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Odell Beckham Jr. is angling for a new, lucrative long-term deal with the New York Giants. And when negotiations begin, all he needs to do is walk into a Meadowlands conference room and replay Sunday night’s game. He’ll walk out with a whole lot more zeroes than he already has.
Beckham, sidelined Sunday night with a high ankle sprain, could only watch as the Giants flailed in his absence, losing to Dallas 19-3 in a game that wasn’t even that close. Eli Manning tried to make stars out of Sterling Shepard and rookie Evan Engram, with little effect, and new Giant Brandon Marshall didn’t make his first catch until there were eight seconds left in the game. The Giants’ D was as strong as advertised, largely containing Dallas’s new Big Three of Dak Prescott, Dez Bryant, and Ezekiel Elliott, but the offense couldn’t move anywhere but backwards.
The Giants’ first-half stats were grim indeed: two first downs, zero-for-five on third-down efficiency, 33 yards passing, not a single drive that crossed New York’s own 35-yard-line. The Giants began the second half with a drive that lasted nine minutes, 44 seconds, a slog that died just short of the goal line and ended in a field goal. The rest of the second half was an ineffective mess, with little hope evident for a rapid turnaround.
Meantime, with Beckham out, Dallas’s Cole Beasley did his best OBJ impression, catching a pass by holding it against his own nameplate on his back:
It’s not that Beckham would have caught everything thrown his way. Indeed, the Giants have problems that go far deeper than Beckham’s absence, starting with a porous O-line. But what makes Beckham so dangerous is his potential. No other player in the NFC East—indeed, only a couple in the entire NFL—can shift the entire complexion of a defense simply by lining up. Beckham can break any given play for an 80-yard monster, and that forces a defense to account for anything up to and including once-in-a-generation catches.
Beckham is still playing under his initial four-year, $10.4 million contract, which runs through 2018. He’s guaranteed that $10.4 million, and stands to make $8.5 million next season. Not bad, but not even close to comparable to the five-year, $70 million extensions Julio Jones, Dez Bryant, and Demaryius Thomas have all received in recent years, or the four-year, $68 million deal Antonio Brown signed earlier this year.
“He’s gonna get paid a lot of money at the appropriate time,” Giants owner John Mara said earlier this summer. “You can argue that the appropriate time is now, but you can argue both sides of that, I guess. It’ll happen when it happens.” The Giants could also now argue that it needs to happen sooner rather than later.
Going forward, New York has no opportunity to coast. Next week, they’ll play an unexpectedly powerful Detroit team, followed by the Eagles and Buccaneers. The Giants don’t get a near-guaranteed non-playoff team until Week 10, in November. They need Beckham back, healthy, and contributing long before that.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.