PRO­CEED WITH CAU­TION

Gi­ants won’t have an easy time ex­tend­ing Odell Beck­ham Jr.’s con­tract.

Metro USA (New York) - - Front Page - JOE PANTORNO joseph.pantorno@metro.us

Hon­estly, all the trade ac­cu­sa­tions around po­lar­iz­ing Gi­ants pass catcher were hasty, yes?

But af­ter some tough in­cre­ments that fea­tured rum­blings of off-field trouble, the threat of a hold­out un­til the de­liv­ery of Odell Beck­ham’s con­tract ex­ten­sion and yes, the team pos­si­bly

dis­pos­ing of their young, amaz­ing tal­ent via trade, now it looks like the Gi­ants are ready to talk ex­ten­sion.

Let it be known that lock­ing up Beck­ham for eter­nity is a task very far from com­plete, but at least the Gi­ants are talk­ing about it.

“It’s not the first con­tract ne­go­ti­a­tion we’ve ever had,” team co-owner John Mara said (h/t ESPN. com’s Jor­dan Raanan). “It will get done when it’s sup­posed to get done.”

Beck­ham’s rookie con­tract ex­pires at the end of the 2018 sea­son where he is owed $8.5 mil­lion, a bar­gain con­sid­er­ing he is one of the most ex­plo­sive play­mak­ers in the NFL when healthy.

Nor­mally, an ex­ten­sion would have been at the top of the Gi­ants’ off­sea­son check­list. It might very well could have been, but ques­tions sur­round­ing Beck­ham’s im­ma­tu­rity has seem­ingly stalled pro­ceed­ings, which ush­ered the 25-year-old’s threat of hold­ing out un­til he gets a new con­tract.

Just hours af­ter the news of his po­ten­tial hold­out broke to­ward the end of March, his name sud­denly and shock­ingly ap­peared in trade ru­mors with teams like the Los An­ge­les Rams show­ing ini­tial in­ter­est.

Trade talks have died down since as Beck­ham re­ported to team fa­cil­i­ties in early April for off­sea­son work­outs and later showed up at mini­camp even though he is con­tin­u­ing his re­hab on an an­kle in­jury that limited his 2017 sea­son to just four games. Head coach Pat Shur­mur even said that Beck­ham will “ab­so­lutely” be a Gi­ant next sea­son (h/t NFL Net­work’s Kim­berly Jones).

But there are still plenty of hur­dles to over­come be­fore se­cur­ing Beck­ham for the long haul.

Over the win­ter, it be­came known that Beck­ham will be look­ing for a con­tract that pays him at least $20 mil­lion an­nu­ally, an ex­or­bi­tant fig­ure no other re­ceiver in the league makes. Pitts­burgh Steel­ers star An­to­nio Brown makes an av­er­age of $17 mil­lion per year. Look­ing at the Gi­ants, Eli Man­ning is the only player on the ros­ter that makes more as he pro­vides a $22.3 mil­lion cap hit in 2018.

It’s im­pos­si­ble for New York to dole out that kind of con­tract right now, re­gard­less. Due to an ag­gres­sive free agency pe­riod that in­cluded the sign­ing of Nate Solder and Jon Stewart, along with tak­ing on of Ja­son Pierre-Paul’s $15 mil­lion of dead money af­ter he was traded to the Tampa Bay Buc­ca­neers, the fran­chise has an es­ti­mated $9.1 mil­lion of cap space re­main­ing in 2018, per OverTheCap.com.

All of that re­main­ing money can’t even be given to him con­sid­er­ing the Gi­ants need to re­sign their en­tire rookie class of draft picks and un­drafted free agents.

If the Gi­ants are truly hell­bent on get­ting Beck­ham a new deal this off­sea­son, they likely would have to restruc­ture the con­tract of a more ex­pen­sive player on the ros­ter, as­sum­ing he agrees to take what is ba­si­cally a pay cut. That way they can of­fer some­thing closer to the ball­park fig­ure of $20 mil­lion while keep­ing the team un­der the cap.

GETTY IM­AGES

There are a few hur­dles the Gi­ants have to clear be­fore se­ri­ously pur­su­ing a con­tract ex­ten­sion for star wide re­ceiver Odell Beck­ham Jr.

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