Despite making the first playoff appearance of his career, the hot takes surrounding Odell Beckham Jr. have been heating up.
Odell Beckham Jr. is nothing short of one of the National Football League’s top superstars.
The talented young receiver out of LSU is the fastest player ever to reach 3,000 career receiving yards, one of only two New York Giants players to top 100 catches in a single season and is the only player in NFL history to reach 200 catches in 30 games or less.
Yet, there are still those who think the franchise might be better off without Beckham as a part of it.
The key points in the reasoning to move on from Beckham:
- A distraction to the team
- Will cost too much money to retain once he’s off his rookie deal
- All of the above
With the end of his rookie contract coming at the conclusion of the 2017 season, the hot takes surrounding Beckham’s future with the team are growing.
“[General manager] Jerry Reese and the Giants’ brass let OBJ have his way for far too long,” wrote John Fennelly of New York Sports Day. “His behavior has become embarrassing and there are no signs that he will change.”
Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead summed up the anti-Beckham argument perfectly by posing the question in one of his articles, “I can’t imagine the Giants extending Beckham this summer; it’s a long offseason, who knows what shenanigans Beckham will get into?”
McIntyre’s definition of shenanigans here seems questionable at best. Has Beckham been arrested? Has he been caught for steroid or drug use? Has he publicly called out any of his teammates or coaches?
All of these characteristics could be considered “shenanigans” or “embarrassing behavior,” but none of it is applicable to Beckham. He only draws this criticism because there are times when he lets his emotions get the best of him on the field or following games.
Beckham’s altercation with then-Carolina Panthers’ cornerback Josh Norman back in 2015 was the prime example of this. During the game, the pair were involved in several scuffles after the whistle with tensions coming to a head when Beckham laid an illegal hit on Norman that would ultimately earn him a one-game suspension from the league.
Subsequent incidents have included allegedly punching a hole in the wall at the Green Bay Packers facility following a playoff loss, punching a kicking net on the sideline after a turnover, and retaliating after a late hit which led to a fight with St. Louis Rams linebacker Alec Ogletree.
These incidents, though at times harmful to the Giants, are not worth dumping the megastar over.
Beckham is on pace to be in the conversation for the greatest receiver to ever play the game when it is all said and done. These outbursts seem to reflect more the passion with which Beckham plays the game of football. Despite playing for losing teams during two of the three years he’s been in the league, Beckham’s on-field intensity and hard-nosed playing style have never once wavered. His emotions can obviously get the best of him, but every organization in the league would rather a player that cares too much than vice versa.
As far as Beckham’s off the field activities go, he’s done absolutely nothing outside of the rules of the NFL nor those of the Giants. Many criticize Beckham for flying to Miami with the rest of the Giants wide receivers to spend the day clubbing and hanging out on a boat with musical artists Trey Songz and Justin Bieber.
Although the trip occurred on the week before New York was set to face the Packers for their first playoff game since 2011 and the first postseason contest of Beckham’s career, it also happened on an off day. Beckham made himself the target for backlash by being so public about it on social media and his poor performance in the eventual lose to Green Bay (four catches for 28 yards on 12 targets) didn’t help matters.
However, the bottom line is Odell Beckham Jr. is also a person who had some fun on his day off like everyone else. Fans and some members of the media may want to only see the football player, but the reality is what he did was not technically wrong. In a job as physically demanding as the NFL, it’s hard to blame a guy for blowing off a little steam.
Though an offense that is extremely reliant on Beckham making all the big plays has yet to take the Giants further than a single playoff game, that is much more than can be said for a lot of teams desperate for any postseason action. Giants’ management trotted out an offense with no clear starting running back, an offensive line with more than a few clear holes and a rookie number two receiver with a number three pass catcher who hadn’t played an NFL game in nearly two seasons.
The fact that Beckham carried the offense as far as he did should be impressive, not looked upon as the reason the Giants could not advance any farther. Add a serviceable veteran receiver and with the development of Sterling Shepard in his sophomore season, it’ll be even more evident just how valuable Beckham can be. If the Giants make the wise decision to extend Beckham’s contract he’ll be worth every penny of the mega-deal he’s sure to command.
One player can’t carry an offense to win consistently. Adding pieces and building around Beckham should be the solution not trading him.
He does more good than harm for the franchise and it is hard to make a reasonable argument otherwise. Beckham has his issues, but they’re nowhere near the level of the criminal or just plain stupid which we’ve seen from other players around the league.