With the Ravens losing cornerback Tavon Young to a torn ACL during an offseason workout on Thursday, the I’m-right-your-a-idiot mindset that currently permeates politics and sports will result in those who blindly support players like Odell Beckham Jr. staying away from OTAs pointing with approval to Young’s eventual scar. And while that’s indeed true if the player chooses to (as Chris Simms put it on PFT Live earlier today) sit on the couch and scratch his butt, players who work out on their own take similar risks — without the same protection.
Players injured on team premises get paid. Players injured while working out on their own don’t, if the team chooses not to pay them.
For Beckham, a torn ACL, ruptured Achilles’ tendon, or other serious injury would allow the Giants to place him on the Non-Football Injury list and decline to pay his $1.8 million salary for 2017. A serious injury also would jeopardize his injury-guaranteed salary of $8.4 million for 2018, since it’s guaranteed only for injuries that happen at work and fully guaranteed only if he’s on the roster as of March 2018.
Unless these team workouts entail a significant degree of contact (and in turn a higher risk for injury), a player has a similar risk of injury while on his own or with the team. With the consensus being that Beckham will do on his own everything he needs to do to be ready for the season, doing those things under the auspices of the offseason program gives him what amounts to, as a practical matter, an insurance policy worth more than $10 million.
Working out on his own, well, Beckham had better be using some of that Nike money to pay for an insurance policy.