Odell Beckham Jr. had to sit out on Sunday night due to an ankle injury sustained during the preseason, missing the Giants season opener against the Dallas Cowboys.
While star players like Beckham hate missing time on the field, his absence might have been worth millions to him in his next contract with the Giants.
Simply put, the Giants offense looked dead on arrival last night. Without Beckham to draw the attention of every defensive back on the field, the Cowboys were in complete control, holding the Giants to just three points. It wasn’t just scoring though – the Giants could hardly move the ball without Beckham anchoring their offensive attack, failing to earn a first down until just minutes before half time and only crossing midfield once the entire game.
The performance made crystal clear to everyone watching just how valuable a piece Beckham is to the Giants offense, and how little they are capable of without him on the field.
Beckham is currently still playing on his original contract with the Giants and is scheduled to make just under $2 million this year, before jumping to almost $8.5 million next year. That’s fine compensation, but as the league has gotten more pass-centric, star wide receivers are going for a lot more – Texans wide out DeAndre Hopkins just signed a contract worth $81 million over five years, with $49 million of that guaranteed. Currently, there are over 60 receivers in the league making more on a year-to-year basis than Beckham.
During the offseason, Beckham had expressed a desire to negotiate his deal, and appears to know just how much he’s worth. In a video for Uninterrupted, Beckham said he wanted to become the highest player in the league.
“It’s like the elephant in the room,” Beckham said, regarding his contract and looming negotiations. “And you know you don’t want to talk about it, but I’ve gotten to the point in my life where I’m like, ‘No, I’m going to, there’s no need to not talk about it.’ I believe that I will be, hopefully not just the highest-paid receiver in the league, but the highest paid, period.”
With Sunday’s pitiful performance from the Giants offense, it became clear that Beckham is worth the money. With him on the field, the Giants can beat any team any given week, with Beckham forcing defenses to shade an entire side of the field simply with his presence. Without him, the Giants would be lucky to win six games.
Contract negotiations are always complex waters to navigate, but in just one game the Giants got a taste of what their fortunes might be without their best player, and Beckham was put an extremely powerful position to negotiating from.
The Giants play the Lions on Monday Night Football in Week 2 – if Beckham comes back and the Giants offense comes alive, he might add even more money to his next eventual deal.