Odell Beckham Jr.

Odell Beckham Jr. Has Fractured Ankle

Giants wideout Odell Beckham Jr. suffered a fractured ankle in today’s loss to the Chargers, the club announced today. Beckham will require surgery, which will take place later this week, and his 2017 campaign is over. Video of the injury can be viewed here, but it’s not easy to watch.Odell Beckham Jr.

Beckham, of course, missed New York’s season opener after spraining his ankle during the preseason. But he’s been mostly healthy since entering the league in 2014 — after a four-game absence to begin his NFL career, Beckham played in 31 of a possible 32 games from 2015-16. His production speaks for itself, as he’s topped 1,300 yards receiving and managed at least 10 touchdowns in each of the past three seasons.

Even if Beckham can return later this season following surgery, the Giants may choose to hold him out for the remainder of the year. Big Blue is now 0-5 after losing a nail-biter to Los Angeles, and most projection models gave New York fewer than a 1% chance to earn a postseason berth even before today’s defeat. Given that reality, the Giants might not want to rush their best player back in a lost campaign.

Beckham’s injury will almost assuredly affect contract negotiations between he and the Giants, as the uncertainty regarding his health will have to give general manager Jerry Reese pause. OBJ had reportedly been open to an in-season extension, but a new contract is unlikely to be hammered out while Beckham is sidelined. He’s under team control through 2018 thanks to his $8.459MM fifth-year option.

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Giants, Odell Beckham Jr. Open To In-Season Extension

All offseason, we have heard that the Giants are not prioritizing a new contract for star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. In fact, the most recent report about the matter indicated that Big Blue had not so much as discussed an extension for OBJ, which makes sense given that he is under contract through 2018 at a very reasonable rate ($1.8MM this season, $8.5MM in 2018). Plus, the team could keep Beckham under club control for at least one more season after that through the franchise tag, and assuming Beckham continues to perform at the level he has established for himself, even the franchise tag salary might look like a bargain.

Odell Beckam Jr.

Nonetheless, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that both parties are open to working out an in-season extension. The Giants do not have a policy against in-season deals, and Beckham’s absence in the team’s Week 1 loss to the Cowboys only served to underscore his value. Beckham, of course, would love to get something done soon, as a new contract for him would represent a massive raise and could have a total value approaching $100MM.

The Giants have to be a little careful, because they do not want to set a precedent of handing out extensions to a player that has two years left on his deal. But Beckham is a generational talent, and New York brass has expressly stated that it wants OBJ to be a Giant for the rest of his career. If that’s the case, the Giants might have to do what they can to keep him happy, including making an exception to the two-year rule.

If anyone deserves such an exception, it’s Beckham. Through his first three seasons in the league, the 24-year-old has averaged nearly 100 catches per year for nearly 1,400 yards and 12 TDs. That puts him into rarefied air, and while La Canfora reports that negotiating a new deal will take work, it is hardly impossible.

Beckham has been battling an ankle injury that caused him to miss last week’s season opener, and he is questionable to make his 2017 debut against the Lions tomorrow night.

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NFC Notes: OBJ, Sherman, Barr, Freeman

Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. returned to practice Thursday and is likely to make his season debut this week, which should be a boon to an offense that looked lost on season-opening Sunday. However, OBJ won’t be at full strength for a little while longer. The ankle injury that has bothered him since mid-August comes with a six- to eight-week recovery timeline, he revealed to Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com and other reporters Thursday. The Giants’ game against the Lions on Monday will mark exactly four weeks since Beckham suffered the injury, notes Raanan, meaning Big Blue might not see him at his best until the end of this month or sometime in October.

  • Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman has missed two straight practices with a hamstring issue, perhaps jeopardizing his chances of playing against San Francisco on Sunday. Watching the game in street clothes would be a first for Sherman, a seventh-year man who has played in 97 straight contests since the Seahawks added him as a fifth-round pick in 2011. Defensive coordinator Kris Richard suggested Thursday that Sherman’s streak will continue, telling reporters (via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times) that he’s “not even considering” going without the corner because “it’s never happened here.”
  • Like Sherman, Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr has missed back-to-back practices with a hamstring injury. He’s now at risk of sitting out a game this week for the first time since December 2015, per The Associated Press. Barr played all 62 of the Vikings’ defensive snaps in their win over New Orleans on Monday. With or without the two-time Pro Bowler, the Vikings will face a difficult road test in Pittsburgh on Sunday.
  • Bears linebacker Jerrell Freeman announced on Instagram on Thursday that he suffered a torn pectoral on the first play of their loss to the Falcons in Week 1, Adam Jahns of the Chicago Tribune relays (on Twitter). Remarkably, Freeman still played roughly 95 percent of the Bears’ defensive snaps and racked up 10 tackles in their 23-17 defeat. The Bears placed Freeman on injured reserve this week and will go without him until at least November.

Extra Points: Beckham, Stafford, Garrett

Last week, the NFL trade marketplace exploded. Thirty deals occurred since August 1, more than twice the average of the previous five years. Several anonymous execs attempted to explain (via Mike Sando of ESPN.com) theories behind the uptick. Tanking made its way into the conversation, with an executive citing the Jets, Bills and Browns’ recent moves as examples.

Every owner wants to win,” the exec said, via Sando, “but the real question is: Would you rather go 8-8 or 5-11 plus $30 million? If you are the Jets and you traded Sheldon (Richardson) and got rid of (Eric) Decker, isn’t the owner saying he’d rather go 2-14 and save $40 million than go 6-10? If you are the Bills with Watkins or the Browns with Joe Haden, is it the same thing?

A separate exec said teams are more willing to part with draft picks due to the current CBA’s practice-time limitations making it more difficult to develop players. The elimination of the 75-man cut date, age of certain GMs and GMs authorizing better, easier to trade contracts came up in Sando’s piece.

As the second half of opening night gets underway, here’s the latest from around the league as 28 other teams prepare for their openers.

  • Odell Beckham Jr. faces an uphill battle to play Sunday night, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (video link) the Giants superstar wideout suiting up against the Cowboys will leave him at far less than 100 percent. Rapoport added “a lot of things have to align perfectly” for the fourth-year player to play in Week 1. Beckham suffered a high ankle sprain in Cleveland just more than two weeks ago. Beckham caught a career-high 100 passes last season and played in all 16 New York games for the first time.
  • Matthew Stafford‘s NFL-record contract does not contain offset language, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes. While Stafford’s five-year Lions extension profiles as a three- or four-year pact due to the structure of the guarantees, the quarterback who is not exactly regarded as a top-tier passer stands to play on this deal into his mid-30s. The Lions would not see another team — in the event Stafford is cut — offset any of the guaranteed money owed to Stafford in the event the sides part ways over the course of this deal. Stafford’s deal will come with cap hits of $16.5MM this season, $26.5MM (2018), $29.5MM (’19), $31.5MM (’20), $30MM (’21) and $23MM (’22).
  • Over the past year, Browns No. 1 pick Myles Garrett has dealt with two ankle injuries and a foot problem. Hue Jackson, though, will not label his top defensive end as injury-prone just yet. “No concern (of Garrett’s injury issues) because I know exactly how it happened,” said Jackson, via Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. “If you get somebody thrown into your leg, it could happen to any one of our guys. If you guys would have seen it, it could happen to anybody on our football team. It is just unfortunate it happened to a guy who we wish was out there all of the time. That goes with it.” Cabot added Garrett is expected to be out multiple weeks as a result of the high ankle sprain — Garrett’s second in a year — sustained at practice Wednesday.

OBJ Could Miss Regular-Season Time

We already know the Cowboys-Giants Week 1 tilt will probably be without Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott, who’s likely to serve a six-game suspension to open the season. New York might not have its go-to playmaker, either, as wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. “could miss a week or two of the regular season,” a source told Jordan Raanan and Dan Graziano of ESPN.com. Beckham sprained his ankle in a preseason game against Cleveland on Monday, though the hit to the left leg he took from Browns cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun could have resulted in a far more serious injury.

Odell Beckham Jr.

After their NFC East showdown with the defending division champion Cowboys, the Giants take on another 2016 playoff team, the Lions, in Week 2. Those are the first of two difficult-looking games in a slate that also includes what look to be tough matchups with the Eagles, Buccaneers, Chargers, Broncos and Seahawks before the Giants’ Week 8 bye. Going without Beckham for any of those first-half contests would be a notable blow, then, though the playoff hopefuls did add to their aerial weaponry in the offseason by signing receiver Brandon Marshall and using a first-round pick on tight end Evan Engram. They also have wideout Sterling Shepard, who hauled in 65 receptions and eight touchdowns as a rookie in 2016.

Beckham, who wants to be the highest-paid player in the NFL someday, has not yet had extension negotiations with the Giants. The club has little incentive to give Beckham a raise, despite his phenomenal output over the first three years of his career, as he’s controllable at affordable prices for the next two seasons and could be a candidate for the franchise tag past that point. But, having come close to suffering a catastrophic injury, the 24-year-old is considering purchasing an insurance policy worth in excess of $100MM.

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Odell Beckham Jr. May Get Injury Insurance

A contract extension would give Odell Beckham Jr. some security against an injury scare like the one he got during Monday night’s preseason game against the Browns. While he works to hash things out with the Giants, Beckham is looking to give himself some additional comfort or, at least, drum up some leverage. The wide receiver is thinking about purchasing a massive insurance policy, possibly one in excess of $100MM in injury protection, sources tell Charles Robinson of Yahoo SportsOdell Beckham Jr. (vertical)

[If a deal isn’t done] by the regular season, he’ll take steps to protect himself. [But] a new deal is preferable to adding insurance,” one source told Robinson.

A one-year $100MM+ policy would cost Beckham upwards of $600K, Robinson hears. ODB is still on his rookie deal, but he can afford the expense as he is slated to earn $3.3MM in 2017. To date, he has already earned roughly $7MM in NFL salary, not counting his lucrative endorsement deals. The $100MM sum is not coincidental as Beckham has been pushing for a contract that would put him near the $100MM mark.

In 2016, Beckham earned his third consecutive Pro Bowl nod with 101 receptions for 1,367 yards and ten touchdowns.

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Giants Haven’t Discussed Extension For OBJ

The Giants haven’t had any recent talks regarding extensions for key players such as wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., guard Justin Pugh, center Weston Richburg, or linebackers Jonathan Casillas and Devon Kennard, according to Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com.Odell Beckham Jr.

New York reportedly isn’t prioritizing a new deal for Beckham, and that’s likely because the star wideout is under team control for at least more seasons. Thanks to the fifth-year option, the Giants have Beckham signed through 2018 at a cost south of $11MM. In 2019, Big Blue could opt to utilize the franchise tag to retain Beckham for one more year, although that tender would come with a price tag exceeding $18MM. Beckham recently indicated his desire to become the NFL’s highest-paid player, but that’s not a realistic goal in today’s quarterback-driven league.

Pugh and Richburg, however, are entering the final years of their respective rookie contracts, which makes their situations all the more pressing. The franchise tag isn’t a practical option, as the offensive line tender’s price is enhanced by tackles, meaning it’s unsuitable for interior lineman. As James Kratch of NJ.com reported last month, the Giants aren’t expected to reach an extension with Pugh, who seems intent on hitting the open market. A new pact for Pugh would need to include at least $25MM in guarantees for Pugh to take the offer “seriously,” per Raanan.

At linebacker, Kennard isn’t a full-time player, as he saw action on roughly 40% of the Giants’ snaps. As a ‘backer who comes off the field on third downs, Kennard isn’t on track for a hefty pact. Casillas is an every-down player, but he’s entering his age-30 campaign and didn’t earn positive grades from Pro Football Focus a year ago. Still, he’s a stabilizing force on New York’s defense, and Rannan suggests there are reasons for Big Blue to “extend its relationship” with Casillas.

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NFC Notes: OBJ, Elliott, Seahawks, Bears

We learned earlier this week that the Giants weren’t prioritizing a contract extension with star wideout Odell Beckham Jr., and that could be because the Pro Bowler is seeking a record-breaking deal. The 24-year-old said on Thursday that he was aiming to become the league’s highest-paid receiver, and he elaborated on those remarks on Friday.

“That’s what you want to do, you want to change the game,’’ Beckham told Paul Schwartz of The New York Post. “This is not just for Odell Beckham, this is for everybody in the league, people who deserve it.

“You sit there and you watch the NBA, it’s crazy. Being realistic, it’s crazy what they’re getting. And there’s people in the NFL who deserve that, I want to do, if I can, be on the forefront for it and help push the league, the game that way, because I feel like the fans deserve it, I feel like we go through a lot, we put ourselves through a lot. They just deserve it. It’s not for me.’’

As our own Connor Byrne noted earlier this week, the top-paid honor usually belongs to quarterbacks, with Raiders signal-caller Derek Carr currently holding the distinction. Steelers wideout Antonio Brown‘s $17MM annual salary is the highest value at his position. Beckham is set to play the upcoming season on a $1.8MM salary, although the organization did pick up his $8.5MM fifth-year option for 2018.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFC…

  • Although Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said an NFL decision on running back Ezekiel Elliott could be handed down “imminently,” no announcement is expected today nor this weekend, tweets Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. The league is reportedly wrapping up its investigation into domestic violence allegations against Elliott, and while Jones claimed his own review of the evidence indicated Elliott had done nothing wrong, a short suspension is still expected. If Elliott is banned, Dallas will turn to a cadre of Darren McFaddenAlfred Morris, and the newly-signed Ronnie Hillman in the backfield.
  • Former offensive lineman Lemuel Jeanpierre will be joining the Seahawks coaching staff as an offensive assistant, according to Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com. The 2011 undrafted free agent out of South Carolina spent six seasons in Seattle, appearing in 63 games (11 starts). The 30-year-old also appeared in nine postseason games, and he earned a ring after the Seahawks won Super Bowl XLVIII.
  • The Bears have promoted former Pro Scouting Direction Champ Kelly to Assistant Director of Player Personnel, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune (via Twitter). According to the reporter, the Dolphins tried to “lure away” Kelly this past offseason, but Chicago clearly had bigger plans for the executive. The former United Indoor Football general manager has been with the Bears organization since 2015, and he previously spent time as the Broncos’ Assistant Director of Pro Personnel.
  • Biggs passes along (on Twitter) that the Bears have also promoted several other members of their scouting team. Chris White is now one of the team’s pro scouts, while Scott Hamel and Brendan Rehor have been promoted to area scout and combine scout, respectively.

Dallas Robinson contributed to this post.

NFC East Notes: OBJ, Cowboys, Redskins

The Giants aren’t prioritizing a new contract for wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who’s under control at eminently affordable prices through next season. If they do attempt to lock up Beckham down the line, it doesn’t seem that it’s going to be an easy negotiation. Beckham told uninterrupted.com on Thursday that he’s aiming to eventually become the NFL’s highest-paid player (via Paul Schwartz of the New York Post). “It’s like the elephant in the room and you don’t want to talk about it,’’ said Beckham. “I’ve gotten to a point in my life where I’m like, there’s no need to not talk about it. I believe that I will be, hopefully not just the highest-paid receiver in the league, but the highest paid, period.”

As great as Beckham has been during his three-year career, the top-paid honor tends to belong to a quarterback. That’s the case right now, with the Raiders’ Derek Carr‘s just-signed deal (five years, $125MM-plus) atop the heap on an annual basis. The Steelers’ Antonio Brown leads all receivers in yearly pay ($17MM per on a four-year, $68MM accord), but he lags far behind Carr. And it might be awhile before the 24-year-old Beckham is even able to challenge Brown and the league’s other richest wideouts, given that the Giants will have the option of placing the franchise tag on him for tolerable costs in both 2019 and ’20 if he’s unsigned. In the meantime, Beckham’s set to play this year for $1.8MM – a pittance relative to his production – and the Giants picked up his $8.5MM fifth-year option for 2018.

More on New York and two of its NFC East rivals:

  • The Cowboys’ signing of running back Ronnie Hillman on Thursday has nothing to do with a potential suspension for Ezekiel Elliott, reports David Moore of the Dallas Morning News. Rather, the Cowboys added Hillman as both a possible Lance Dunbar replacement and someone capable of accruing touches during the summer and taking some of the stress off the team’s other backs in the coming weeks. As for Elliott, who was bracing for a suspension two weeks ago, the NFL probably won’t announce his fate until later in the preseason, per Moore.
  • Redskins outside linebacker Trent Murphy underwent offseason surgery to repair a broken bone in his foot, according to JP Finlay of CSN Mid-Atlantic. Murphy is now healed, but he still won’t factor into the Redskins’ early season plans as a result of the four-game performance-enhancing drugs suspension the NFL handed him in April. When he returns in Week 6 (the Redskins have a Week 5 bye), the nine-sack man from 2016 will look to continue that strong production in a contract year.
  • Giants coach Ben McAdoo told reporters on Thursday that defensive end Owa Odighizuwa has reported to camp (Twitter link via Schwartz). Odighizuwa stayed away from the Giants during the offseason on account of personal issues.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Giants Not Prioritizing Odell Beckham Deal

Amid questions over whether the Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr. would stage a holdout this summer, co-owner John Mara said earlier this month that he wants the wide receiver to spend his entire career with Big Blue. Beckham went on to downplay concerns over his current situation – he could play the next two seasons for a relative pittance – and Mara addressed the three-time Pro Bowler’s status again Thursday (via Neil Best of Newsday).

Odell Beckam Jr.

On whether the Giants will hand Beckham an extension this summer, Mara told Mike Francesa of WFAN: “There’s always a chance, but it’s not our No. 1 priority right now. But we do want to get it done. We have some time to get it done. But I can’t give you a timetable on that.”

Mara also explained why he wants Beckham to be a lifelong Giant, saying: “Well, he’s one of the best players in the league, and he makes us a different team when he’s on the field. He puts a lump in the throat of the opposing defense. He’s only 24 years old. And I think he can help us win a championship.”

Having amassed eye-popping numbers (235 receptions and 35 touchdowns) so far in his career, the three-year veteran could be on his way to eventually signing a record-setting contract for a receiver. But the Giants don’t have much financial incentive to lock up Beckham now, as the 2014 first-round pick from LSU is due a paltry $1.8MM this season and will be controllable in 2018 via his fifth-year option for a reasonable $8.5MM. Beckham’s situation becomes cloudier thereafter, but it seems likely the Giants will franchise tag him for an affordable $18MM-plus in 2019 if he remains a star and the two sides don’t have a long-term deal in place by then. The relationship between them is seemingly on solid ground, though, with Mara revealing that he sat down with Beckham for “a very pleasant meeting” in May.

“He’s a smart young man and he wants to be the best,” Mara said of Beckham. “He wants to win a Super Bowl. I wish we had a dozen more like him.”

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