Odell Beckham Jr.

Extra Points: Rookie Scale, McCoy, Bills, Beckham, Giants, Donald, Rams

Roquan Smith still isn’t signed. The eighth overall pick in this year’s draft is the last remaining unsigned pick, and there’s no end in sight to the impasse between the linebacker and the Bears. Although issues like total guaranteed money and signing bonuses are predetermined in rookie contracts, things like offsets and when guarantees will void can still be haggled over.

To help better understand the process, Andrew Brandt of SI.com took a look at the rookie contract process, and spoke with a handful of agents. Brandt, a former Packers executive, writes that it’s a “system tilted heavily toward management” and that the players have little leverage now due to the 2011 CBA. Brandt writes that teams have become “emboldened” by their newfound power in negotiating rookie deals, and that “teams like the Bears are looking to invalidate future guarantees based on discipline for on-field conduct.”

 The Bears want to be able to void guaranteed money from Smith’s contract if he were suspended for on-field conduct like an illegal hit, and Smith is fighting back. It will be fascinating to see how the situation plays out. Here’s more from around the league:

  • The ex-girlfriend of LeSean McCoy issued a new statement yesterday, saying that she is still waiting for “justice to be served.” McCoy has consistently denied any wrongdoing and has not yet been punished by either the Bills or the NFL.
  • Odell Beckham Jr. didn’t play in the Giants’ preseason opener, but his absence had nothing to do with his contract. Although the two sides are still negotiating a contract extension which should make OBJ the highest paid receiver in the game, coach Pat Shurmur said he wasn’t going to play his star in the first game anyway, according to Tom Rock of Newsday.
  • Aaron Donald missed the August seventh deadline to report and will become a restricted free agent after the season, but the deadline was mostly irrelevant writes former NFL agent Joel Corry of CBS Sports. Since the Rams will certainly franchise tag Donald if the two sides can’t agree on an extension, it doesn’t really matter whether he’s a restricted or unrestricted free agent after this year, and there was no reason for Donald to report.

NFC East Notes: Redskins, Beckham, Eagles

Derrius Guice‘s injury delivers a considerable setback to the Redskins‘ running back corps, to the point they may have to consider adding a veteran to the mix. But Jay Gruden did not confirm the team will go in this direction, pointing to the second-round Guice selection being a best-player-available move rather than a need pick.

We have guys here that can play,” Gruden said Saturday. “We drafted Derrius because he was the best player, we thought, at the time of the draft … not because we weren’t satisfied with the backs we have.”

The primary Redskins starters the past two years, Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine, remain on the team and are now set to be the team’s early-down backs. Passing-down specialist Chris Thompson, though he’s not yet fully recovered from the broken leg he suffered midway through last season, will reprise his role in 2018. Neither Kelley nor Perine surpassed 3.5 yards per carry last season, but Washington’s offensive line became significantly limited by injuries as the season progressed. Kelley fared much better in 2016.

Here’s the latest from the rest of the NFC East:

  • A day after Guice’s injury severity became known, the Redskins are concerned about 2017 sixth-round pick Robert Davis. The team fears its second-year wide receiver suffered a torn ACL, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. Davis will head in for an MRI later today, per Garafolo. The Georgia State alum was expected to play a bigger role in Year 2 after playing in just one game as a rookie.
  • The Giants‘ reasoning behind sitting Odell Beckham Jr. in the preseason opener stemmed from his injury recovery, not his contract situation, per Pat Shurmur. “I want to be smart with his recovery coming back [from ankle surgery],” Shurmur said, via Tom Rock of Newsday. “I never intended to play him in this game. I didn’t reveal that to [the public], but I never intended to.” Beckham has not experienced a known setback in his recovery from last season’s ankle injury. He encountered ankle trouble during the preseason against the Browns last year, spraining his left ankle barely a month prior to fracturing it.
  • The subject of Rasul Douglas moving to safety surfaced at Eagles practice, but the coaching staff shot that down, Sheil Kapadia of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Philly lost Patrick Robinson and has Ronald Darby going into a contract year, so it would make sense Douglas stays at corner. Philadelphia’s staff still believes Douglas can have a quality career as a corner, although Kapadia adds he has not progressed like the team was hoping going into his second season.
  • Donnel Pumphrey may be in his final days as an Eagle, with Kapadia pointing out the “lower body” injury he suffered in the defending Super Bowl champions’ preseason opener may put him too far behind the other combatants in a hotly contested race to make the 53-man roster as the No. 4 running back. Wendell Smallwood, Matt Jones and rookie UDFA Josh Adams comprise the rest of that race, and Kapadia adds that Jones may be behind the other two after the Eagles’ first preseason game. The Eagles gave Adams a sizable guarantee to sign after the draft.

NFC East Notes: Redskins, Eagles, OBJ

Redskins running back Samaje Perine could be a trade candidate, as ESPN.com’s John Keim writes. The Redskins have a surplus of running backs, with Derrius Guice and Chris Thompson as their lead rushers. Rob Kelley was once thought to be on the bubble, but coaches say that he looks quicker this summer than he has in previous years. The Redskins also seem to be eyeing Byron Marshall or Kapri Bibbs as their third-down back, which could leave Perine as the odd man out.

The Oklahoma product drew a great deal of attention in the 2017 draft, so other teams could be interested in giving him a shot. The Redskins, meanwhile, could net a future draft choice for him if they are comfortable enough with the rest of the group.

Here’s more from the NFC East:

  • Within the aforementioned piece, ESPN.com’s Tim McManus suggests that Eagles cornerback Rasul Douglas could wind up on the block. There hasn’t been a ton of talk about Douglas being traded, but the Eagles have plenty of cornerback options and could afford to part with Douglas for the right offer. The former third-round choice out of West Virginia offers good size with his 6’2″, 209-pound frame and could hold some appeal for other clubs. McManus notes that the Eagles also could deal from their surplus receivers and offensive linemen.
  • On Monday, we heard conflicting reports regarding the negotiations between Odell Beckham Jr. and the Giants. One report indicated that the Giants are offering OBJ less than Sammy Watkins‘ average annual value of $16MM/year. Later, we heard that the Giants are willing to make OBJ the highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL. The discrepancy likely comes from different interpretations of the same offer, as Mike Florio of PFT writes. In an unusual role reversal, it seems that the team is evaluating the offer based on the new money average, while the player’s agent is going off of the cumulative average, which includes Beckham’s 2018 salary of $8.49MM. In theory, the Giants’ offer to Beckham could be a five-year, $85.5MM deal, which would give him a league-leading $17.1MM new money average. However, if the 2018 salary is included, that would give him an average of $15.659MM. Reading between the lines, it sounds as though OBJ’s team could be looking to top Antonio Brown‘s AAV including the current year, which would be a very lofty goal.

OBJ, Giants Progressing Toward Extension

A new contract for wideout Odell Beckham Jr. could be right around the corner. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that the receiver’s agent, Zeke Sandhu, and the Giants have “engaged in good-faith negotiations” that would make Beckham the highest-paid wideout in the NFL. While a deal isn’t expected to be finalized in the coming days, Rapoport says the two sides are “encouraged” that a deal could be finalized before the start of the regular season.

We learned yesterday that OBJ was optimistic about a new deal, but reports from today indicated that the Giants’ offer may have been relatively underwhelming. New York’s reported offer would have paid Beckham a lower average annual salary than Sammy Watkins, which our own Zach Links says would be south of $16MM. If Beckham is going to be the highest-paid player at this position, he’d have to earn more than the $17MM that Antonio Brown is set to make in his extension with the Steelers.

The 25-year-old is set to earn a bit less than $8.5MM in his fifth-year option season, meaning he could be looking to double his salary in 2019. For what it’s worth, the wideout previously acknowledged that he may have to sacrifice some money for long-term security, which could be an indication that Beckham is willing to give the Giants a slight discount if they sign him to a longer deal. If OBJ doesn’t sign an extension with the organization, the Giants could realistically control the receiver for more two additional seasons via the franchise tag.

The 2014 first-round pick was limited to only four games last season, finishing with 25 receptions for 302 yards and three scores. However, there’s no denying his talent, as he finished the previous three campaigns with at least 1,300 receiving yards.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants Offer OBJ Less Than $16MM/Year

Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. says he’s optimistic about a new deal coming together, but the two sides still have a ways to go. The Giants latest offer to OBJ would give him an average annual salary below that of Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins, according to Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (on Twitter). 

Watkins signed a three-year, $48MM deal with the Chiefs this offseason, meaning that the Giants have offered Beckham less than $16MM per year. Assuming the offer is still in the $15MM/year range, it’s not quite chump change, but it would put Beckham outside of the top five for wide receivers when it comes to new money.

At the moment, Watkins is at the top of the list, but that will change in 2019 when new deals kick in for Antonio Brown ($17MM per year), Mike Evans ($16.5MM), DeAndre Hopkins ($16.2MM), and Brandin Cooks ($16.2MM) leapfrog Watkins. OBJ’s team, meanwhile, is likely seeking a deal to make him the highest-paid receiver in the NFL. So, clearly, there’s a large divide that needs to be bridged. In the the meantime, OBJ’s agent Zeke Sandhu has left town, Anderson tweets.

If OBJ does not sign an extension with the Giants, the club can still control him through two consecutive franchise tags. No new deal for OBJ means taking a risk and potentially not seeing the open market until after the 2020 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Odell Beckham Jr. Optimistic About New Contract

Earlier this week, the Giants and Odell Beckham Jr. finally began contract talks, and although it’s only been a couple of days, it appears that things are moving in the right direction. Per Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com, OBJ is optimistic that a new contract will get done, and Raanan suggests that the two sides could come to terms before the start of the regular season.

In his first news conference since last October, Beckham said, “Optimistic? Yeah. I’m optimistic. I’m confident it will all work itself out. It always does.”

Of course, Beckham has repeatedly expressed a desire to become the game’s highest-paid receiver, and it was not too long ago that we heard his next contract could approach $100MM in total value. However, the three-time Pro Bowler did imply that he may have to settle for a little less in order to obtain long-term security. He said, “Who doesn’t want to get more money? Everybody does. Realistically, you try to be realistic with yourself. You see what happened over the offseason. Can’t really worry about everybody else. Just let them figure it out, and whenever it happens it will happen.”

Unlike some of his fellow stars, Beckham has elected to participate in training camp, which is in keeping with his belief that holdouts are not an effective negotiating tool. He understands that he could suffer an injury in camp that could at the very least throw a major wrench into negotiations, but he believes that is a risk worth taking. After all, he is just happy to be on the field again after a difficult 2017 campaign that was cut short by a broken ankle.

The ankle injury not only kept Beckham off the field, but it had a dramatic impact on his personal life as well. During his news conference, Beckham said that there were times over the last year when he would fall asleep on the couch and then have to crawl up the stairs because of the limitations created by the injury.

And, although he was fully cleared to return to practice in June, he says he truly started to feel like his old self over the course of the past month. He said, “It’s kind of over the last month I’ve taken a huge stride. I remember maybe two months ago it wasn’t as smooth and I wasn’t getting out of cuts. You kind of get that frustration and want to get back to where you were at. But now that I’m here, it has been a lot of hard work put it. Lot of doctors, lot of treatment, lot of rehab, lot of pain that you’ve been in. It’s nice to be here now.”

By all accounts, Beckham and new head coach Pat Shurmur have a strong relationship, and it appears that Beckham is appreciative of the clean slate that the Giants’ offseason coaching and front office overhaul provided. He did not say whether there is a deadline for getting a deal done, but it sounds as if it could happen soon. Despite his injury-marred 2017, Beckham’s age (25), talent, and productivity to date will likely result in a major payday (especially in light of the booming wide receiver market). A five-year pact worth around $80MM, including $35MM in full guarantees, seems like a reasonable estimate.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants, Odell Beckham Jr. Begin Talks

The Giants and Odell Beckham Jr. have finally begun contract talks, according to a source who spoke with Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com. The two sides started discussing a new deal earlier this week, just days after owner John Mara vowed to get things started “sooner rather than later.” 

Of the 12 wide receivers that were drafted in the first two rounds of the 2014 draft, ten have received new deals within the past year. Beckham, who is the most talented of the bunch, is still waiting. That’s partially due to Beckham’s ankle injury last year and also likely tied to the team’s concerns about his maturity. But, they’re on the right track now, and a new deal could come together between now and the season opener against the Jaguars on Sept. 9.

Beckham’s next deal could easily make him the highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL. It’s possible that OBJ will seek to not only top Antonio Brown‘s $17MM/year salary, but also Mike Evans‘ $55MM in total guarantees. It remains to be seen whether the Giants are willing to go there, but they are more open to numbers like that after seeing him hustle in practice.

I see what I expected to see when we started to communicate back in February,” Shurmur said earlier this week. “This guy loves to play football, he trains extremely hard, he’s totally engaged in the meetings behind the scenes, the things that the world is not aware of, and he’s got a lot of passion for the game. We were just out in a walk-through and I saw three or four times when he was talking to different players about certain techniques within the play. That’s all good stuff.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

New York Notes: Darnold, Breeland, OBJ, Apple

In the wake of Elijah McGuire‘s broken foot, the Jets signed RB George Atkinson III earlier today. However, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that the team’s first choice was Alfred Morris, who obviously comes with considerably more experience than Atkinson (Gang Green brought Morris in for a visit yesterday). Rapoport says the two sides could not come together on contract terms, so Morris remains a free agent and Atkinson is now a Jet.

Now for more notes from the two clubs who call the Meadowlands home:

  • The Jets still have interest in free agent CB Bashaud Breeland, per ESPN’s Josina Anderson (via Twitter). There’s still no word on whether Breeland will visit with Gang Green, but a number of clubs are interested in his services. Breeland remains undecided for the time being.
  • Just yesterday, we heard that offset language was no longer the issue holding up contract negotiations between the Jets and rookie QB Sam Darnold. Instead, the latest reports suggested that how and when the guarantees in Darnold’s contract could void is the real sticking point. But Rich Cimini of ESPN.com says offset language and the guaranteed money issue are still matters that need to be resolved. Cimini does not think that the holdout will get as bad as the infamous Joey Bosa/Chargers standoff several years ago, but Darnold is in a different situation because he is a quarterback, not a defensive lineman. Every practice he misses is critical, and while there are not enough details to know which party is in the “right” in this case — though Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News opines that Darnold’s agent’s stance with respect to the offset language is ridiculous and selfish — this is fast becoming a lose-lose situation for player and team.
  • Odell Beckham Jr. has excelled in Giants training camp thus far, and he looks committed and healthy, per Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Raanan ends his tweet with an emphatic, “pay the man.”
  • Though it’s obviously still early in training camp, the Giants‘ offensive line has left much to be desired in summer practices thus far, as Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com writes. Dunleavy lists a few OL free agents that Big Blue might consider bringing in, and he also names Denzelle Good, who is currently fighting for a starting job with the Colts, as an interesting trade candidate.
  • After two seasons as a backup cornerback with the Titans, Curtis Riley saw an opportunity to start at free safety with the Giants, which encouraged him to sign with Big Blue in March. Thus far, his conversion to safety is going swimmingly, and Greg Joyce of the New York Post writes that Riley has a legitimate chance to win the starting FS job.
  • Giants CB Eli Apple‘s maturity issues and lack of effort have gotten him into plenty of hot water with his teammates and coaches during his first two seasons in the pros, but new head coach Pat Shurmur is impressed with Apple’s attitude and his play thus far. Shurmur said, via Paul Schwartz of the New York Post, “I’m seeing a guy that’s all about his business. He’s very businesslike. And he’s covering really well, a really good attribute for a corner. I like the way he’s working. He’s out there challenging, but he’s also being smart. And I like the way he’s functioning in the building. Very attentive in meetings. In my mind, and based on what I’ve seen, he’s acting like a pro.”

NFC East Notes: Giants, Beckham, Cowboys, Frazier, Eagles

There’s been endless drama this offseason surrounding the Giants and Odell Beckham Jr. Things finally appear to be headed in the right direction for the two sides, and the much awaited contract extension could finally be on the horizon. Beckham recently opted to report to camp on time rather than hold out, and Giants management has in turn spoken very highly of him. Now that a new contract in the near future finally seems like a real possibility, Matt Lombardo of NJ.com spoke with former NFL agent and current CBS Sports analyst Joel Corry and cap expert Jason Fitzgerald of Overthecap.com about what kind of deal Beckham can expect to get.

Corry said the number one most important thing is that “there wouldn’t be a deal to be made if it didn’t make Beckham the highest-paid wide receiver by average, and with the most guarantees.” Mike Evans recently got a five-year $85MM deal from the Buccaneers, and Corry is quite confident that Beckham will top that. While Fitzgerald notes that the Giants have a league-low $2.13MM in cap space, he thinks they’ll be able to make a deal work by using a “large signing bonus to bring his current year salary down.” Fitzgerald thinks Beckham won’t “sign for anything less than $20 million a season” a number that would make him the league’s highest paid receiver by a substantial margin. Whatever his deal ends up looking like, it seems as if the saga is finally nearing an end and that Beckham will be locked up long-term before too long.

Here’s more from the NFC East:

  • Cowboys safety Kavon Frazier may have a blood disorder, a source told Brandon George of SportsDay Dallas News. Frazier, who played in 15 games for Dallas last season, is undergoing tests to determine if he will be able to return to the field. The Cowboys placed him on the non-football injury list just before training camp started.
  • Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports would be “shocked if the Eagles don’t make at least two more trades” before the start of the regular season. La Canfora thinks that because of the team’s depth at positions like running back and quarterback, they’ll be forced to move some players through trade rather than cut solid players. La Canfora writes that Eagles president Howie Roseman will try to “spin some of that quantity into truly elite quality” and that he will “explore every option to do so.”
  • In case you missed it, the Redskins signed quarterback Colt McCoy to an extension yesterday.

Giants, OBJ Have Yet To Discuss Deal

The Giants haven’t started contract negotiations with Odell Beckham Jr., owner John Mara told reporters on Thursday (Twitter link via Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com). Mara went on to say that talks will begin “sooner rather than later” and will start “pretty soon.” 

[RELATED: OBJ Denies Allegations, Says He’s Victim Of Extortion]

The Giants have been somewhat reluctant to enter serious talks with Beckham, in part because of their concerns about his maturity. Gradually, however, that perception is changing. Mara believes Beckham is moving in the right direction and his attendance for OTAs, minicamp, and the start of training camp is meaningful for the team.

When talks get underway, Beckham’s side will push for a deal that far exceeds Brandin Cooksnew five-year, $80MM+ extension with the Rams. Locking up OBJ, who had three straight seasons with at least 1,300 yards and ten touchdowns, will cost the club at least $90MM with substantial guarantees.

Alternatively, the Giants could control OBJ through the 2020 season via consecutive franchise tags. Doing that would keep the proverbial carrot on the stick for Beckham and minimize the club’s long-term risk, but they would also be exposing themselves to offseason drama and holdout threats.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.