The Giants have 11 days to make a big decision about Odell Beckham, Jr.'s future -- whether they'll bring him back for 2018 or let him hit the open market.
And yeah, that's really not much of a tough decision at all.
There seems to be no doubt at all that the Giants will exercise their "fifth-year option" on Beckham's rookie contract before the May 3 deadline. It's a no-brainer decision for an all-pro receiver who's on a Hall of Fame pace through his first three NFL seasons and is still only 24 years old.
Still, for whatever reason, Giants GM Jerry Reese wouldn't commit to that fifth-year option just yet (and neither, by the way, would co-owner John Mara at the NFL owners meetings last month). There's no indication at all that the Giants won't pick up the option, but Reese left the possibility open nonetheless.
"We are going to discuss that when the time gets closer," Reese said on Thursday afternoon. "We will keep all of our options open with respect to that."
The options are pretty simple. With Beckham about to enter the final year of his rookie contract, the 2014 first-round pick can be retained by the Giants if they exercise the option, which guarantees him a 2018 salary that equals the average of the third-through-25th highest paid players at his position. That probably would be around $8 million.
If the Giants don't exercise the option, Beckham becomes an unrestricted free agent next March.
So that $8 million seems like a small price to pay for the Giants' best -- and most popular -- player who may not be in his prime yet, and who has averaged 96 catches, 1,374 yards and 12 touchdowns per season through his first three years.
Of course, Beckham does come with issues -- from his over-aggressive nature on field (which has led to hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and one suspension, to his post-game antics (like punching a hole in the wall in Green Bay after the loss in the playoffs), to his love of the celebrity party scene (like when he led his fellow receivers to their pre-playoff boat trip in Miami). GM Jerry Reese even spoke after the season about Beckham's need to "grow up".
Still, that doesn't mean the Giants are down on Beckham at all. In fact, on Thursday Reese pushed back on the notion that his critical comments about Beckham were critical at all.
"You guys called it critical. I don't think it was critical," Reese said. "I think some of you guys framed it as critical, but I didn't see it that way."
OK, but after the season, Reese said Beckham is "a smart guy (who) sometimes doesn't do smart things." And he added "I see a guy who needs to think about some of the things that he does. … There are some things he does that he needs to look at himself in the mirror and be honest with himself about."
So, nearly five months later, has Beckham gotten that message?
"I think he's a guy that hears what we're saying," Reese said. "And like John (Mara) said, 'We are not worried about Odell.' He's a young kid, he's growing up every day, and we think that he's going to continue being a tremendous football player and a tremendous representative of our organization here."
And though Reese didn't say it, the Giants believe he's going to be that "tremendous representative" beyond this season too. That means almost certainly picking up that fifth-year option -- and then, perhaps, at some point considering what would be an incredibly lucrative contract extension, too.