EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – One of the biggest stories of the NFL summer has a happy ending for both the Giants and Odell Beckham, Jr.
The Giants announced today that OBJ, their sensational and record-breaking fifth-year wide receiver, has signed a lucrative contract extension, 13 days before the Sept. 9 regular-season opener vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars. Beckham, 25, was already signed for the 2018 season.
“It’s a five-year extension, six years total,” Gettleman said. “We got him until he’s 108. I never worried whether or not we would get it done. I’m pleased, because the litmus test for a contract is that neither side is ticked off before the ink can dry, and neither side should be ticked off. It’s a very fair deal.”
Beckham is one of the NFL’s most demonstrative players, never afraid to show fans in the stadium and millions of television viewers if he is elated or disgusted. But after signing a contract for what Gettleman called “generational money”, Beckham was grateful and subdued.
“Honestly, I don’t even know how to explain it,” Beckham said. “I don’t know if it’s a relief, I don’t know – it’s a combination of everything. You’ve worked all your life to get to this point and it’s finally here. I have to thank Mr. Mara, Steve Tisch, Mr. Gettleman, coach (Pat) Shurmur, Eli (Manning), all the guys I played with in the past years. Everybody was really a part of this - my mom, my dad, my family, everybody who was supporting me through this. It’s just such an amazing feeling, I can’t even explain. Most importantly, I have to thank God for being able to put me back together mentally, physically, spiritually. This is just truly amazing; I don’t even know the right words to describe.
“It was just a time of patience and waiting and I knew that it would get done, it just was a matter of when and I’m just so happy that it is finally done now.”
Beckham, the 12th overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, had the best three-season start by a wide receiver in Giants history, and one of the best ever in the NFL. His totals of 288 receptions, 4,122 yards and 35 touchdowns all shattered the previous Giants records for a player in his first three seasons (Beckham had the three-year touchdown receptions record with 25 – in his first two seasons)
Last year, a pair of injuries to his left ankle – a sprain in the preseason opener and then a fracture on Oct. 8 – limited him to just four games, 25 catches and three touchdowns.
The injuries did nothing to stem the constant speculation about whether Beckham would receive a new contract. Beckham demonstrated early that his training and effort would not be dictated by the inevitable back and forth of a complicated contract negotiation by participating in the offseason conditioning program. He has also been a full-time, full-speed partaker in training camp practices.
That devotion to personal and team improvement helped induce both sides to complete a deal.
“As I have said, I think Odell personally is moving in the right direction,” said John Mara, the Giants’ president and chief executive officer. “He came to camp with a tremendous attitude, with a smile on his face and worked hard and reminded us of his unique abilities. He’s ready to have a great season and we’re ready for him to have a great season.”
“It was not a distraction because of the way we handled it,” Gettleman said. “The way he handled it, the way we handled it. I was thrilled when he spoke to the media at training camp. I was thrilled he said it’ll get done when it gets done, because that’s what it is. You can’t force things, it’s a negotiation. It’s a back and forth, both sides have to be intentional and thoughtful, which we were. It was great negotiating, it was a very good give and take with Kevin (Abrams, the assistant general manager) and Zeke (Sandhu, Beckham’s agent). We got to the right answer as far as I’m concerned.”
“It’s a great day for our franchise and our fans,” said chairman and executive vice president Steve Tisch. “I am excited about our future, especially with Odell and Eli and their teammates operating in Pat’s (Shurmur) offense. We have seen Odell grow. His enthusiasm and work ethic are contagious, and my hope for him and for us - and I know he feels the same - is for him to be remembered as one of the great Giants of all time.”
Beckham is in complete agreement. His ankle has given him no problems in camp, and he believes this is most talented team the Giants have had since his arrival four years ago.
“The offense seems to be amazing,” he said. “I feel like we’re going to be able to put up a lot of points and do it in a bunch of different ways. We have so many explosive playmakers on this team. Evan Engram, (Sterling) Shep(ard), Cody (Latimer), Saquon (Barkley). The O-line is playing at a high level, they look very together, and it’s time for Eli to bring us home. It’s time for him to bring us back to what we all dream of doing, which is winning a Super Bowl, so the goals are never going to change, it’s just that time to go is now.”
Aside from the emotion Beckham brings to the team on and off the field, Gettleman was thrilled to secure his services because of the receiver’s gifts as a player.
“I learned a long time ago, you build the team you want,” Gettleman said. “On offense, you got to have a quarterback, you got to have touchdown scorers. On defense, you got to have guys that sack the quarterback. Well, this guy’s a touchdown scorer. He can score from anywhere on the field, which is huge.”
And Beckham said his desire to perform amazing feats on the football field will not be diminished by financial security.
“This just kind of secures you and your family, and the ones that are going to come along after you in your family,” he said. “For me, it’s not going to change my goals that I have on the field. If anything, it just increased them even more. I just want to be able to come out and play football the way that I’ve always played, the way that I love it and have some of my best years that I’ve ever had in my entire life. This is nothing but more motivation to go even harder and to do even better.”
Which makes the ending of this story even better for the Giants and their fans.
Photos: Odell Beckham Jr. Touchdown Gallery
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