With Nike paying him more than the New York Giants, should Odell Beckham Jr. participate in any offseason practices before signing a new deal?
Odell Beckham Jr. has officially solidified himself as one of the most polarizing players in the NFL. His play on the field, although stellar, has been marred by his immaturity on the sidelines and in his personal life.
On a seemingly weekly basis, Beckham has followed up amazing overhead, one-handed touchdown catches with a never ending cycle of boneheaded decisions.
His list of questionable decisions includes getting into an ongoing feud with Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman, taking out his frustrations on the kicker’s practice net, and an impromptu yacht trip to Miami a week before his first ever playoff game.
It didn’t help that a week after the infamous yacht party, Beckham put up one of his worst statistical performances in the most important game of his career. Bringing in only four catches for 28 yards and zero touchdowns in a 13-38 playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers. His failure to perform provided unlimited ammunition to all those who have been and continue to be critical of the standout receiver.
Expectedly, Beckham was crucified for his decision and since then has faced an unrelenting level of scrutiny. Therefore, when Beckham missed the first voluntary Organized Team Activity (OTA), it was no surprise that the media pounced on the opportunity to condemn his actions once again.
However, this last attempt to defame and discredit arguably the best wide receiver in the game because of his absence at the Giants voluntary workouts this spring is overblown and fails to acknowledge two key aspects of life in the NFL.
One, Money in the NFL is Never Guaranteed and Two, it’s called ‘Voluntary’ OTAs
Odell Beckham Jr. is scheduled to make 1.8 million dollars this season, a base salary that makes him one of the lowest-paid wide receiver in the NFL. There are currently forty-four wide receivers in the NFL that will make more than Beckham this season. The list includes the likes of Jeremy Kerley, Cole Beasley and new Giants WR Brandon Marshall, all of whom are far less talented and are nowhere near as valuable to their teams as Beckham.
Since entering the league, Beckham has 4,122 receiving yards, 288 receptions and 35 touchdowns. These are career stats that put him on track to compete with Jerry Rice as the best wide receiver of all-time. He has proven that he has the ability to be an all-time great wide receiver. So should this future hall of fame player put his health and future earning potential in jeopardy over a voluntary practice?
It’s no secret that NFL contracts provide less security than any of the other major professional sports leagues in the United States. Players can be cut for any number of reasons, including injury. During the offseason, hundreds of players go to work every day with the uncertainty of their place on an NFL roster.
Front offices are known to be as frugal as they come, looking for any reason to shave money off the books at the expense of player contracts, under the disguise of doing what’s best for the team. With so many employees looking out for what’s best for the team, it is the responsibility of players to look out for themselves.
So when it comes to a voluntary workout, how can we crucify a player for choosing to exercise his rights as bestowed onto him by the collective bargaining agreement? Players, even those as critical to the team as Beckham, must do what’s best for their career. In a contract year, Beckham must think about his future earning potential and force the Giants to step up and pay him, just as Nike did.
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Nike provided Beckham with the largest endorsement deal for an NFL player ever, $26 million over five years. This means at his current salary, Odell Beckham Jr. will be making more money from Nike than the Giants. Something sounds fundamentally wrong with that statement.
If Odell means so much to the Giants future, why are they not treating him like it? And if they are not treating him like it, should he even show up for voluntary OTAs?
What’s not up for debate is that throughout this saga, Odell has continued to be Odell. Despite all the media attention, he is unapologetically himself. Attending concerts, partying with celebrities and training harder than ever.
According to Odell’s personal trainer, Hall of Fame wide receiver Chris Carter, OBJ is in the best shape of his career and he has no reason to attend OTAs.
So where was Beckham when he missed the Giants’ voluntary practice? No, not partying in Miami, he was training with Chris Carter.
That’s not a bad way to spend your day off after all.