Odell Beckham trade rumors: Buzz builds about Giants dealing WR, why Patriots or Packers make sense

The NFL offseason has changed in the last few years. Not even in the sense of becoming year round: it's been like that for a while. But now, with the salary cap exploding and teams exploiting low-cost rookie contracts, there has been a surge of big-name trades. Five years ago, there's no way Joe Flacco and his $20 million per year deal are dealt. The Steelers aren't even thinking about dealing with a $21 million dead cap hit for Antonio Brown to play somewhere else.

And there aren't rumors about Odell Beckham being traded less than a year removed from signing a mammoth extension. But those rumors are out there, they are real and they are spectacular. 

This chatter started with Jay Glazer of The Athletic predicting in a mailbag ($) that we could see OBJ traded by the Giants this offseason. Glazer, who is extremely plugged in, was not reporting OBJ would get traded. He was simply predicting it. There's a big difference. But Glazer isn't predicting that because it's bold and might generate page views. He's predicting it because he's heard enough buzz about what the Giants might want to do or perhaps what Odell might want the Giants to do. 

"I predict Odell Beckham Jr. gets traded this off-season," Glazer responded when asked for a bold offseason prediction. "I think that's bold enough."

Here was OBJ's response (we think).

It sure is! Can this actually happen? The short answer is "yes," but it's obviously more complicated than that. Let's dive into the issues. To sort through it, Sean Wagner-McGough and I jumped on the Pick Six Podcast (our daily NFL pod, dropped in your inbox first thing every morning, go ahead and subscribe right here or listen below) and hashed some of the questions involving an OBJ trade.

Let's dive into the issues below. 

The Giants' frame of mind

Following up on Glazer's note, Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com pointed out that the Giants may have "come to grips" with the reality of their situation, that they're not just retooling on the fly with Eli Manning and hoping to contend again right away. If that's the case, Beckham could be perceived as more of an asset than a talent on the field. Yes he's good, but will the Giants be good enough to get the most out of him over the course of his contract? 

If the the answer is no and the Giants think it may be two to three years before they're a perennial contender again, it would make all the sense in the world to deal Beckham and stockpile assets and build around, uh, Saquon Barkley. (Now is not the time to get into whether building around a running back is smart football -- Saquon is great, so let's just move on.) Trading Beckham before June 1 would mean a $16 million cap hit, but that's not too terrible considering the haul they'd get in return. If they trade him after June 1, it would be $4 million in dead cap space this year and $12 million next year. 

This is also not a great time to be needing a top flight wide receiver. This draft class has some good ones, for sure, but no one is a slam dunk, out-of-the-box stud. You're not getting Odell Beckham in this draft more than likely. 

Who would you rather have: Brown or Beckham?

Sean and I talked about this on the podcast -- again, subscribe here and listen above! -- but Beckham is a no-brainer pick over Brown. You can't possibly think Brown is a better trade option than Beckham. I'm just putting it out there. If you disagree, yell at me on Twitter @WillBrinson

Beckham's contract

This might be the biggest problem for New York. Beckham's deal does not pay him some exorbitant amount of money. He has a $21 million cap hit next year, and then it goes down from there. This is one of the five best wideouts in the NFL when he's healthy; anyone trading for Beckham would be acquiring a legitimate Hall of Fame talent in the middle of his prime. Getting Beckham would instantly juice up anyone's offense. 

Most teams out there could easily handle the contractual issues that come with a trade -- Beckham has a cap hit of $19 million in 2020, 2021 and 2022 before having a $15 million cap hit in 2023. He is easily cuttable in any of the last three years of his deal. The more you look at it, the more this deal is pretty friendly for the team. Beckham got paid but he didn't put the Giants in a bad spot or anything.

It's a top-of-the-market deal, but it isn't that prohibitive. Julio Jones might beat it on his next deal. Maybe Amari Cooper. Maybe it's still the top wideout contract. It still doesn't feel that bad for a player of Beckham's caliber at his age in the modern NFL. Someone should trade for this contract. I want to trade for this contract.

What do I need to send the Giants? 

What would it cost?

Good question, me. The Steelers have made it known they want a first-round pick for Brown. We have made it known and obvious that Beckham is better than Brown. You can argue semantics about who is a better receiver right now, but Beckham is a substantially better asset. He'll be 26 this season and has the aforementioned contract that he just signed so you don't have to worry about working out a deal, and you have five years of team control over him with the salary cap likely continuing to spike. I don't think the Giants would give him up for less than two first-round picks or possibly a first-round pick and a high second-round in this draft.

Beckham is a stud. The Giants aren't actively trying to move him. But he might get moved because they know they aren't winning and they know he won't be a blast to have around if that is happening. 

Who could land him?

Two teams stand out in a big way because of their draft choices: the Patriots and the Packers. Obviously you can rule out anyone in the NFC East -- the Giants aren't playing Beckham twice a year for the next half decade, that's just asking to give up 400 yards per year to him -- and I think ideally in any sort of deal they could move him to the AFC, but those concerns are largely overblown.

The Packers make immediate sense because they have two first-round picks in this draft. Do they need defensive help more than offensive help? You bet. But do you think anyone is going to stop an offense that involves Aaron Rodgers, Odell Beckham and Davante Adams? Nope. With a half decent defense and a half decent offensive line, that is a top-five team in scoring with even me coaching them. If Matt LaFleur is any good at his job (and we have to assume he is), the Packers would be a terror at all times. Jimmy Graham would be standing in the end zone wide open, waving his arms and screaming on every single play. 

The Patriots make sense because Beckham perfectly fits their window with Tom Brady, and their top two receivers right now are Julian Edelman and Braxton Berrios. New England also has -- assuming they net two third-round compensatory picks as is expected this year -- a ridiculous six picks in the top 100. The Patriots wouldn't be set if they dealt a first and a second or a first and two seconds to the Giants in terms of future assets, but if New York was willing to deal Beckham and he could fit in the culture, the Patriots have the need and the assets to make it work. 

All of this is kind of a longshot. But it's the new NFL, where stars can be dealt. And if everything aligns, it's entirely possible we see Odell Beckham suiting up for someone else next year. 

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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