Wide receiver Brandin Cooks saw all his hard work pay off this week when he signed a five-year, $80 million contract with the Los Angeles Rams. He’s the latest of the ultra-talented wide receivers from the 2014 NFL Draft class to see a huge payday. Once again, it’s time to wonder when it will be Odell Beckham Jr.’s turn.
Cooks joins a list of wide receivers from the 2014 draft class who have signed multi-year deals. This list includes Sammy Watkins (Kansas City Chiefs: three years, $48 million: $30 million guaranteed), Mike Evans (Tampa Bay Buccaneers: five years, $82 million: $55 million guaranteed), Allen Robinson (Chicago Bears: three years, $42 million: $25 million guaranteed), Jarvis Landry (Cleveland Browns: five years, $75 million: $47 million guaranteed), and Davante Adams (Green Bay Packers: four years, $58 million: $38 million guaranteed).
Beckham has scored more career touchdowns (38) than any of the other top receivers in his draft class. Evans scored 32 and Adams scored 26. Watkins scored 25 while Robinson and Landry each scored 22. Beckham racked up at least 1,300 receiving yards and at least 10 touchdowns in three of his four seasons, something that the other receivers in his class can’t claim. He was named 2014 Offensive Rookie of the Year despite playing in only 12 games.
The question isn’t Beckham deserves a contract on par with the other receivers in his draft class, but how much more money is it going to take for him to sign the dotted line.
Beckham said he not only wants to be the highest paid wide receiver but the highest paid player in the NFL. Ultimately, he may end up being the highest paid receiver with his blend of talent and box office draw ability. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ Antonio Brown is currently the NFL’s highest paid wideout, making over $18 million per year. How much more Beckham will insist on before signing the dotted line isn’t necessarily the highest hurdle to clear here.
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The more important question is how much the Giants organization trusts Beckham. He’s been known for having erratic behavior to say the least, and his one-game suspension in 2015 for malicious on-field behavior was totally inexcusable. These meltdowns show a lack of stability, which is a key trait needed for an organization who’s expected to offer a record-setting deal. To make matters more complicated, Beckham went on season-ending injured reserve last season with 12 games remaining. There was also an odd video of him during the offseason where he may have been in a hotel room with someone partaking in illegal activities.
While this doesn’t sound so good for Giants fans, there is hope. Beckham had excellent attendance throughout the Giants’ organized team activities (OTAs) throughout the spring. He’s also put any hold-out rumors to rest leaving no room for speculation, even though he’s one of the most underpaid players in the league (Beckham will make $8.5 million in 2018 on the fifth year of his rookie year). While he only appeared in four games last season, he looked to have much better composure when things weren’t going well. Outside of a questionable touchdown dance, Beckham behaved himself in 2017.
Beckham will need to prove he’s back to his old form after last year’s injury. He will also need to display leadership skills along with proper composure, not just on the field but making the right choices off the field. Beckham has never been in legal trouble before and, for most of his career, he’s been healthy.
Giants owner John Mara has made it clear the timing needs to be right. It is smart from an ownership standpoint to watch Beckham return to full speed before offering an extension. The largest deals can often take the longest to negotiate, and luckily for the Giants and their fans, Beckham has shown signs of personal growth. It’s been selfless of him to participate in OTA’s potentially risking another injury while having no guaranteed NFL earnings after this upcoming season.
There’s no doubt the Giants admire the steps Beckham has taken in. However, there has to be more before he’s offered the richest wide receiver contract in the history of the National Football League.
– Christian Morell is a Contributor for Full Press Coverage and covers the NFL and the New York Giants. Please like and follow on Facebook and Twitter. Christian can be followed on Twitter @Cmorell72.