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Message to New York Giants: Time to pay Odell Beckham Jr.

Maybe the New York Giants should make wideout Odell Beckham Jr. the highest paid player, judging by last night’s woeful performance in Dallas.

Beckham, who hasn’t been on the field since injuring his ankle in an August 21 preseason game at the Cleveland Browns, has reportedly been seeking to become not only the top-paid receiver, but the wealthiest player in the league, regardless of position.

Following last night’s listless season-opening 19-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in AT&T Stadium, it’s apparent that quarterback Eli Manning desperately needs Beckham. The 24–year old wideout has become somewhat of a crutch for the veteran signal caller, as without him, Manning looked rattled most of the night. Of course, the atrocious play of the offensive line had a lot to do with Manning’s misery as well, as he was sacked three times and hit several more. But even when he had rare time to scan the field, no one in the receiving corps could muster any separation. Veteran Brandon Marshall, who was brought over to be a dependable sidekick to Beckham – something the electric wideout has yet to have in his career – didn’t even register a catch until the final seconds of the game, when Dallas relaxed its coverage. Otherwise, Marshall might as well have spent his night in street clothes right next to Beckham, because he was a non-factor.

The futility of Manning [29-of-38 for 220 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception] and his receivers only strengthens Beckham’s case to be paid in full. Running back Shane Vereen led the team in receptions with nine, while little-know wideout Roger Lewis led the team with a mere 54 yards. Numbers don’t lie – Beckham is desperately needed back. He’s obviously the most dynamic player on that offense, and outside of Manning, the most important.

The Giants did not score an offensive touchdown for the first time since September 18, 2016, in a 16-13 victory against the New Orleans Saints. New York trailed at halftime in Dallas, 16-0, which was the first time they played a scoreless first half since their last game against the Cowboys, December 11, 2016, when they trailed, 7-0. They eventually won that game, 10-7, giving the Cowboys two of its three losses, last season.

The trend of not scoring first-half touchdowns in meaningful games has now reached two. Big Blue also didn’t score a first-half touchdown in last season’s National Football Conference Wild Card Playoff loss in Green Bay, January 8. And their 16-point halftime deficit was the largest since the Minnesota Vikings handed them a 19-3 deficit on December 27, 2015, en route to a humiliating 49-17 smashing in Minnesota.

Dallas finally snapped its three-game losing streak to New York, while using an aggressive defense to stifle Manning and co. The Giants only mustered 233 yards of total offense, which was their lowest total since they gained 232 yards in a victory against the Los Angeles Rams in London, England, last October 23.

Those aforementioned statistics clearly show Beckham’s worth. And to further add to his case, Pittsburgh Steelers wideout Antonio Brown also gives Beckham leverage. Brown saved the Steelers, yesterday, from what would’ve been a humiliating loss to the Cleveland Browns with a stellar performance, particularly in the fourth quarter when the Steelers were on the ropes. Brown made clutch catches and moved the chains, thanks to his 11-catch, 182-yard performance, to preserve the 21-18 win.

Brown’s and Beckham’s numbers have been comparable since the latter entered the league four years ago. And when Brown inked that five-year deal back in February, which could be worth up to $73-million, it set the wheels in motion for Team Beckham. Both are considered among the top-three wideouts in the game, along with the Atlanta FalconsJulio Jones, who signed a five-year, $71.25-million extension in 2015.

So every time Brown or Jones puts up big numbers – and every time the Giants’ offense flames out without their star receiver – it only enhances his case to be, at the very least, on a comparable wage scale.

Head coach Ben McAdoo’s postgame comments, calling the offense “disappointing” and reasoning that “no part of the offense was functional” speaks to the value of Beckham, who at a 2017-18 salary of  $1.89 million provides the Giants with the league’s best value. His salary does kick up to $8.459 million, next season, as the Giants picked up his fifth-year team option, but that’ll be the final year of his rookie deal, should the two sides not reach an agreement on an extension.

McAdoo, of course, was being kind to his beleaguered offensive line with his critique. But deep down, he knows – just like his predecessor Tom Coughlin knew prior – that Beckham is still the engine that makes the Giants’ offense go, and the team can’t afford to lose him to free agency in his prime years.

So, simply put, as Deion Sanders likes to say, maybe it’s time for the New York Football Giants to “pay da man.”

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