Giants co-owner John Mara met with the media Monday at the NFL’s annual owners meetings, currently taking place in Arizona. While there are a bevy of discussions to be had — the team’s recent signings, the eventual draft plans, etc. — Mara fielded a question about a player not even on the roster: wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
Beckham is a free agent after sitting out all of last season with an ACL tear suffered in the Rams’ Super Bowl 56 victory. Would the Giants welcome him back just four years after trading him to the Browns in March 2019?
Mara hints it’s a possibility.
John Mara says Giants haven’t closed the door on Odell Beckham Jr. Says he’s in favor of signing him back if Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll can make it work
— Pat Leonard (@PLeonardNYDN) March 27, 2023
Perceive this as you will, but it sounds like smoke and mirrors. The door should be closed on a Giants-Beckham reunion for a number of reasons.
Team’s WR plan. General manager Joe Schoen doesn’t seem to be eyeing a clearcut No. 1 wide receiver to fix the Giants’ glaring issues at the position. And he shouldn’t, given the team’s limited cap space and alternative needs on the roster.
Instead, Schoen is acquiring bodies to round out the unit. He’s trying to construct a versatile wide receiver room for head coach Brian Daboll’s offense. Hence, why he hasn’t made the splash signing and has made more pedestrian moves, such as retaining Isaiah Hodgins, Sterling Shepard, and Darius Slayton while signing Jamison Crowder, Jeff Smith, and Parris Campbell to cheap deals. Trading for tight end Darren Waller was a flashy move, but the Giants only gave up a third-round pick and his 2023 cap hit is just a little over $4 million.
The Giants don’t need the big fish in the small pond, but rather a saturated receiver room with reliable depth. Schoen taking a big swing on Beckham would go against the ideology he’s practiced this offseason.
The finances. Beckham could be wishing for more than $10 million per year in a new contract.
While he could accept less to go play with a team like the Jets (who are on the brink of landing Aaron Rodgers) or the Bills (who are already Super Bowl contenders), that might not be the case with the Giants.
Daniel Jones isn’t the quarterback Aaron Rodgers or Josh Allen is. The Giants don’t sport the roster the Jets or Bills do. To lure Beckham back to East Rutherford, some convincing would need to be done with the potential payday.
The Giants are only $3.5 million under the salary cap (per Over the Cap) and still need space for draft picks and any last-minute free-agency moves. So it doesn’t make sense from a financial standpoint either.
The low-risk route. The Giants could nab a starting wide receiver by acquiring Beckham, an injury-prone player for much of his career, and run the risk of his health-related issues persisting.
Or, they could pass on making such a desperate move and draft a wide receiver in the first round instead. At No. 25 overall, USC’s Jordan Addison, Boston College’s Zay Flowers, and/or TCU’s Quentin Johnston could be available.
Addressing the problem in the draft might allow the Giants to land a younger, fresher option who isn’t coming off an ACL tear. For much cheaper, too, as the projected 2023 cap hit for the 25th overall pick is set to be only $2.57 million (per Over the Cap).
Follow ESNY on Twitter @elitesportsny