Sammy Watkins has a better deal than Odell Beckham

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Early in camp, after Odell Beckham surrendered most of his leverage by not holding out, his agent leaked that the Giants had offered Beckham less per year than the $16 million per year Sammy Watkins received from the Chiefs. For many, the immediate reaction was, “How is Sammy Watkins relevant to Odell Beckham?”

The answer was that Beckham’s camp was evaluating the team’s offer not in terms of “new money” (where Steelers receiver Antonio Brown currently has the best deal, at $17 million annually) but by looking at total value. Under that metric, Watkins had set the highest bar at $16 million per year.

Ultimately, Beckham beat both metrics. In new money, it’s $18 million per year. In total value, it’s $16.4 million per year. But although reasonable minds can (and will) differ on this, total value really is the more accurate way to analyze a contract. Rarely if ever do contract extensions represent actual “extensions” to a contract; typically, the old contract gets ripped up and the new contract takes its place.

That’s what happened with Beckham. He has a new six-year, $98.459 million deal, not a one-year, $8.459 million deal with a five-year, $90 million package that begins in 2019.

So, apples to apples, Beckham gets $400,000 more per year on average than Watkins. But Watkins has the better deal.

Here’s why: Beckham has signed for six years, and Watkins is under contract for only three. So after Beckham has reportedly earned $60 million and enters the back nine (three) of his commitment, Watkins will have made $48 million and will be taking another trip to the open market.

Yes, Beckham will have made $60 million over those three years. But he’ll be committed to only $38 million over the final three years, and unless he suddenly becomes willing to hold out (which he wasn’t willing to do this year), the Giants won’t surrender their ability to enjoy three lower-cost seasons after enduring three high-rent campaigns that mesh with the three relatively cheap years under running back Saquon Barkley‘s rookie contract.

And so when Beckham sees Watkins, who has more than 120 fewer catches, nearly 1,400 fewer yards, 13 fewer touchdowns, and three fewer Pro Bowl appearances in the same number of seasons, get another big contract on the open market at the age of 28 while Beckham remains tied to the Giants through his 31st birthday at an average at that point of $12.6 million per year, Beckham will have only himself to blame for neither insisting on a shorter-term deal nor buying insurance against a career-ending injury nor opting to go year-to-year until hitting the open market — and the jackpot that would go along with it — in 2021, when he’ll be 28.

66 responses to “Sammy Watkins has a better deal than Odell Beckham

  1. And you wonder why the majority of NFL players will never see guaranteed contracts? This is why, there are articles that talk specifically about how in 3 years someone will make more than they will.

    They want the eye-popping numbers but don’t have the bandwidth to consider how that impacts other players. Cousins did it right with the short-term contract that is entirely guaranteed.

  2. Beckham will make millions more in endorsement money that Sammy Watkins will never see. Beckham needed a good deal to establish himself as an elite and that in turn will bring in more endorsement dollars. If you ever travel to Europe, you will already see NIKE commercials with him and Cristiano Ronaldo all over the continent. Big money is Nike money!

  3. How did he get $48M over three years? By landing on the open market. That’s how good players get paid great money.

  4. I never understand why players sign for 5 plus years. Contracts rarely make it to the full years and the top players start whining that other players are making more as the market increases every year. Also, many of the players want more of the money upfront giving them -really high “annual” salaries the first couple years but then start whining that they’re “underpaid” for the remainder of the contract.

  5. Interesting.. but would anyone be surprised if he refused to play to leverage reworking his contract in 2 years? I wouldn’t.

  6. I liked the days when we didn’t know how much players made. I never knew what Dan Marino made and I was fine with that.

  7. Dang, I’m feeling bad for OBJ. I’ll be depressed the rest of the week knowing how should have gotten more than $60 million guaranteed. I just don’t know how he can feed his family with that insult of a deal.

  8. We see this time and time again. A player signs like a 5 year/$300 trillion dollar contract and we explode because it is way too much money. Three days later, someone will report that it is really a 3 year contract worth $52 and three frisbees.

  9. All this money for a guy that’s never even contributed to a playoff win.

    To date: 1 playoff game in 4 active seasons where the Giants got absolutely pummeled and he only had 4 catches for 28 yards on 11 targets.

  10. People are getting caught up on comparing this deal to that deal. There are different situations to be considered. Watkins and Beckham are both good players but they are not the same. Watkins is on his 3rd team now and was essentially a FA after the 2017 season. Beckham is not in that situation. He was drafted by the Giants and elected to stay with the Giants for now… we will see what the future holds for him and what the Giants want to do. For now congratulations and good luck to both players.

  11. As a Chiefs fan, for that $16 million, I’d take a good corner and safety for that money instead of Watkins. He and mahomes should be dynamite, but $16 Million is way too much for Watkins, and tyreek hill will be up for a new deal soon.

  12. When Watkins goes back into the market after three years, OBJ will break his contract, hold out for more money, and screw his teammates and fans. That’s what selfish diva receivers do. Count on it.

  13. Watkins will absolutely not live up to this deal. Did you see his key drops down the stretch last year with the Rams? He’s got the size and the great college career, but he’s not special at the NFL level. His next deal may be for the league minimum, which makes OBJs deal much sweeter. Oh, and OBJ is very special, as long as his childish antics don’t cost him.

  14. I need to see the cap numbers over those last 3 years before I believe that he’s a bargain to the Giants on the back end. More likely the number balloons and they’ll be back at the table trying negotiate a new deal that gets his cap number down (so they can extend Engram, Barkley or whoever else, or go get that big free agent). I won’t lose sleep about OBJ’s plight.

  15. you are extremely naive if you dont believe beckham will be holding out in 3 years after his front loaded contract enters the 4th year and he’s “only” making $12.5m. players conveniently forget the front loaded portion of contracts, as well as signing bonuses.

  16. I wouldn’t hold my breath on Sammy Watkins performing at the level that warrants a better deal in 3 years

  17. Beckham shouldn’t have got a new deal early. He had 25 catches for 306 yards last season.

  18. You folks are funny. As long as there are stupid owners and GMs in the league, the Sammy Watkins types will also get paid by someone. It doesn’t matter that they don’t actually produce, because they have the “potential” to produce and silly teams will chase that dream with bags of money.

  19. OBJ has the better contract. More guaranteed , who’s to say Watkins doesn’t get hurt or underperforms. Not a sure thing Watkins signs another contract of more value like you said his #’s aren’t the same

  20. whenwilliteverend says:
    August 28, 2018 at 10:48 am
    Upon reading this story, OBJ’s head exploded and he wants a new deal.


    Ya know, that’s EXACTLY right. I remember years ago, in the ’90s sometime, when at the end of a season in MLB Rickey Henderson was clammoring for a new contract and he got one rendering him the “highest paid player in baseball” and he was the happiest man in the world.

    Fast forward a few months during an offseason that just happened to be one of those where contracts/salaries had escalated, and before even one pitch in the new season having been thrown nearly 40 other players surpassed Henderson in contract value, no doubt at least partially as a result of his contract.

    Nevertheless, before a single pitch had been thrown Henderson had gone from being the happiest man in baseball to whining again about his contract.

    The money is secondary to these guys sometimes, often it’s the egoism of “highest paid” at their position or even overall.

    Sheeeeet, if I were making a fraction of what these guys were for doing my favorite thing, I’d be on my knees daily thanking life as to how on earth that situation could even possibly exist.

    Regardless, that was the last of watching baseball for me.

  21. Never understood the fascination with Sammy Watkins. Great talent. Little production

  22. patriotway1 says:
    August 28, 2018 at 11:12 am
    All this money for a guy that’s never even contributed to a playoff win.

    To date: 1 playoff game in 4 active seasons where the Giants got absolutely pummeled and he only had 4 catches for 28 yards on 11 targets.
    Why do Patriots* fans always like to equate playoff stats to a player’s success? How does that impact the skill or talent that player has? For one, history has shown that one player often will not make or break a team’s success in the league, and typically the best teams have made it far due to the combined effort of the entire team. The same way you don’t want to blame Tom Brady for Patriots* losses in Super Bowls and other playoff games that they’ve lost, you can’t blame Odell for the Giants not having achieved playoff success.

    Yes, the one playoff game he had against Green Bay wasn’t good, but it was just that, one game. Seems to be a pretty small sample size compared to his four (well, about three seasons when factoring in his first four games missed his rookie year and then most of the season last year with his ankle) seasons in the NFL. Why are you conveniently ignoring the records he’s set among all-time receivers through his first few seasons, all while missing the first quarter of his rookie season?

    Patriots* fans’ logic has zero logic and 100% saltiness from those gigantic two Super Bowl upsets caused by the New York Giants. Get over it, please! You all look like children constantly attacking another team, especially since it’s been how many years since the Giants won the last Super Bowl?

    You know what’s the actual issue the Giants haven’t had playoff success in recent years – how about the bottom-ranked OL, a terrible running game, and a horrific head coach the past two years?

  23. Seems like an easy answer – Beckham holds after 3 years. This guy and his posse are never going to honor a 6-year contract.

  24. “Here’s why: Beckham has signed for six years, and Watkins is under contract for only three. So after Beckham has reportedly earned $60 million and enters the back nine (three) of his commitment, Watkins will have made $48 million and will be taking another trip to the open market.”

    Yes this is true but you’re missing one thing…Watkins is an absolute injury prone bust who the chiefs blew cash on…OBJ has proven his value through the first 3 years of his contract (not counting last year obviously) 3 years form now Watkins will be hoping to even catch on to a team in the league

  25. “Diva” and “Me First Head Case” – The guys just attended all the OTA’s and Training Camp, has worked hard to come back from a broken ankle and his teammates LOVE him, but you keyboard warriors crap all over him. I guess you guys just don’t like blondes.

  26. Here’s the fly in the ointment. Watkins is not going to get another big deal without earning it. He’s 100% used up his 1st round pick cred. Odds are he’ll be lucky to be signed as a WR2 or 3 when this contract is up, for average money. He’s not that good.

  27. OBJ probably makes 20M a year in endorsements. That MIGHT be the primary reason for not holding out. Why would he hold out down the line? We’re talking about his heirs money at this point.

    He’ll be like Peyton Manning, still getting endorsements a few years past his playing days. Won’t surprise me if he makes 300M plus over the next 10 years.

  28. At age 28 will Watkins be able to get a big contract?
    Dez put up some good numbers, and at age 29 is unemployed.
    Will Watkins be getting paid north of 20MM?
    Or will he be looking for a prove it deal?

    I’ll take OBJ.

  29. Totally agree, a shorter deal would have still set him up for life and he would have had a shot at a second big contract. At 31, it is not likely he will get another big contract (or any contract at all).

  30. Watkins will likely be signing for a regular veteran contract on his next deal to be real

  31. “Why do Patriots***** (fixed it for you) fans always like to equate playoff stats to a player’s success?”

    Because, what else is there? The best players perform at their best with everything on the line.

    Most of us aren’t impressed with padded, garbage-time stats in losing efforts. Great for fantasy football though.

    FWIW – OBJ should definitely be paid more than Watkins, even if Watkins is making 3-4 times what he should be.

  32. Also notable – Sammy’s deal expires at the same time as the current CBA. I wouldn’t trade guaranteed money today for the chance to hit free agency in a potential lock-out/strike year.

  33. Fellow Giants fans… Just take a look at the emotional responses from the fans here… How much does it make you smile to know every cry baby response about Odell being a diva or having a drop in his only playoff game are just the cries from fans absolutely desperate to comfort themselves. You’re all so sad. You read a newspaper article and think the guy is Dez Bryant or DeSean Jackson. He’s just a kid who’s not even in the prime of his career. This article is pointless. Well deserved money. Enjoy him when he plays your team.

  34. LOL. No worries.

    2014 NFL Draft Class Stats
    No.1: OBJ
    No.2: Mike Evans
    No.3: Brandin Cooks
    No.4: Sammy Watkins

    At present, only OBJ has HOF potential, based on his first 4 seasons in the NFL, already harboring 3 seasons of double-digit TDs.
    Thanks again, Big Blue, for getting your future HOF’er WR (OBJ) $ettled for the next 5 years!

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