Beckham traveled to Dallas, but still may not play

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If the Giants are trying to dupe the Cowboys into thinking receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will be playing on Sunday night despite an ankle sprain, the Giants are committed to their craft.

Per multiple reports, Beckham traveled to Dallas on Saturday with his teammates, likely extending up until 90 minutes before kickoff the question of whether Beckham will or won’t play. That’s when the Giants’ list of inactive players is due to be delivered to the league and communicated to the Cowboys.

ESPN reports there’s “real doubt” whether Beckham will play — which is sort of implied by the “questionable” tag and by other reports (ours) that Beckham was a 50-50 proposition to go.

It’s possible that Beckham will indeed be active, but that he will be a decoy. Given that the Cowboys are obsessed with keeping him from altering the game on his own, it would make plenty of sense to simply have him on the field, opening up the rest of the offense until the Cowboys conclude that Beckham won’t be doing what he usually does.

The ruse could go next level if the Giants opt for a rope-a-dope approach, making the Cowboys think he’s a decoy before unleashing him once the coverage slides away from him.

Hovering over the situation is the fact that the Giants have not yet given Beckham the long-term contract he clearly craves. If he’s less than 100 percent, he shouldn’t risk aggravation without significant financial security. However, there has been no indication that the Giants have used Beckham’s ACL near-miss from 20 days ago as the opening to drop on the table a life-changing deal that still falls far short of his stated aspiration to be the highest-paid player in the game.

The Giants and Cowboys aspire to win the NFC East, and the quest begins tonight, with the Cowboys defending the Giants in very different ways if Beckham is or isn’t performing like the Beckham the Cowboys are used to seeing.