ORLANDO — The city in central Florida where the NFL’s league meetings are taking place might as well be renamed “Odellando” this week.
Such is the impact that the Giants’ star receiver and his future with the team is making on the normally docile and casual environment. There are many in and around the meetings who believe that a trade of Odell Beckham Jr. to another team is imminent and could happen before the meetings adjourn on Wednesday.
That remains a very unlikely scenario.
“I’d be very surprised,” a source told Newsday regarding a trade of Beckham this week.
The source added that it remains the Giants’ objective to negotiate with and sign Beckham to a contract that will keep him as a member of the team. This despite John Mara saying on Sunday that he does not consider Beckham to be “untouchable” when it comes to trade offers. Mara also said on Sunday that the Giants are not actively shopping Beckham, but just the mention of the word “trade” in regard to the superstar is a signal that the Giants would listen to any offers teams want to make.
Co-owner Steve Tisch said on Monday that those negotiations have begun and are “at the earliest, most premature stages.”
The Giants also are prepared for the possibility that Beckham may holdout until a new contract is reached or some other resolution takes place. The NFL Network reported Monday morning that Beckham “is not going to set foot on the field without a new contract agreed to, whether the Giants or whether anyone else.”
The source said the Giants’ philosophy regarding that is: “If he shows up, he shows up, and if he doesn’t show up, he doesn’t show up.”
As for what Beckham’s threat of a holdout means if he remains with the Giants — still the most likely scenario — it’s nothing particularly new. The Giants have been bracing for that negotiation tact from Beckham for a while. As early as when Beckham sprained his ankle in the preseason game against the Browns last summer, there was an expectation that he would not play in 2018 under his current contract. He has one year remaining on his rookie deal with the Giants and is due to earn $8 million. That’s about half of what the highest paid receivers in the NFL are getting in 2018.
Ultimately the Giants have plenty of leverage. They are in control of Beckham’s future. They can trade him or not. They can use the franchise tag on him in 2019 and again in 2020. If the Giants want Beckham to remain with them, they can do it.