EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - When Odell Beckham, Jr. stated his desire to be the highest-paid player in the NFL it was not the first shot fired in a contract war with the Giants.
In fact, Beckham insisted, there's not going to be any contract war at all.
The Giants' controversial receiver took a laid-back approach to his contract situation on Friday after the first practice of training camp, just a day after he went public with a video in which he appeared to lay out some contract demands. Beckham vowed to take a patient approach to negotiations on his next deal with the Giants.
And he promised he has no interest in holding out to try and force a new deal at all.
"What would you suggest? What do you do? You come out, you go to work and you play," Beckham said. "I'm 24 years old. I'll play football until I can't play football anymore. I can't get caught up taking days off and not playing. I'm not here to hold out."
For the moment, of course, there's no reason to hold out. Beckham is under contract through the end of next season and guaranteed a total of about $10.3 million. The Giants could -- and likely would -- put the "franchise tag" on him after that, if they haven't reached a new agreement by 2019. The cost of that would probably be around $17-18 million for one year.
Both sides would like to agree on a new contract before that. In fact, later on Friday John Mara insisted "He deserves to get paid (and) we're going to pay him." Negotiations on a new deal could even begin before the end of the year.
When they do, the consensus of many NFL agents and executives around the league is that Beckham will almost certainly get the largest contract ever given to an NFL receiver and it probably will top $100 million over five seasons. But it will likely fall short of the $25 million per year average that would currently make him the highest-paid player in the league.
That's what Beckham said he wants -- to be the NFL's highest-paid player, not just the highest-paid receiver. And on Friday he said that remains part of his "goals and aspirations". And if he has to spend the next few years proving that he's worth it, that's fine with him.
"If I have to go out another year and prove myself, that's what you have to do, that's the position I'm in. I can't sit there and worry about getting a contract or not getting a contract. When the time comes, it'll be there.
"That's all I can do, be the very best I can be, and just know that in due time it'll be there. I can't really worry about it. I come out, work and get better every day, prove myself day to day, why I believe what I believe and I think what I think. And that's it."