The New York Giants, specifically co-owner John Mara, haven’t exactly been on-message with their talk about wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. at this week’s NFL owners’ meetings. On Sunday, Mara said no one on the team is “untouchable” on the heels of a 3-13 season but followed that up two days later by saying Beckham was “not on the block.”
“Is that going to stop clubs from possibly calling us? No. But he’s not on the block. We’re not shopping him around,” Mara told reporters.
“I don’t want him to be traded,” Mara continued. “I want him to be a Giant. I can’t say it’s a 100 percent guarantee it will happen. Can’t say that about any player.”
Now that that’s all cleared up, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Wednesday that — should the Giants start shopping him around, which they totally aren’t — they have set an asking price for the sublimely talented if somewhat mercurial wide receiver: at least two first-round draft picks. That’s on top of the long-term contract extension Beckham reportedly will demand from whatever team he’s playing for in 2018 (as of now, he’ll make $8.46 million in the final year of his rookie contract).
Two first-round picks with a mega-contract on top is a lot to give up, but it’s happened with a wide receiver before: In 2000, the Jets traded Keyshawn Johnson to the Bucs after his fourth season for two first-round picks. Tampa Bay then signed Johnson to a contract extension that made him the highest-paid wideout in the NFL, and he helped the Bucs to a Super Bowl title in the 2002-03 season.
In any case, this is all a whole lot of posturing. Beckham’s camp is going to draw its line in the sand with its demand for an extension, pointing out that many of the wideouts from the 2014 draft class already are on their second contracts and that Beckham is probably more talented than most of them, if not all of them. The Giants, meanwhile, will continue to publicly play coy about the whole thing while leaking out an asking price to receptive NFL reporters to remind Beckham that he’s in fact expendable. If they can’t work out a trade before next month’s draft, expect a full summer of this.
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