Giants chairman Steve Tisch addressed the state of the Giants at the annual owners meeting:
ORLANDO – Odell Beckham, Jr. isn't attending the NFL annual meetings here, but Giants ownership still can't escape him as the topic of conversation.
Yesterday, team president John Mara was asked about a recent video of Beckham that was widely viewed on the internet and how it might affect contract negotiations with the three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver.
This morning, a report surfaced that Beckham "is not going to set foot on the field" without a new contract – just in time for Giants chairman Steve Tisch's interview with about a dozen reporters.
Tisch was not exactly panicked by the news.
"My take is, at the moment it is hypothetical," he said. "We have not been contacted by anyone representing Odell making that comment or suggesting that's something he will do. So my reaction to it is it's just another hypothetical situation in a number of hypothetical situations. Odell's contract will be negotiated at the appropriate time. So to speculate on the 'What ifs' and the 'What would you do?' and the 'if this happens, what will happen?' I can't do that. It's just not realistic, and it's not in anyone's best interest."
Tisch was equally unruffled when asked about the video.
"It is sort of background noise," he said. "Something I'm not paying much attention to. I didn't look at it. Maybe I didn't have those seven seconds to pay attention to it, but I'm not concerned about that."
Tisch said talks between general manager Dave Gettleman and Beckham's representatives "are at the earliest, most premature stages … I think because there is so much conversation about him, I just want everyone to pull back and realize that we will negotiate when the time to negotiate comes."
Last year, Beckham did not participate in the Giants' offseason conditioning program except for the mandatory minicamp in June. Now the Giants have a new head coach in Pat Shurmur, whose offensive system Beckham must learn. And Beckham needs to demonstrate he is in top physical condition after missing the final 11 games of the 2017 season with a broken ankle that required surgery.
Given all that, would a potential holdout sour the relationship between the Giants and their and sensational receiver? Asked about the possibility of trading Beckham, Mara avoided specifics, saying, "I think when you're 3-13, nobody is untouchable." Questioned whether he foresee Beckham being a Giant in 2018, Mara said, "I can't answer that one way or the other."
Tisch told reporters exactly where he stands on the subject.
"Personally, my nature is to be an optimist, and I would like to have Odell on the Giants this coming season," he said. "He is a tremendous athlete, he is a great player, so I do hope that Odell is with the Giants for the 2018 season. I would like that very much."
Asked a follow-up question, Tisch took his response a few steps further.
"I would like for Odell and every other team member of Odell's, every Giant player to be on the Giants for as long as they contribute and have a role to play, both in the locker room and on the field," Tisch said. "Odell is certainly one of those players who I think has made and has continued to make great contributions - certainly on the field. I want him to know that his teammates want him to be productive, certainly our fans want him to be productive, and very honestly, the ownership wants him to be productive."
Tisch's primary residence is in Los Angeles, where Beckham has spent time this offseason. "I ran into him by coincidence one night, but the conversation was not about football, which was certainly good," Tisch said.
Tisch is a successful producer in Hollywood, so few, if any, NFL owners understand entertainment as he does. Beckham is one of the NFL's most exciting players. But does the behavior he sometimes exhibits on and off the field cross a line that makes it detrimental to the Giants and, by extension, the NFL?
"I think there is a fine line between when it's good for business, and when that line is crossed it can become bad for business," Tisch said. "I've learned in the entertainment business and in the football business, a lot of how well we do, how well the players do, how well the teams do, are in a way fan-driven. Whether it is my next Denzel Washington movie, I want to get movie goers in theater seats. The 2018 Giants season, I want to get Giants fans in seats in MetLife Stadium. When too much becomes too much, I think everybody is aware of it, and I hope we don't get to that point and cross that line."
In somewhat of an upset, Tisch was asked about other subjects:
*On whether the Giants can pass on Penn State running back Saquon Barkley with the second overall selection in the draft:
"The draft is still 4½ weeks away. John, Dave Gettleman, Kevin Abrams, Pat Shurmur and I have not sat down yet or gone through it player-by-player, opportunity-by-opportunity. We certainly will start that process after these meetings next week and we're in a very cool position to have the No. 2 draft pick. … I think it is a great opportunity for the team to go into this draft with options and two very fresh points of view coming from the GM and the new head coach."
*On having dinner with Josh Rosen, one of the top quarterback prospects in the draft:
"His table manners were unbelievable,' Tisch said. "He was brought up very well. He is a very charismatic young man."
*On the notion that Gettleman is "blowing up the team."
"I think that the expression 'blowing up' is overused, and I think it can have sort of a negative connotation," Tisch said. "I think a lot of the moves that Dave has made in bringing in a number of really exciting free agents, bringing in (linebacker Alec) Ogletree on a trade, I think it's going to enhance the team. I'm very excited about how our new defensive coordinator (James Bettcher) starts to work with his players. The 2018 Giants, I'm very excited about, and I hope the fans will share my enthusiasm now and as the season progresses, we give them a product they want."
Giants.com looks at all the signings, re-signings, and trades from this offseason.