Odell Beckham Jr. is apparently a man of his word. He promised "no holdout," and it appears there will be no holdout. He's acted in good faith towards the Giants this offseason. He's done everything they've asked him to do.
So when will the Giants step up and give him his reward?
That's really the only missing piece with this long-running Beckham saga, assuming that he reports to training on Wednesday as he is expected to do. He's been well-behaved for most of the offseason in his effort to prove to them he is committed to what new coach Pat Shurmur called "the New York Giants way."
Now it's their turn to prove they're committed to him.
At the moment, there are no indications that a deal is close. The Giants, according to a source, have taken a patient approach to negotiations so they could make sure he was really committed. They also want to see how healthy he is, and if he's the same great player he was after the ankle injury he suffered last season.
But even though they have leverage over him for a couple more years, they understand they will have to pay him eventually. And co-owner John Mara has indicated that they eventually will.
The more they wait, though, the more they test Beckham's patience, because among his contemporaries he's sticking out like a sore (and underpaid) thumb. There were 12 receivers drafted in the first two rounds of the 2014 NFL draft, and eight have gotten mega-contracts in the last seven months.
The four that haven't? One had a career derailed by ACL surgery (Kelvin Benjamin). One has never topped 1,000 yards in a season (Jordan Matthews). One could never win a starting job (Cody Latimer).
And one - Beckham - is probably the best receiver in the whole bunch.
But right now, Beckham is scheduled to play out 2018 on the fifth-year option in his rookie contract, which will guarantee him $8.45 million. That's not nothing, but it doesn't come close to comparing what the rest of the Wide Receiver Class of 2018 is getting. Eventually, he will surely get a deal that (at least temporarily) makes him the highest-paid receiver in the NFL.
Until then, he's far behind all these receivers who are at the same points in their career:
- Mike Evans, TBY (Picked seventh in 2014): 5 years, $82.5 million, $38.2M guaranteed (Signed: 3/18)
- Brandin Cooks, LAR (20th): 5 years, $81 million, $20.5M guaranteed (7/18)
- Sammy Watkins, KC (fourth): 3 years, $48 million, $30M guaranteed (3/18)
- Jarvis Landry, CLE (63rd): 5 years, $75.5 million, $34M guaranteed (4/18)
- Davante Adams, GBY (53rd): 4 years, $48 million, $18M guaranteed (12/17)
- Allen Robinson, CHI (61st): 3 years, $42 million, $18 million guaranteed (3/18)
- Marqise Lee, JAX (39th): 4 years, $34 million, $16.5M guaranteed (3/18)
- Paul Richardson, WAS (45th): 5 years, $40 million, $12.5M guaranteed (3/18)
Eventually, Beckham will get a deal that tops all of them. Conversations with several agents over the last few months reveal that many expect Beckham's deal will at least eclipse the NFL-high (for a receiver) $17 million per year the Steelers are paying Antonio Brown. That puts Beckham in the five-year, $90 million range, with about $40 million of that guaranteed at signing.
He could also opt for a shorter deal - say three years, $55 million. The guarantee would be smaller, but it would make him a free agent again at age 29.
He will get paid, though, as long as he stays healthy. But the timing is up to the Giants. Some believe talks will heat up this summer with all eyes on an extension before the season opener, or perhaps sometime in the fall. Others think they'll make him play out his option, and hold the "franchise tag" (which should be worth close to $17 million) over him next year.
In the meantime, though, Beckham is prepared to meet the Giants half way by proving he's nothing but a good team player. It remains to be seen when the Giants will be willing to go the rest of the distance for him.