Odell Beckham Jr. is back on the good side of the Giants organization again after that brief and silly trade scare back in late March. They're even back to acknowledging he is part of their future, and John Mara promised that at some point Beckham's much-anticipated contract extension "will get done."
But that doesn't mean it'll happen now or in the immediate future. Even Mara admitted to feeling no "sense of urgency" to strike a deal. The contract, he said on Tuesday night, "will get done when it's supposed to get done."
And that's fine. Everybody should relax because there shouldn't be a sense of urgency.
Really, what's the rush?
This whole idea that Beckham deserves to get paid immediately because he decided to show up for some of the offseason program isn't exactly good, business-minded thinking. It's emotional -- which is understandable because this is sports. Fans love Beckham. Everyone recognizes he's a major star who has a huge impact on the Giants. He deserves to be paid like one of the NFL's top receivers, and everyone -- on both sides -- would prefer having him locked into a contract for years to come.
But the reality of the situation is this: The Giants hold the hammer in negotiations right now, and while there's no reason for them to swing it, they certainly don't have to drop it. Beckham is signed for $8.4 million for 2018 and the Giants could use the franchise tag on him for 2019, probably at a cost of $17 million. They could even use it again in 2020 and 2021, though the price becomes increasingly -- and prohibitively -- expensive in subsequent years.
For the moment, though, they're looking at having one of the NFL's best players essentially under contract for the next two years for roughly $25 million. That's an enormous bargain. So why should they rush to give him the $100 million contract he wants with $40 million guaranteed?
Just because so many other receivers have gotten big deals -- like Mike Evans (five years, $82.5 million, $38.2 million guaranteed) and Jarvis Landry (five years, $75.5 million, $34 million guaranteed) -- is not a good enough reason to do it. Neither is "To keep him happy" or "because it's the right thing to do." And "to avoid a distraction" assumes that he will become a distraction just because he hasn't gotten his extension, which at the moment is unfair to him.
Meanwhile, like it or not, the Giants are a business. And there are other issues at play.
For one thing, they have made it clear they want Beckham to change his behavior before they are willing to commit major money to him. Showing up for a few days in April probably isn't enough to convince them he's changed. After all, it's only been two months since that video surfaced of him in bed with a woman, what looked to be drugs, and a pepperoni pizza. There are some in the Giants organization who understandably wonder what Beckham controversy is coming next.
And there's also the report from March that Beckham won't set foot on a field until he gets his contract extension -- a potential move that absolutely won't sit well with new Giants GM Dave Gettleman and the rest of the Giants organization. They're looking for a commitment to being part of the team. A holdout -- if that's really part of Beckham's plan -- wouldn't be the best way to show that his commitment is sincere.
But even if Beckham doesn't hold out and he really is controversy-free, there's still another big issue at play when the Giants think about showering him with millions. Seven months ago, Beckham underwent surgery to repair a serious ankle injury. And while there have been plenty of Instagram videos that seem to show how well he's doing, and all the reports the Giants have gotten have been good, they still haven't seen him on the field for themselves yet.
Shouldn't they make sure he's fully healthy and still the same player before handing him a salary cap-busting deal?
Take the emotion out, and the answer is: Of course they should. They need to make sure he doesn't go the way of Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz -- three semi-recent star Giants receivers who just weren't the same after injuries and surgery. Beckham is 25, a rare athlete, and will probably recover just fine. But at those prices, the Giants absolutely have a right to be sure.
None of that is to suggest that Beckham won't or shouldn't get paid. He likely will. And the Giants will be better off building an offense around him for the next five years. But patience is important. Maybe a deal happens this summer. Maybe it's during next season. Or maybe it comes next February right before the Giants can use the franchise tag on him.
They'll do it when they're ready, and that's their right. They are not wrong if they choose to make sure he's really healthy and really committed to the program. There is no shame in paying him $8.4 million this season and rewarding him handsomely later on. Of course he wants the money now. Who wouldn't? I'm sure the injury from last season heightened his sense of urgency to cash in.
But business is business and the leverage currently belongs to the Giants. They shouldn't use it as a weapon. But that doesn't mean they shouldn't use it at all.