Before we get started talking about Odell Beckham Jr., let’s supply some quick background for first timers reading this post. I am old school. I believe in blocking and tackling first before the toys (WRs and other stars who touch the ball regularly) second. And with that said…
I am huge fan of Odell Beckham Jr.
I spent my time growing up in the 1970’s when the WR wasn’t. It was the TE, Bob Tucker. So a star WR like Beckham is an embarrassment of riches.
You may not believe this, but this is the first time a full blog post has been dedicated to discussing this polarizing player. Yes, in 3 years as a blockbuster pro, we have never spent an entire post on Beckham. Sure, there have been plenty of tweets. But this kind of discussion requires a lot more than 140 characters of micro-blogging.
Let’s get this right out there in the open. If we had to do the 2014 NFL Draft all over again and the Titans were on the clock, and they chose… Odell Beckham Jr., I would run to the podium and select Taylor Lewan. He was, in fact, the guy we wanted then and the guy we would probably still take now.
@bigblueview I luv OBJ, he’s a Superstar, yet I still take Lewan. Why? Bcuz TL will be on your roster in 10 yrs, not sure about WRs.
— Andy Furman (@UltimateNYG) December 6, 2014
OBJ’s biggest crime is the position he plays. Ever since the NFL started letting Offensive Linemen hold without getting called for a penalty, it has exalted the Wide Receiver to rock star. It wasn’t always that way. Even to this day, the NFL is the best team sport out there. Unlike Basketball (on the opposite end of the spectrum), where one player can truly transform a team overnight, football is about 53 guys and 10 coaches. It is a coordinated & choreographed ballet where the perfectly timed movements of 11 men are set to one goal. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view) this means in this Century of the NFL that 10 players serve to get to the ball to the 11th player, the Wide Receiver, who is the one who gets the glory. He’s the one who carries the rock into the end zone and gets to do the celebration. Yes, team celebrations are coming back, can’t wait 😉
Wide Receiver is the drug of choice. These are the NFL’s true alpha males. QBs are coddled so that you can’t even breathe on them the wrong way. They are allowed to chuck it up 50 times per game without nearly as much worry. The Wide Receiver is allowed to run free and corral pass after pass. Unshackled from marauding assassins due to concussion edicts, the wideout is able to run straight into our living rooms.
Enter OBJ. His mother was a track star. We would have loved him out of the draft (our analyst ranked him 18th, he was picked 12th in the Draft) if not for his relatively small size. We simply did not see his freakish quickness. That first step is lightning. He is one of the greatest talents to arrive on the gridiron. And he is a NY Giant.
It is going to stay that way. I do not wish to make the change. I am happy, very very very happy he is on my team making other teams’ lives miserable. In the Age of the Wide Receiver, he is the big enchilada, with as much if not more skill than the best WR ever to play the game, Jerry Rice.
And that is the rub on Odell. If he wants to achieve the potential of Rice, he needs to grow up. He’s 24 years old going on ~16. It is all about fulfilling his mouthwatering potential. It means losing the temper tantrums, losing the NFL fines, and yes losing the drops in key games so that he can become the best WR ever to suit up. Right now he is on a trajectory to be the best WR without a title.
So much of sports (and life) is fulfilling potential. A guy like David Diehl who is drafted in Round 5 and starts at Guard, and then is able to make the move to Left tackle, now that is overachievement. That is reaching your potential and so much more. Diehl started every game of his rookie season (which alone for a Round 5 pick is unusual). He played 11 seasons with 160 starts, and was a big part of 2 championship rings. He was not perfect by any means (see the last drive of XLII). The point is that the NFL is all about getting guys that can play to their potential, wherever they are picked and whoever they are. OBJ, as fantastic a player as he is, has not reached his potential. He would probably be the first to acknowledge that. He needs to do more.
The NFL is a true team sport. The NFL salary cap reinforces that nature of a team. You can only allocate so much money to any one player without sacrificing the good of the rest of the team. We have consistently reminded our readership that the NY Giants have to win now while they have the huge advantage of a superstar getting paid rookie compensation. That cap room allowed GM Jerry Reese, who has routinely screwed up the draft in earlier years this decade, to collect some terrific (but high priced) Free Agents named Damon Harrison, Olivier Vernon and Janoris Jenkins.
What happens when the Giants pay off Odell when they renew his contract? The rest of the team will suffer. Fewer stars will be fed. More stars will play elsewhere. That is the cap. The Giants need a title right now in 2017 because the immature OBJ will be a challenge for any GM to handle when the GM must allocate fewer resources to the remaining players.
This is the logic for why Pete Furman would have the Gmen ship OBJ out. It is not a bad choice. If the Giants can collect a significant booty for his rights, Pete says goodbye to the WR.
I do not think that is necessary. Reese has to draft better. The 2016 Draft was strong and is a major reason why the Giants are in the conversation for a Super Bowl this season. Reese has to consistently do a better job. He is doing some good things. 2017 Round 3 pick Davis Webb can be the future QB. Reese traded up to the 33rd slot in the 2015 draft and got the bees knees, Landon Collins. If Odell is the Round 1 sizzle, then Collins is the Round 2 steak. Collins, in contrast to Odell, is playing at a high level without the distraction and without the (future WR monster) cap hit. It is possible to live with Odell’s (future) cap hit. Odell just needs to grow up.
There is an answer.
— Andy Furman (@UltimateNYG) July 29, 2017
Everyone has gone nuts about the star’s remarks about his next contract. The media were only too happy to get the eyeballs when OBJ asked for #1 NFL money. “Who does he think he is, a QB?!” Well no, he thinks he is a Wide Receiver. He’s been enabled by the state of the NFL in 2017. Take talent, plenty of effort, amazing accomplishments, plus immaturity and what do you get? A WR diva. The media loves their divas. It is a wonder we hear anything about football.
Pay Odell. Give him the proper incentives. Give him the Bill Parcells rant contract- it is about titles. It is not about you and your money. It is about championships. It is about honoring your OL when you score a TD, not turning your back on the other 10 guys while you face the stands in the end zone. I’d give OBJ a monster contract that CAN pay him #1 money IF he delivers me titles. That is the leadership the GM must get when he pays bonanza franchise money to a single player.
The fans of the other 31 NFL teams love to trash this player. A dollop of schadenfreude takes the mind off one’s own team’s failings when OBJ implodes. Truth be told, the only player who can stop OBJ is OBJ. This is why his potential matters so much. He must be coached and managed properly so that his otherworldly powers are harnessed. Let’s remember, he has never had any problems with the law, and he truly has a special heart. Like an immature teenager, he gets distracted. He spends way too much time focused on himself. The fines are a symptom of that. The contract talk is another.
Beckham will grow up. I do not know when. He must make it all football and all about winning championships. Put the blinders on. Stop getting sucked into traps and suckered into personal fouls. Be content to draw 3 players so that Shepard, Engram and Marshall kill them in single coverage. Take your offensive line out to dinner when they keep Eli upright all game.
Right now, it is NY Giants 4. They have four titles. Odell Beckham is the star who can help deliver #5 and #6 and … Is he worth insane money? Is he worth more than a QB? If he can deliver titles, yes. If he can’t mature and bring the NY Giants more rings, then no. It is fairly well understood that Odell Beckham is the greatest NY Giants talent since Lawrence Taylor. LT was a part of a decade of ultracompetitive teams that helped deliver TWO of those four titles. LT would be just another great player without those titles. When you have that otherworldly talent, it means very little if you do not channel every ounce of energy into delivering titles. This is why players like LT and Jerry Rice are on another level. Beckham can get there too but he needs to win titles. Pay OBJ to win titles. That is a good deal for both sides.