The Giants came close to trading receiver Odell Beckham Jr. last year. And then they didn’t trade him.
So what happened? As Chris Simms explained on Monday’s PFT Live, New England’s interest in Beckham ultimately caused the Giants to think twice. Basically, if the Patriots saw something in Beckham that would have caused them to give up significant trade compensation and to cough up a significant second contract even though he’d never previously played for the Patriots, the Giants should be more inclined to keep him around.
The fears may have been well founded. Although the Patriots haven’t had a solid track record of drafting receivers, they’ve found some of their best receivers in the Belichick-Brady era by trading for veterans like Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Brandin Cooks, and Chris Hogan. So if the Patriots were willing to pull the trigger on a Beckham trade, the Patriots truly believed that Beckham would have become a major difference-maker.
Whether he would have been a major difference-maker is a different question. It takes a certain kind of personality to accept The Patriot Way; former NFL receiver Chad Johnson was required to check his personality at the door when traded by the Bengals in 2011 — and he promptly struggled during his short time in New England. Beckham quite possibly would have had the same experience.
The Patriots apparently were banking on Beckham thriving, with coach Bill Belichick, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, and quarterback Tom Brady providing the kind of structure, support, and (ultimately) success that would have kept Beckham from engaging in periodic outbursts fundamentally fueled by a burning desire to win.
Regardless, New England’s interest was enough to get the Giants to trade Beckham to no one last year. Whether that could change this year will be the subject of an upcoming blurb.