Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. catches a pass at training camp on Aug. 1, 2018, in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

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Keidel: New Beckham Contract Is Good Business For Giants

Big Blue Will Cash In On Star WR's Talent On And Off The Field

Jason Keidel
August 28, 2018 - 11:37 am
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The suspense is over.

The most popular and productive member of the New York Giants is staying for a while, making circus catches in Big Blue's colors for the next five years. Odell Beckham Jr, the electric wideout who brings spellbinding appeal to a football field and a franchise, signed a $95 million deal, with $65 million guaranteed. 

It's rare that doubters and devotees have valid arguments for and against a move. But whether you are relieved or repulsed by the deal, you must concede that Odell Beckham Jr is good for business, from statistics to sportswriters. 

First, in a financial sense, this contract hits the main nerve of pro sports, and widens cultural the gulf between pampered stars and blue-collar citizens. Making Beckham the highest-paid WR in NFL history just paints the montage of those who fly in private jets around the real world while the rest of us live in it.  Just another twenty-something with precious athletic DNA, another kid with a wild white mane and rainbow body coated in tattoo-parlor technicolor. Beckham is making biblical money to play a game we dreamed of playing as kids, running routes in the snow, fantasizing about catching a perfect spiral from Dan Marino or John Elway or Warren Moon. 

More than a few pundits and bona fide personnel men question the logic behind making it rain on the moody wide receiver, no matter how good he is. Some of the most wise and weathered GMs will say that the game is won at the line of scrimmage, and the farther you get from the center, the more eccentric and, frankly, expendable the player becomes.

MORE: Giants, Beckham Agree On Record 5-Year, $95M Contract

But for all his quirks or neuroses or whatever wiring makes Beckham prime time personality, you can't dispute his star power or his stats. We love to ignore the mantra if the jilted football player, but the NFL is a business. And, to borrow from one of Beckham's high-flying peers, business is booming. Also, with NFL rules bending more and more toward offense, with tackling restrictions making players unable to use their helmets for little more than advertising the team logo, pass-catchers are becoming more vital than ever. 

Beckham is a great football player. He not only finds new ways to turn bad passes into breathless, highlight-reel catches, he also stretches defenses, making it easier for Sterling Sharp and Evan Engram to slither across the middle while Beckham pulls defenders deep down the field. It also loosens the field for prized first-round draft pick, Saquon Barkley, to sneak into the flat and let his marble-hard legs rumble down the gridiron. Like a great baseball hitter whose presence is felt up and down a lineup, Beckham's talent fans out across the field, even to places where you won't find him. He also makes life easier for the most important player on the team, Eli Manning, who now has his most potent weapon on his QB holster for the rest of his career. 

Beckham wanted to get paid for obvious and more nuanced reasons. He's clearly outplayed his rookie deal, so he earned a raise. And he's had to toil by his TV while watching his well-heeled peers were getting rich. Less talented wideouts, from Sammy Watkins (three years, $48 million), Mike Evans (five years, $85 million), Brandin Cooks (five years, $81 million) were soaring past Beckham's salary. Even Beckham's old LSU chum, Jarvis Landry, got a five-year, $75 million deal with $47 million guaranteed. All fine pass-catchers, though not in Beckham's orbit, were signed for an average of $45.6 million in guaranteed cash.  

Only the player Beckham passed as the highest-paid wideout is as good as he is. That would be the man splashed across the cover of the new John Madden video game - Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the eye candy of every fantasy football team. (Julio Jones lost his seat at the table when he caught just four touchdown passes in 2017.) Beckham is also five years younger than Brown, which makes the five-year deal more palatable. 

Unlike Brown, Jones, and Landry, Beckham doesn't always keep his histrionics between the lines. He's spent almost as much time on Page Six as the sports page. His last dance with danger came this offseason, when a viral video showed him in a hotel room with a French model, some pizza, and some white powder, next to a credit card often used to chop said powder for consumption. 

The blowback was felt from France to the Meadowlands. Even as recently as March, there were reports of the John Mara shopping Beckham around the league, exhausted from the headlines and headaches that come with his star player. Still, for all the turbulence on the Good Ship Beckham, he's worth it. 

Even the Giants, an old-school blackboard club in a whiteboard Millennial world, see Beckham not only stretches defense but also opens wallets. More fans come to MetLife because Beckham is there. More fans watch the G-Men on TV because he's on it. The football world marvels at that catch he made against the Cowboys, which no doubt made Beckham an instant sensation. But it says here he made an even better TD grab against the Redskins - his stretched-out body parallel to the ground while somehow snaring the ball and cradling it while his body crashed into the ground. 

Those catches are not only good for highlight reels and talk-show hosts. They are good business for Big Blue, who are going to cash in on Beckham's talent, fame, and economic footprint, and will order countless thousands of No. 13 jerseys for fans who can't wait to wear Beckham's name and number. For the next few years, at least, business is booming at the Meadowlands, the Football Giants, and Odell Beckham Jr. And we're all better off because of it.

Follow Jason on Twitter at @JasonKeidel​