Odell Beckham Jr. and the Giants may be heading for a contract showdown eventually - but not right now.
The star receiver will be at the start of the Giants' mandatory, full-team mini-camp that officially begins on Tuesday morning, multiple NFL sources told SNY. And he is expected to participate at least on a limited basis during the three-day camp, even though the lucrative, long-term contract extension he's been seeking doesn't seem close at all.
In fact, according to ESPN, he checked in to the Giants' practice facility for his pre-camp physical on Monday afternoon.
There had been some concern that the 25-year-old Beckham would be a holdout this spring - fears fueled by a report in March that said he wouldn't step on a football field again until he got a new deal. But Beckham surprisingly participated in at least some of the Giants' offseason workout program, including several organized team activity (OTA) sessions.
Beckham missed the last seven OTA practices over the last two weeks, though. And Giants coach Pat Shurmur, speaking on Bruce Beck's Sports Final show on NBC on Sunday night, acknowledged for the first time that the receiver's absence was "because of the contract thing."
Since Beckham hasn't spoken publicly since he suffered his ankle injury last October, it's unclear just how far he'll go to try and force the issue on "the contract thing." It's certainly possible that he'll try and holdout this summer, and not report to training camp with the rest of the Giants on July 26.
But for now, he will avoid the showdown -- and $84,435 in fines -- by being with his team at mini-camp, the sources said. What's unclear, though, is how much he'll participate - if at all. During the OTAs, Beckham was limited mostly to individual drills and working alone with trainers as he continues to recover from ankle surgery. But two weeks ago, Shurmur did say Beckham was "pretty close" to being cleared to practice fully.
Chances are Beckham won't get much closer to full practices this week. That will allow the Giants to remain cautious with arguably their most important player, and it will avoid a showdown if he really doesn't want to fully practice without a new deal.
At the moment, it seems unlikely Beckham's contract situation will be resolved any time soon. After their brief and odd flirtation with the idea of trading him back in March, the Giants are again saying all the right things about Beckham being part of their long-term future. And they do seem pleased by the commitment he's shown this spring - both in showing up occasionally and in staying in regular contact with Shurmur.
But there is no indication of any progress on a new deal or any serious negotiations at all. Beckham is seeking to become the highest-paid receiver in the NFL. That would likely mean a five-year deal perhaps worth as much as $90 million with around $40 million guaranteed. The Giants have indicated a willingness to pay him, but it's unclear how high they are willing to go. They also want to see him back on the field, according to a team source, to make sure that he can still be one of the most dangerous receivers in the league after the injury.
Beckham is due $8.459 million this season in the final year of his rookie deal. He could become an unrestricted free agent next March, though the Giants will have the option of using the "franchise tag" on him at a likely cost of $15 million for one year.
If Beckham were to hold out during training camp this summer, he'd be subjected to fines of up to $40,000 per day.