Over the next month (or months) there will be a lot of talk about Odell Beckham's contract. There will be leaks about the negotiations. There will be debates about his value. And there will be confusion, because sometimes "talks" don't mean they're talking, and "value" might depend on how you do the math.
So how will you survive the seemingly endless news cycle until Beckham gets the money he is so sure he deserves? And how can you possibly join (and win) the debate when there's so much seemingly conflicting news?
Here's how: Our guide to separating fact from fiction when it comes to the Odell Beckham contract … a.k.a. How to sound smart when arguing about Odell's inevitable (and lucrative) deal:
Be clear that Odell Beckham's contract will make him the highest-paid receiver in the NFL … but be vague about what that really means.
The Giants, as SNY has reported many times, know they have to make Beckham the highest-paid receiver in the NFL. And they will. But what does that mean? Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown tops the charts with a deal that averages $17 million per year, which edges out Tampa Bay's Mike Evans ($16.5 million). But Evans' $55 million in guarantees crushed Brown's $19 million. And Evans actually only got about $38 million of that in Year 1, which wasn't as good as the $49 million first-year payout DeAndre Hopkins got from Houston.
The point is, there are many ways to calculate a contract's value. It sounds like Beckham wants to top Brown's average and end up in the $18 million average neighborhood. But to get there he might have to give in a little on the guarantees or the first-year cash flow.
Here's all that matters, though: He's going to be very, very rich.
Don't fret about Beckham's agent leaving New York without a deal. That means nothing.
Zeke Sandhu, Beckham's agent, spent two hours talking with Giants assistant GM Kevin Abrams at a Giants practice last week -- although since they were in public their conversation was likely less about a contract and more like the famous mound visit in Bull Durham ("Candlesticks always make a nice gift"). They did talk contract while he was here, though. And it's true he left without a deal.
But if they had struck a deal of this magnitude during their first conversations, it would've been almost unprecedented. There is no urgency on either side because there is no deadline - either real or artificial. That's what usually sparks an agreement. In the meantime, they'll talk again. Both of them have cell phones and email accounts.
Tell everyone there is no deadline to get this deal done … Well, there kind of is a deadline, but it's not real.
If the Giants and Odell Beckham don't reach a deal by Opening Day, which they both hope to do, you know what happens? Absolutely nothing. They both survive and can keep talking as long as they want.
So when's the deadline? It's kind of March 5, 2019 -- the deadline for using the franchise tag on Beckham. The Giants don't want to do that because it'll cost in the $17-19 million range and they're not exactly overflowing with cap space. And Beckham doesn't want that because he'd rather have a long-term guarantee of $50 million plus.
So if it doesn't get done by Opening Day or during the season, you'll sense the urgency next March.
Remind them that Odell is definitely worth the money.
Have you seen the Giants' offense when Odell Beckham isn't playing?
Also, Beckham is the only player ever to have 90 catches and 1,300 yards in each of his first three seasons. Oh, and Mike Evans, who signed that massive, five-year, $82.5 million contract with Tampa in March that guarantees him $55 million? Through four seasons he has four fewer catches than Beckham, six fewer touchdown catches and has only 155 more yards. And Beckham has played in 14 fewer games than Evans!
Reassure them signing Beckham to a mega-deal won't hurt the Giants' cap (and send them THIS article to prove it).
The one thing agents and teams agree on is that cap space can always be created. They also agree that the cap is likely to keep going up. So yes, Beckham's cap hit in future years could be huge -- maybe even in the quarterback-like range of $20 million. But the Giants can afford it the same way they afforded the mega-deals they gave to Janoris Jenkins and Olivier Vernon two years ago.
Those deals, by the way, will come off the books long before Beckham's deal is done. Same with Eli Manning's mega-deal, too.
Show off your historical knowledge to prove how these things typically work out (as long as both sides want them to work out).
Three years ago, someone in the Giants organization leaked that Eli Manning was looking to be the highest-paid player in the NFL (apparently as a way to show his side was being unreasonable in contract talks). Soon after, word got out that the Giants were offering less than the Dolphins were paying Ryan Tannehill. At that moment there seemed to be irreconcilable differences. Less than a month later, Manning was signing a four-year, $84 million contract extension.
In 2004, the Giants were offering a six-year, $24 million contract to free agent receiver Plaxico Burress -- a player they desperately wanted. But talks got testy, broke down and the Giants issued a rare and strongly-worded statement saying they were moving on. One week later, Burress had a new agent and signed a six-year, $25 million deal with the Giants.
The point: The noise you hear means nothing. Breaks in talks mean nothing. If the two sides want to strike a deal, in the end they will strike a deal. They always do.
Assure your friends that no matter what happens, Beckham isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
The Giants aren't stupid. They know how good Beckham is. They understand his value to their offense. They know there may not be another receiver like him in the NFL. So they're not going to trade him, even if GM Dave Gettleman gets as angry with him as he once did in Carolina with cornerback Josh Norman (right before he traded him away).
In the meantime, Beckham is under contract this season (for about $8.4 million) and if doesn't sign an extension he'll get slapped with the franchise tag next season (at around $17-19 million) and would probably get it again in 2020 (for more than $20 million). Unless he holds out -- and for that money, he's not going to hold out -- he's stuck with the Giants for the next three years.
Long before then, he'll have a new contract. Sure, he could take the risky, Kirk Cousins approach and just play out the string on the franchise tags until he hits free agency. But don't bet on it. Beckham saw his career flash before his eyes with his ankle injury last October. He knows football could be taken away at any moment. At some point he's going to take what the Giants are offering and bask in the glow of being the highest-paid receiver in the game.