Odell Beckham, Jr. promised he won't hold out, but sources in his camp insist a holdout is still on the table. Pat Shurmur said he expects Beckham will show up to camp on time, but team sources say they're not so sure about that. Beckham wants a new contract, but there's no indication he'll get one any time soon.
And there are still five weeks to go until the Giants report for training camp, and any of that could change at any time.
So while you're biting your nails for the next few weeks wondering if the Giants' best player will show up or not, and pondering just how ugly his contract negotiations could get (or not), here's a primer on where everything stands with Beckham, the Giants, and his contract as of right now, and a look at where this whole thing may eventually go...
What Odell Beckham said
In a brief and exclusive interview with SNY, he was asked if we'd all see him at training camp and he said "Yes sir. Yes you will." Then when he was asked if that meant no holdout, he said "No. No holdout." Those are Beckham's only public words since he injured his ankle last October and the only time he's even hinted at his summer plans.
What the Giants have said
Giants head coach Pat Shurmur said he expects Beckham will be at camp on time and has "no reason to believe" he won't be physically able to practice fully in every drill when camp begins. Like the rest of the Giants organization, he has been very complimentary of Beckham since the offseason program began in early April. John Mara, who in the past has said Beckham will eventually get and sign a long-term contract extension with the Giants, recently changed his tone to "I hope so." And he added "It'll get done when it's supposed to get done," whatever that means.
Where contract negotiations stand
Basically nowhere. According to multiple sources, the two sides have had preliminary conversations but no serious talks. The Beckham camp, according to a source, doesn't view the Giants as being ready or willing to engage in serious conversations just yet. The Giants, according to a source, want to at least see him on the field and in action to make sure he's still the same player after his ankle surgery before they talk about paying him more than any receiver in NFL history.
Beckham's current contract situation
He's due $8.459 million this season in the final year of his contract. The Giants can then use the "franchise tag" on him next offseason, though it would likely cost about $15 million for one year. They can do it again after that, but the cost would skyrocket even more.
What it would take to avoid a holdout
It won't necessarily take a new deal, but it might take a sign from the Giants that they recognize and appreciate the effort Beckham has made this offseason. He's been a partial participant in the offseason program, stayed in regular contact with the team, and didn't hold out from minicamp the way others around the league did. According to a source familiar with Beckham's situation, they'd like to see the Giants actually open some serious negotiations and show a willingness to at least meet Beckham part of the way on his financial desires.
What would cause him to hold out?
If there are no talks at all or no movement on the financial details, a summer holdout is definitely on the table, according to a source. And if the Giants get testy again, the way they did in March when they oddly and publicly flirted with the idea of trading him and refused to say he'd even be on their team in 2018, it might instantly become a reality.
What happens if Beckham holds out?
For starters, he can get fined up to $40,000 per day by the Giants. They can also fine him 1/17th of his salary - or $497,588 -- for every preseason game he misses.
Would a holdout work?
Doubtful. Teams hold most of the cards thanks to the collective bargaining agreement. The Giants feel confident Beckham wouldn't want to risk his $8.4 million salary (A month-long holdout could cost him nearly $3.2 million of that, including the preseason game fines). They also know he won't need much time to get ready if he reported late in the summer. Beckham's leverage is obviously that he's the Giants' best player, but the team won't feel the pain of his absence unless he carries a holdout into the regular season -- something unlikely and very expensive for him. Maybe a summer holdout would bother the Giants enough to make them move some in contract negotiations, but it's unlikely they'd fold and just meet his price -- not when they have him under financial control for at least another two years, maybe more.
Beckham's other options
This would be dicey, transparent, and the Giants might not stand for it, but he could report to camp and claim he's not ready to fully participate. That's sort of what he did at minicamp -- doing individual drills even though Shurmur said he was "cleared to practice." The Giants gave him cover there because they didn't want to start the holdout talk so early. But Shurmur has already said he has "no reason to believe" Beckham won't be ready to be a full participant, and he sure looked 100 percent in individual drills. No one would buy it if he claimed not to be ready nine months after surgery. The Giants couldn't just force him to practice, though, or punish him without a big fight. If he went this route it would likely get ugly, but at least he could say he showed up and he'd avoid any holdout fines.
When will we know?
July 25. That's when Giants veterans are due to report to camp, though figure Beckham will signal his intentions at least a few days earlier.