Giants plan to start contract talks soon with Beckham
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The long-awaited contract talks between star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and the New York Giants are going to start relatively soon.
After months of waiting to see how Beckham recovered from a broken left ankle and how the 25-year-old mended his ways, Giants co-owner John Mara said Thursday the talks with player and his representatives will take place sooner rather than later.
“I think this was the time that we always had in mind,” Mara said.
“But I think Odell personally is moving in the right direction. He has come in here with a good attitude. Showed up yesterday with a smile on his face. He’s worked hard. I think he’s ready to go. He’s ready for a great season.”
The 25-year-old Beckham is entering the fifth and final season of his rookie contract. He is to earn $8.5 million this season, but the three-time Pro Bowler whose career has been tarnished by off-the- field issues, wants to be among the NFL’s highest-paid players, certainly the highest-paid receiver.
Mara refused to say how much the Giants were willing to pay, but noted the franchise wants Beckham to stay for a long time.
Beckham, who was injured in early October and missed the rest of the season, helped himself in the offseason by working hard. He attended about half of the voluntary organized team activities and reported to camp on time Wednesday.
Beckham took part in about 50 percent of the plays in Thursday’s workout and later ran sprints on a back field. He looked good.
Beckham has been the catalyst of the Giants’ offense since being drafted in the first round in 2014. In 47 NFL games, the former LSU product has 313 catches for 4,424 yards and 38 touchdowns.
Fellow receiver Sterling Shepard said Thursday that Beckham seems even more explosive this season.
“He wants to show everyone he still has it,” Shepard said.
In a wide-ranging interview with the media on the first day of practice, Mara said he hopes the league and the players union will be able to agree on a national anthem policy. He said the team would wait to see what happened in meetings which he said will take place soon.
“Hopefully we can find a resolution that everyone is open to,” Mara said.
Mara also said he believes 37-year-old quarterback Eli Manning still had several good years ahead of him.
The co-owner also is excited by the unlimited physical skills of running back Saquon Barkley. He is concerned about the hype being thrust on the second overall pick in the draft.
“I think he is capable of living up to it,” Mara said. “I think he is mature beyond his years.”
Mara says he still has not recovered from last year’s 3-13 season that led to the firing of coach Ben McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese in early December.
However, he admits there is a new feeling in the building with the changes made by new coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Dave Gettleman.
Gettleman, who was diagnosed with lymphoma in late spring, is doing well and is currently in remission, Mara said.
Gettleman was in the office Wednesday and spoke to the team.
“I don’t think I have ever been around a more upbeat person in my life, particularly going through what he has been going through,” Mara said. “He is optimistic about his recovery and his ability to work this year.”