This is what the Giants and Odell Beckham Jr. always wanted. The Giants never wanted to trade him. Beckham never wanted to leave. They both wanted a long-term marriage, and they both understood how high the price would have to be.So now Beckham is getting a five-year, $95 million contract extension with a whopping $65 million guaranteed.
Because this isn't about past performance, Beckham earned this money by being arguably the best receiver in the NFL over the first four years of his career. If the Giants didn't think he could be the same for the next four or five years, they would've easily gone in another direction.
But at 25 years old, there is a feeling that the best may still be to come for Beckham, even after he missed most of last season with an ankle injury. He has looked healthy, explosive and as fast as ever. The Giants see no reason why he can't be a 90-100-catch, 1,300-yard, 10-touchdown receiver again.
Of course, now he has to be. That's the price of getting paid more than any other NFL receiver. A simple 70-catch, 1,000-yard season won't do. The pressure is on Beckham to be great, at least for the next few seasons. And it's a reasonable expectation as he enters his prime.
But the pressure isn't just on him. A good case can be made that the Giants wasted the first four seasons of Beckham's career because of a lackluster surrounding cast. They had a terrible offensive line, which left their quarterback under siege, they had no real ability to run the football, and the rest of the receiving corps was weak. The result, as everyone could see, was that the Giants' offense was often a one-man show.
They can't let that happen again because they have invested too much in his success. They've already made a big bet on Eli Manning, that he's still good enough to lead them to a championship sometime in the next two years. But he won't be able to do that if the rest of the offense is so poor that Beckham is constantly being double- or triple-covered. They need to make sure the other options are good.
Now, the good news is they seem to be headed in that direction. The addition of Saquon Barkleyshould be a big help. And tight end Evan Engram and receiver Sterling Shepard seem like terrific alternative options in the passing attack. If they can solidify the offensive line, maybe they do have enough talent around Beckham to really turn him loose and let him ignite a championship run.
But they have to. Beyond the money, they have to do right by Beckham and he has to do right by them, and together they have to make sure that during his Giants career -- which now runs through the 2023 season -they are not stuck in the morass of mediocrity. The Giants are paying for greatness and greatness should be expected.