ORLANDO -- Odell Beckham's recent guest appearance in a video with a model, a pepperoni pizza and what looked like two kinds of drugs did not go over well with his bosses in the Giants organization. And it not only jeopardized the lucrative, long-term contract extension the star receiver has been seeking.
It also might have jeopardized his place on the team.
Due to the latest in what seems to be a never-ending string of controversies with the 25-year-old star, Giants co-owner John Mara wouldn't even commit to Beckham being on the Giants next season-let alone getting a multi-year contract extension that would make him one of the highest-paid stars in the game. It was a stunning admission from the Giants' co-owner, speaking in the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel at the annual NFL owners meetings on Sunday afternoon.
Mara was bluntly asked if he could forsee a scenario where Beckham didn't play for the 2018 Giants. And before he answered, he took a very long pause.
"I can't answer that one way or another," Mara said. "We're certainly not shopping him if that's what you're asking. But again, when you're coming off a season where you're 3-13 and played as poorly as we played, I wouldn't say that anybody is untouchable."
Maybe nobody is "untouchable" on the Giants, but Beckham isn't just "anybody" on the roster. He's one of the biggest stars in the game who is currently heading into the final season of his rookie contract. He's been publicly lobbying for a mega-deal for over a year, even at one point saying he wanted to be the highest-paid player in the entire sport. And Mara has long said that he expected Beckham to be a Giant for life.
But the tone has changed in recent months since the hiring of new GM Dave Gettleman and coach Pat Shurmur, both of whom have made fairly direct remarks about Beckham needing to change his behavior. The recent video certainly doesn't appear to represent much of a change-and the fact that it came long after both Gettleman and Shurmur spoke to him about his behavior has alarmed many in the Giants organization.
Obviously they're not going to cut Beckham, but Mara's comments certainly opens up the possibility that they would at least listen to a trade offer-even that seemed unthinkable just a short time ago.
"You always listen to those things," Mara said. "But that's not a scenario that I would like to see happen."
Clearly he wouldn't. But he also made it clear that his patience with Beckham is wearing very, very thin.
"I'm tired of answering questions about Odell's behavior and what the latest incident is," he said. "I think he knows what we expect of him. Now it's up to him."
Mara said he hasn't spoken to Beckham about the recent video yet, though Shurmur did meet with Beckham last week when the coach was out in California scouting two of the top quarterbacks in the upcoming draft-USC's Sam Darnold and UCLA's Josh Rosen. Mara wasn't angry when he saw the video, though, just "more disappointed than anything" that he had to deal with another Beckham issue again.
"I think too often he allows himself to get put in bad situations," Mara said. "He needs to use a little better judgement."
There is no doubt that problem has loomed over the Giants' thoughts about whether to give Beckham a contract extension, and when. He's due $8.459 million this season, in the final year of his rookie deal, and they could certainly use the "franchise tag" on him in 2019 (at the likely cost of about $15 million for one year).
It would be easier and probably better for the Giants to lock him up to a big deal now, but his behavior has clearly gotten in the way. "I think that's certainly something you have to take into consideration, yes," Mara said.
Mara did say that the contract "will get done when it's supposed to get done." But when asked if he still believed that it would definitely get done, he hedged, saying "I think at some point, but who knows?"
Mara did at least express some faith in Beckham-or at least some hope-that he'll start to understand the issues that he's caused for the Giants organization, and how they expect him to behave if he's going to remain one of their biggest stars.
"I still believe that he'll be able to show us what we expect of him," Mara said. "But again, it's up to him."