insurance policy against the Giants. He would be paying for it himself, perhaps more than $ 600,000 for such coverage. But what such a story does is reinforce that triple-digit $ 100 million salary for the Giants’ decision-makers in preparation for talks Beckham hopes will lead to a new contract.
“(If a deal isn’t done) by the regular season, he’ll take steps to protect himself,” one source said in the report. “(But a new deal is preferable to adding insurance.”
Giants WR Odell Beckham considering $ 100M injury insurance
Beckham’s agent did not return calls or texts seeking comment, but he doesn’t have to. His client is due to make $ 1.8 million in base salary this season and $ 8.4 million the next, and playing on one-year franchise tags in subsequent seasons just wouldn’t fly. It also wouldn’t match Mara’s commitment at the start of camp.
“He’s going to get paid a lot of money at the appropriate time,” Mara said on July 28. “You can argue that the appropriate time is now, but you can argue both sides of that, I guess. It’ll happen when it happens.”
While the Giants are busy negotiating Beckham’s new contract these next two weeks, they also might as well protect their investment. Remember how in June the worry was that Beckham would hold out of minicamp and training camp? Well, now it’s the Giants’ turn to hold Beckham out themselves.
Sit him down the rest of the preseason to get him as healthy as possible for the Cowboys game. Give him a rest — nearly three weeks before that season-opener — even though starters typically play deepest into the third preseason game before sitting out the fourth.
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It’s just not worth the risk. It’s not worth the risk for the Giants to continue playing Beckham in meaningless games, and it’s not worth the risk for Beckham to continue putting his body on the line without the proper compensation and security. It’s time for the Giants to keep it 100, as they say, with the generational talent they can’t live without.
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