Odell Beckham Jr.’s five-year contract extension hasn’t even kicked in yet, and The Athletic’s Jay Glazer is predicting the New York Giants will trade the superstar receiver.
You don’t even need to ask. Yes, the New England Patriots should try to acquire Beckham for one very simple reason.
And before we even get into it, I’ll throw out a prediction myself: The vocal majority of Patriots fans will scoff at this notion, stating they don’t need a diva receiver destroying their model franchise from within. Pfffft. Beckham is really, really good. And he’ll be even better catching passes from quarterback Tom Brady.
So, what’s that simple reason why the Patriots should trade for Beckham? Value. The Giants signed Beckham to a five-year, $90 million contract with a $20 million signing bonus. That $20 million already has been paid out.
The team acquiring Beckham will essentially be getting him on a five-year, $77 million deal. That’s $15.4 million in average annual salary. Beckham would go from first among wide receivers in average annual salary to sixth behind Antonio Brown, Mike Evans, Brandin Cooks, DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins.
Would you rather have Beckham or Cooks? How about Beckham or Watkins?
The Patriots currently have just enough cap space to take on Beckham’s $17 million cap hit, though they would need to create some space to make other moves. One obvious way to create cap room is by releasing tight end Dwayne Allen and his bloated 2019 salary. Another move is to get quarterback Tom Brady to agree to a contract extension and pay cut.
Do you know how to convince your quarterback to make such a deal? Acquire a wide receiver like Beckham, whom Brady respects.
If tight end Rob Gronkowski indeed retires, that would open up the need for an offensive playmaker while also creating cap space.
Beckham does come with some risk. He’s played in just 16 games over the past two seasons, though he has averaged 6.4 catches, 84.6 yards and .56 touchdowns per game in that span. Prior to the last two years, Beckham widely was considered the brightest star receiver in the NFL for good reason.
He caught four passes for 104 yards with a touchdown in one regular season game against the Patriots. Here’s what Belichick had to say about him before that game in 2015.
“Good, really quick, tough kid, goes inside for the ball, very good after the catch, makes a lot of plays with the ball in his hands,” Belichick said. “He’s a hard guy to tackle, has good quickness and a good ability to separate, but I’d say the thing that’s impressed me the most about him is his toughness. He’s not a big guy, but he competes well, he goes inside, goes after the ball, takes a hit, hangs on to it. He’s a tough competitive player and very good with the ball in his hands, not just going up and getting it, he’s got obviously a bunch of highlight catches, but when he catches the ball he can run with it and make plays with his quickness and with his open-field running ability.”
Beckham is what some would consider a diva receiver. But so was Randy Moss, and that trade panned out pretty well for the Patriots. Players tend to act differently when they’re playing alongside Brady and under head coach Bill Belichick.
The Patriots should be maximizing the final years of Brady’s effectiveness. Trading a first-round pick (plus probably more) for five years of Beckham would be a bargain.
Giving a player a $20 million signing bonus and trading him a year later is bad business. Acquiring a star player on a reduced salary — reputation be damned — is smart. If any team would at least reach out about Beckham’s availability, it’s the Patriots.
Thumbnail photo via Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports Images