Odell Beckham, Jr. is in the building for the New York Giants for their first official day of work under new head coach Pat Shurmur, but I wouldn't get too carried away about it. Beckham, coming off a season-ending injury, was always going to check in with the doctors and report.
I wouldn't take that as a portal into his overall feelings about the Giants or read too much into it. And it certainly is not an indicator that he will be sticking around weekly for workouts and then OTA practices and the like. Based on everything I've gathered to this point, Monday's appearance had a far greater chance of being a one-and-done than anything else.
The bottom line remains Beckham's contract, which he has out-produced his entire NFL career. And the fact he is stuck on a fifth-year option that also allowed for no contract negotiation. And the fact that a legion of lesser receivers have already been paid far beyond their production recently, especially in the opening days of free agency. And the fact that the Giants publicly opined about trading him and have held trade conversations with other teams about him.
So that's where this thing stands, and showing up for a few hours in early April isn't going to change much in and of itself. Good to make an appearance and have a few conversations. Nice gesture. But this is a business and unless Monday's cameo is a springboard for serious contract talks, then don't count on seeing much of the All-Pro receiver this spring or summer. There has been little to no dialogue about a new deal for Beckham to this point and John Mara's comments at the owner's meetings didn't exactly ring like a harbinger of a $20M-a-year deal.
Maybe they'll eventually get there, and maybe they won't. But nothing is close to being resolved and there is still plenty for both sides to sort through. In the meantime, teams will continue to mull trade options for Beckham and the Giants must determine if he is their most vital franchise cornerstone – who would be compensated accordingly – otherwise, a trade before the draft is the only scenario that makes sense.
Beckham stopping by the facility Monday won't change the fact that he won't be playing a full season for that $8.5M fifth-year option, which would mean even greater distractions and headaches and consternation for Giants ownership and management down the road – well after the first day of lifting weights together in April is long forgotten.
Raiders looking to trade No. 10 pick?
I've heard from several teams that the Raiders could be the team to watch regarding upcoming draft trades. While the 10th overall pick isn't exceedingly valuable in and of itself, given the way this first round is shaping up for quarterbacks it could be a necessary intermediate stop for a team like the Patriots that is trying to get from No. 23 into the top 10 for a passer.
Getting to 10 does accomplish a few things, like allowing a quarterback-needy team to leapfrog ahead of Buffalo and Arizona and Miami and Baltimore (although I can't see the Bills staying at 12 once this thing actually begins). The two quarterbacks I've heard the most about in connection to the Pats are Baker Mayfield and Mason Rudolph, and while top 10 seems quite high for Rudolph, you can't rule anything out when it comes to this position and the draft. Between Rudolph and Lamar Jackson, I remain convinced at least one of them is going in the top 15 picks, and possibly both of them. "I bet they're both gone in the top 20 picks," a top exec for an AFC club told me Monday morning.
So when you couple that with the Raiders' recent shedding of veterans all over their roster and their considerable needs (particularly on defense), adding young, cheap draft picks makes sense, and the cream of this draft crop will be gone by 10 in all likelihood. But it could be a sweet spot to land the fifth QB off the board, which would be ideal for Jon Gruden in his first draft back at the helm of an NFL team.
- I continue to hear the Browns are deciding between Josh Allen or Sam Darnold with the top pick. Everyone I speak to is convinced they are taking a quarterback there, it's just a matter of which one. If the Giants take a quarterback second overall – which is hardly a sure thing – other teams I spoke to believe Josh Rosen would merit serious consideration there. The Jets at three could be deciding between Allen or Mayfield, and I wouldn't rule the Heisman Trophy winner out at that spot.
- If the Panthers are going to finalize a sale at the owner's meeting next month, then they'll need to settle on a winning bid within the next few weeks. I continue to hear the league is staying in close contact with Steelers minority owner David Tepper, who appears to be favored by all parties but who does not appear to have the winning bid on the table just yet. As I've long chronicled, Tepper is very patient and committed to not over-spending, sticking to his evaluation of what the franchise is worth. But if he were to come up to say, $2.2B, and dig into his pocket for a few hundred million more (like in his couch cushions or whatever), league sources believe it's his. He is clearly the preferred bidder given his extreme liquidity and ability to execute this transaction quickly and easily on his own, without any partners or consortiums or whatever. He's a known quantity already inside the NFL's velvet ropes, and whether he stays put or ups the ante a little, it's become clear that he'll have a significant impact on whichever direction this sale goes.