Every NFL offseason is important, but newly hired general manager Dave Gettleman’s first offseason with the New York Giants faces unique challenges that could ultimately define his tenure.
Already committing to Eli Manning as next year’s starting quarterback, the first in many critical decisions has been made. Next for Gettleman is preparing for the coming NFL Draft and determining what to do with the No. 2 selection. The Giants aren’t often in this position and certainly don’t anticipate regularly picking this high in the draft, so choosing 37-year-old Eli Manning’s successor is a likely possibility. With a field of Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen as the most likely suitors, vetting those prospects to find the right fit is a monumental decision that can either restore the Giants to being a contender in the NFC or set them even further back.
While those choices alone are enough to add more gray to Gettleman’s salt and pepper look, he faces a decision on superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham‘s contract, which expires at the end of next season.
Beckham is eager to get the ball rolling on contract discussions.
“Hopefully to get it done,” Beckham said of his mentality about the contract while on the red carpet of the NFL Honors Show. “It’s that time just to get it over with. I really want to do it so I can move past it. It’s too much sitting around thinking, ‘Where am I going to be at?’ I need to know where I can start buying furniture for a house. I want to have a place set where I know, ‘OK, this is home. I can always go back to home.’ So it’s just a little intermediate process right now. I’m sure it will get worked out.”
Knowing Beckham is open to staying in New York is only half the battle. The ball is now in Gettleman’s court to decide if he wants him. He would be foolish not to. Let’s examine why.
Beckham is an elite talent
Among the most dominant playmakers in the NFL, Beckham’s career is off to a historically great start.
Despite missing a majority of training camp, preseason, and the first four games of the regular season due to a hamstring injury, Beckham had a dominant rookie season. In just 12 games, Beckham finished his rookie season with 91 receptions for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns. He’s the only rookie in NFL history to have at least 90 catches and over 10 touchdowns in a season. He finished his rookie season with a streak of nine games with at least 90 receiving yards. Honored as the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, Beckham’s career soared.
As dominant as Beckham’s rookie season was, he revealed after the Pro Bowl game that at no point in his rookie campaign was he 100 percent:
“I was never fully healthy, I was just trying to manage it and maintain it. It’s still not right. [I’m] still working on it,” he said.
After those comments, Beckham set high expectations for his sophomore season and he delivered with 1,450 receiving yards on 96 receptions with 13 touchdowns. He became the second wide receiver in league history to have at least 70 receptions and 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons. He was the first to eclipse 90 receptions and 1,200 yards.
A fractured ankle derailed his fourth season, but he was on pace for 100 catches, more than 1,200 yards and another year of double-digit touchdowns before his injury.
Beckham is the fastest player in NFL history to reach both 200 career receptions and 4,000 career receiving yards. He has been named to three Pro Bowls and an All-Pro twice. There’s no doubt he is among the best receiving threats in the game.
NFL teams yearn for playmakers of his caliber; letting him leave the building shouldn’t be a consideration.
Beckham is important for next season
For the Giants to bounce back from their abysmal 3-13 season, Beckham being fully committed to the organization and New York to him will go a long way in Year 1 of Pat Schumur’s tenure as head coach. Committing to Manning for next season already indicates that New York believes it has a window to compete with him at quarterback. Prolonging Beckham’s contract negotiations is a distraction New York doesn’t need.
Beckham is important for the next quarterback
If New York is going to draft a quarterback at No. 2 and hand the keys over to him in 2019, having Beckham in place will provide him a true No. 1 receiver to rely on.
Too many times, teams fail to surround young passers with an adequate arsenal of weapons, but Beckham adds to a dynamic group that also includes Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard. Having that trio in place will immediately give the young quarterback a leg up in his transition to the NFL.
The offense is putrid without him
I know Giant fans would like to forget how pathetic the offense was in 2017, but it serves as a good reminder of what things can look like without Beckham.
The Giants averaged 19.9 points per game with a healthy Beckham over the last two seasons. That number dipped to 13.9 points per game in the 12 games without him last year. A full touchdown per game is the difference between having and not having Beckham. Simply put, Beckham isn’t a replacement-level player.
He’s young, worth investing in, and the timing is right
It’s not like we’re talking about an aging veteran, Beckham is 25 years old and entering the prime of his career. His impact on the Giants is obvious and he is one of the NFL’s premier playmakers.
NFL teams get in trouble when they commit sizable contracts to middling, replaceable players. That’s not Beckham. There is no replacing what he brings to an offense.
In Year 1 of the Gettleman-Schumur Era, securing Beckham’s future with the team is a wise decision. Delaying the extension until next season not only leaves a cloud over his future and leads to season-long questioning on the subject, but he will be even more expensive the longer New York waits. Guaranteed money and average yearly salary inflate considerably each year in the NFL. While Beckham surely wants to be paid the most of any receiver in NFL history, that price tag only goes up the longer it takes to get a deal done.
While Beckham’s production on the field has been outstanding, he has built up a reputation for his pre- and post-snap antics on the field. His tantrums and emotions have led to a slew of personal fouls (including three in one game against Carolina in 2015), sideline tears, taunting penalties, attacking kicking nets, and reportedly punching a hole in the locker room at Lambeau Field.
With that said, Beckham isn’t a bad guy and he is loved by his teammates. He doesn’t get in trouble off the field, which is often forgotten when there are gripes about his on-field demeanor.
Manning has called Beckham a “workhorse that loves to train.” Owner John Mara has said that “nobody works harder than (Beckham) does. He’s so competitive, even in practice. He wants to win so badly.“
It’s easy to see why it’s time for Gettleman to get a deal worked out with Beckham and rid the distraction of his contract status. He is a young, elite playmaker of utmost importance to the Giants’ offense, now and in the future.
Get it done, Gettleman. Beckham is not replaceable.