The New York Giants began Phase Three of their offseason workout program this week without the presence of their superstar WR Odell Beckham, Jr.
New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. is a special player. That goes without saying. But is he so special that he can simply skip the club’s Organized Team Activities? The sessions are voluntary, but that is always said with a wink and a nod. Teams expect their players to attend, especially their stars.
The Giants probably want him in the building, but can’t force him to show under the CBA. Instead, he was off signing the biggest shoe deal in NFL history and working out with Johnny Manziel, of all people.
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That aside, everyone else is here. So, what does that say about Beckham, who last time we saw, was dropping passes in his first taste of postseason play? He’s not putting the team first, that is for sure. He’s too busy cashing in on his celebrity.
The fact is, the Giants haven’t lost control of Beckham because they really never had any to lose. It was never established. Former head coach Tom Coughlin allowed Beckham to do basically whatever he wanted. He chose not to bench the young star during his infamous tirade/meltdown in 2015 against the Carolina Panthers and from there Beckham has continued to dance to his own beat ever since.
The Giants are pretending that this isn’t a problem, but how can it not be? Head coach Ben McAdoo simply sloughs the subject off whenever he is asked. Teammates pretend they don’t really care but again, how can they not? How can they truly be a team if 52 players have to walk the walk while one is allowed to freelance?
In the NFL, like any other business, rides their stars and Beckham is one them. He is marketable, which has been confirmed by his latest shoe deal, but he won’t remain marketable if he doesn’t help his team win. And that has to start now. The Giants are in “win now” mode and they counting on Beckham to play an integral part.
Or are they? Is it possible that they believe Beckham is a lost cause? Or do they think they can salvage him? The Giants recently exercised their fifth-year option on Beckham, which will keep him in Blue for at least this season and next. But after that, they can let him walk if and the preparations for that could already be in place.
We saw them sign veteran WR Brandon Marshall this past offseason and then select TE Evan Engram, a bigger version of Beckham in the NFL Draft. That is on top of taking Sterling Shepard in last year’s draft and adding Roger Lewis, Tavarres King and Darius Powe. They also have been collecting young wideouts in free agency such as FSU’s Travis Frederick, Keeon Johnson of Virginia and the fastest man in college football, Kevin Snead of Carson-Newman.
Now, none of these players are in Beckham’s stratosphere, but how many are? The truth is, it doesn’t matter. Teams with superstars that create these “52-and-1” scenarios don’t go very far. We’ve seen the Giants win without Jeremy Shockey and the Patriots without Rob Gronkowski. Yes, both players were missed but their teams found ways to win without them.
The Giants would prefer they win with Beckham, however. But how much more of his selfishness are the Giants and their fans going to take in the meantime? How many ill-timed boat excursions, tirades, shoe deals, missed practices and dropped passes can we endure?