As noted earlier by Gantt, it remains to be seen whether Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will actually set foot on a football field without a long-term contract. But Beckham reportedly will be joining the team for Phase One of offseason workouts, and that’s a smart move by Beckham.
When working out on their own, NFL players have no financial protection, other than whatever insurance policy they may have purchased. When working out at the team facility, they remain automatically eligible for their full salary for the coming season, if a fluke injury puts them on injured reserve.
Plenty of teams choose to still pay a player who gets injured while working out on his own. When the alternative is sitting on the couch eating pork rinds and watching bowling, teams prefer players to choose to be active. Given Beckham’s current relationship with the Giants, however, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Giants place Beckham on the non-football injury list and to elect not to pay him if he pops an Achilles tendon running on a beach.
For Beckham, he’ll have more than $8.5 million in free insurance by showing up and working out with his teammates. It’s also the kind of good-faith gesture that could go a long way toward getting the powers-that-be to forget about that bizarre maybe-a-blunt-and-maybe-some-coke-and-definitely-an-uneaten-pizza video that surfaced last month.
If Beckham isn’t going to be traded, the Giants and Beckham need to come to terms on a long-term deal. Otherwise, Beckham may indeed choose only to do strength and conditioning work at the team facility, but to refuse to lace up his cleats and risk injury during practice or games until he gets the kind of contract that he earned in his rookie year.