From the moment he entered the league, Odell Beckham Jr. has been one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. He topped 90 catches, 1,300 yards, and 10 touchdowns in each of his first three NFL seasons. Not only had zero other players in NFL history ever started their career with three straight 90-1300-10 seasons, doing so already gave Beckham the third-most 90-1300-10 seasons of all time.
Beckham's 288 catches through three years tied him with former college teammate Jarvis Landry for the most ever. His 4,122 receiving yards ranked just behind Randy Moss for the second-most in NFL history, and his 35 receiving touchdowns ranked fifth. Beckham suffered a season-ending injury just a few games into his fourth season, but as he heads into the fifth-year option on his rookie deal in 2018, it's clear that he is one of the top players at his position right now.
And he wants to be paid accordingly. Here's a report from NFL Network at this week's NFL combine.
Here's the pertinent exchange:
Mike Garofolo: "I know that Odell Beckham has told some people that he wants some really significant numbers. Antonio Brown is at the top of the wide receiver market..."
Andrew Siciliano: "Does he want quarterback money, is the question."
MG: "It's not gonna be top quarterback money because top quarterback money is going through the roof. You can almost hear it."
AS: "Case Keenum money?"
MG: "Case Keenum money."
AS: "Mike Glennon just got 18.5..."
MG: "Oh, he's above that. He's in the 20s, from what he has told people close to him, he wants to be in the low 20s. That's the number."
AS: "Will the Giants meet him there?"
MG: "I don't see any way they can or would. That's a huge jump from the top of the wide receiver market."
Uh, yeah. That would be a huge jump. Antonio Brown currently has the highest average annual value on his contract of any receiver in the league, and he draws "only'' $17 million per year on his deal. Even getting to $20 million per year would represent a 17 percent bump over the top of the market, which is enormous compared to the way NFL contracts typically work.
The Giants only have $25.6 million in cap space this offseason. Extending Beckham could actually help them raise that number because they can lower his base salary and push some of the signing bonus money to future seasons, but the idea that they're going to blow the roof off the wide receiver market when no other team has done so for their top wideout seems somewhat unlikely.
Beckham has already stated his intention to play zero snaps during the 2018 preseason. It was initially assumed that intent stemmed from a desire to avoid injury again, but maybe it's because he expects to not have a suitable contract by that time.