Giants co-owner John Mara has handed a proverbial blank check to receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
As Beckham closes in on his second NFL contract (and possibly stayed away from offseason workouts in an effort to make it clear that he wants one), Mara has offered an assessment of Beckham that will serve only to add zeros to his next deal.
“Listen, he’s as exciting a player as we have had on this team in my lifetime, and he brings a lot of energy, a lot of big plays to us,” Mara told Steve Serby of the New York Post. “And when you cut through everything else, he actually is a really good kid. He does a lot of wonderful things off the field that people don’t know about. He needs to work on controlling his emotions a little bit more. But when he is on the field, the other teams have to pay attention to him . . . and he strikes fear into the eyes of the other team. As long as you have that ability, he makes your team better. He just adds a lot to us. We really haven’t had a player like that here for a long time.”
The Giants apparently intend to keep Beckham there for a long time. At some point, then, they’ll need to sign him to that new contract. Before that can happen, the contract needs to be negotiated. Mara was asked about the status of the talks.
“They haven’t begun as of yet, but . . . they’ll happen at the appropriate time,” Mara said. “I don’t think we have a time frame on it. But we certainly don’t want to see him playing in another uniform.”
Mara also was asked whether a contract could come during the season.
“That’s possible, yeah,” Mara said. “I wouldn’t have a problem with that occurring. We certainly want to get him signed. Let’s not make it the headline that there’ll be a deal by October or November or something like that because I have no idea. I don’t think we’d be opposed to talking to his agents at some point during the season, yes.”
The Giants presumably want to be sure that Beckham is indeed maturing before making a long-term commitment.
“I think he’s a work in progress, I think he’s going to mature,” Mara said. “I had a great conversation with him in the spring about that. I think he understands that. But he’s always going to be an emotional player, and we’re going to have to live with, hopefully, an occasional and rare outburst every once in a while because he wants to win so badly. But I think he is going to mature. He’s 24 years old.”
Mara is right. And the Giants also are smart to wait a while before giving him the kind of money that reflects full confidence in his maturity. Even if it’s really not all that smart to hype him as a player before getting that deal done, since those quotes from Mara surely will be placed on a laminated card and handed to the Giants’ negotiators at the outset of the first face-to-face session.