He will become the highest paid non-quarterback in NFL history with his five-year, $95 million extension. Beckham is one of the last receivers taken in the first two rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft to receive a lucrative deal. Some of his behavior on and off the field stalled the process. The Giants also wanted to see if he fully recovered from the ankle he broke more than 10 months ago.
Giants ownership has always said they wanted Beckham for the long haul but it didn’t stop them from listening to trade offers before April’s NFL Draft. Beckham, for his part, did everything the Giants asked of him.
He forged a relationship with head coach Pat Shurmur. The two began exchanging text messages not long after Shurmur was hired to replace Ben McAdoo. Shurmur also took a trip to Los Angeles to become better acquainted with his top receiver.
“Coach Shurmur is great,” Beckham said last week. “When we first met in L.A., we just sat down and talked football, and just to see his mentality and how he’s going to run the ship—it’s been phenomenal to come in every day. It’s like you’re back at the workplace and you love it, and he makes it fun for us. He’s just doing a great job. He’s got everybody doing what they’re supposed to do.”
Beckham said earlier in the summer he didn’t want his contract situation to be a distraction and it wasn’t. He participated in live drills and joint practices throughout the summer. Unlike fellow 2014 draftees Aaron Donald and Khalil Mack, Beckham reported to training camp. In spite of Beckham’s approach, the contract situation loomed over the Giants’ heads.
Beckham was already arguably the face of the franchise before the extension was agreed to. He now will be expected to be exemplary on and off the field. The on-the-field portion shouldn’t be an issue. He averaged at least 90 receptions for 1,300 yards and 10 touchdowns in each of his first three NFL seasons, earning three Pro Bowl berths.
Beckham’s teammates respect him as both a player and a person in the locker room. His work ethic and desire to improve have been above reproach. However, he has found himself making headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Who can forget his feud with Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman? What about the incident with the kicking net or the canine touchdown celebration in Philly? When the Giants receiving corps took an ill-advised trip to Miami before a playoff game, Beckham received a lion’s share of the blame.
Now that Beckham has received his big pay day, he is expected to be provide leadership as a face of the franchise. The Giants need him to be an extension of Shurmur on the field and in the locker room. They are betting that Beckham has the maturity needed to step into that role.
“I think Odell personally is moving in the right direction,” co-owner John Mara said at the beginning of training camp. “I think he has come in here with a good attitude, showed up with a smile on his face and worked hard, I think he’s ready to go. I think he’s ready to have a great season and we’re ready for him to have a great season.”
The Giants are looking beyond this season. They are telling the world that Beckham will be the next great Giant with the extension. They are betting none of the maturity issues that plagued Beckham in the past will show up now. The Giants believe that Beckham will hold others accountable both on the field and off it by his own example.
– Curtis Rawls is a Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage and covers the NFL, the New York Giants, and the NBA. Please like and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Twitter. Curtis can be followed on Twitter @CuRawls203.