While Odell Beckham Jr. would like a new deal that’s commensurate to his skill set and performance, the New York Giants hold all the cards and really don’t have to do anything about his request just yet.
Much like his National Basketball Association brethren Kyrie Irving, Beckham Jr.’s employer still has the upper hand in any dealings or negotiations. The electric wideout still has two years remaining on his rookie deal and with an average salary of $2.6 million, he’s clearly underpaid and providing the team with top-3 statistics for his position on a minimum wage salary, NFL market-wise speaking.
It’s why Giants’ owner John Mara reasoned that Beckham Jr. “deserves to get paid, we’re going to pay him, it’s just a question of when.” Big Blue, however, would be wise to still hold off on increasing the sometimes petulant wideout’s pay.
The Giants did pick up the former first-round pick’s fifth-year option on his rookie contract, but he is vastly underpaid for his position, especially when considering his annual average is lower than that of rookie tight end Evan Engram ($2.679 million).
Mara noted there’s a “possibility” the Giants will offer an extension before the beginning of Big Blue’s 2018 training camp, and that certainly should happen – then, not now. Of course providing the former Louisiana State University star continues his ascension towards the top of the wideout food chain, stays healthy, and just as important stays off the negative portion of ESPN’s “bottom line” scroll.
Beckham Jr. has been amazing since taking the league by storm during his rookie season in 2014 – a feat even more impressive since he missed the first four games of his maiden campaign with a hamstring injury. But once healthy and cleared, he took the league by storm on levels only all-timers like Jerry Rice, Randy Moss, and Don Hutson could appreciate. Beckham Jr.’s minimum amount of production has seen averages roughly in the 90-catch, 1,300-yard receiving, and 10-touchdown range.
According to Spotrac.com, Beckham’s market value once his deal expires will be roughly $15.6 million. The Giants are prepared to make Beckham the highest-paid receiver in the league – a status currently owned by Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who averages $17 million on a four-year, $68 million deal. Comparatively, A.J. Green of the Cincinnati Bengals averages $15 million, Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons averages $14.25 million, and the Dallas Cowboys’ Dez Bryant and the Denver Broncos’ Demaryius Thomas both earn $14 million a year on average. Jones has the largest amount of guarantees at $35.5 million.
Beckham would obviously like to surpass those numbers. He’ll likely seek something in the range of five years and close to $100 million, as to meet his average requirements of $20 million per. That may be difficult for the Giants to swallow, considering teammate Eli Manning’s numbers (an average of $21 million annually) and the fact general manager Jerry Reese shelled out over $200 million, last year, to revamp the defense. Look for New York to maybe offer a sixth year so they can stretch out the guaranteed money owed.
Either way, those numbers are nothing to sneeze at, but still a little bit a ways from the bracket that Beckham Jr. is seeking. And unfortunately for the 24-year old, that salary stratosphere is only inhabited by quarterbacks – and that club is very exclusive. Derek Carr of the Oakland Raiders is the highest-paid player in the league, averaging $25 million per year. The 15 highest-paid players are all quarterbacks, including Manning.
Beckham won’t see those numbers, but Mara said there’s nothing wrong with being close to it. When asked if he envisions any scenario in which a wideout would be the league’s highest-paid player, Mara politely scoffed.
“I can’t think of one,’’ Mara chuckled. “The quarterback is always going to be the highest-paid player.’’
As Deion Sanders would say, “pay da man!”
Just not yet. And certainly not as the league’s highest paid player regardless of position.