The first round of talks between the Giants and Odell Beckham Jr.'s agent didn't produce a deal, which is absolutely no surprise to anyone who understands anything about how contract talks work. It's also not surprising that the Giants' initial offer was low -- or at least lower than they know they'll eventually have to pay. And it's also probably not a surprise that Beckham's camp has leaked details, apparently in the hope that it will pressure the Giants to immediately up their offer (Spoiler alert: It won't).
Try to ignore the noise, though, and see the bigger picture. The Giants are intent on signing Beckham to a long-term deal and according to a team source they understand it will likely make him the highest-paid receiver in the NFL when it's done. They hope they can get a deal done by Opening Day, or at the latest early in the season. That position hasn't changed.
Until then, everything else is just a part of negotiations.
For example, do you think the Giants really believe Beckham deserves to be paid less than Sammy Watkins (something a source told Josina Anderson), a far less-accomplished receiver who has done nothing the last two years? Of course not. But you know what was missing from the latest report? The amount Beckham was asking for from the Giants. That's a pretty significant omission and would add some important context.
At one point, not that long ago, Beckham made it clear he wanted to be the highest-paid player in the NFL. That honor currently belongs to Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan in terms of average annual value. His five-year, $150 million contract averages $30 million per year. If that's what Beckham's agent was asking for (and we don't know if it was), then it's no surprise the Giants started low. Actually, it's a shock they didn't start even lower than that.
Three years ago, when the Giants were negotiating a contract extension for Eli Manning, they began with an offer that would have paid him less than the Dolphins were paying Ryan Tannehill, according to an NFL source at the time. There wasn't a single person in the Giants' organization who believed Manning was less talented or valuable than Tannehill. But they started talks that low because Manning's agent wanted him to be the highest-paid player in the NFL. When the dust settled, he was fourth in terms of average annual value, but first in total guarantees.
That's how these things go, and that's how Beckham's negotiations will go. And in the next month or more there will be more leaks, more angst, and maybe even a few breaks in the talks. But the professionals will dismiss all that, and so should you. In contract talks, there isn't really "close" or "far apart". There is only "deal" or "no deal." One phone call can change it quickly from one to the other.
And despite Monday's noise, sources on both sides believe they'll eventually reach a deal. There's even still hope that it could happen by Opening Day.