It’s no secret that Odell Beckham has been the most lethal part of the New York Giants’ offense since entering the league back in 2014. He racked up a ridiculous 4,122 yards from 2014-16, his first three years as a pro. That’s excluding an additional 302 yards accrued during the four games from his injury-shortened 2017.
But there have been bumps in the road, as injuries and theatrics have made it more difficult to enjoy those mind-boggling numbers.
He started his rookie campaign by missing the entire preseason and an additional four regular season games due to a partially torn hamstring suffered during spring workouts.
After a few more minor ailments in between, he suffered an ankle injury prior to that in the preseason, costing him the final two preseason matchups and the season opener. After briefly returning for just four games, his 2017 season ended prematurely thanks to a broken ankle.
Beyond those bumps and bruises are some character concerns, as the outspoken receiver has had his share of the spotlight for the wrong reasons at times.
Beckham threw hands with then-Panthers corner Josh Norman during a play and then again after the whistle back in 2015, an encounter which grabbed headlines and resulted in a brief suspension from the league. The feud between the two has had multiple chapters since as well.
He also had his notorious bout with a kicking net, as videos that circled the web showed him throwing a tantrum on the sideline that ended up with a kicking net ricocheting back into his face.
Now, despite his generational talent, all of the bad comes to light as the receiver seeks an extension from the only franchise he’s ever known. The team is inclined to hand him a significant payday and they’ll absolutely have to pay the man, given the deals Mike Evans and DeAndre Hopkins landed recently.
The Giants now have to think long and hard about just how to go about this situation, as Beckham’s public image doesn’t exactly match what any franchise, especially the New York Giants, want as their franchise cornerstone.
With Saquon Barkley in the picture, the dilemma will become much clearer for both parties.
Barkley has taken and will continue to take a lot of pressure off of the receiver, as the Penn State running back is constantly swamped with media attention twenty-four-seven.
Despite being a rookie, Barkley is known not just for his ridiculous abilities as an athlete but also for his remarkable character traits and maturity beyond his years. Nobody has a bad thing to say about him.
With that praise heaped on Barkley, he can not only do things on the field to help the team but he can also help the team and the ex-LSU receiver partially fix his woes.
Though Odell Beckham Jr. is a veteran when compared to a rookie Saquon Barkley, spending time around the running back could change Odell’s attitude on the field and in the locker room.
When asking for his new deal, he could gain a ton of leverage if he can carry himself more like Saquon Barkley and less like Chad Ochocinco. Don’t get me wrong, Ochocinco was quite the player but not exactly the best character example to parade around as the franchise’s pride and joy.
Beckham’s injury concerns would still loom large, but that kind of talent does speak for itself without having glaring character concerns to leading to disfunction. He’d have to command one of, if not the largest payday anyone has thrust towards any receiver ever.
If things remain as is, Beckham will receive a very nice offer from the Giants that may not be up to his standards, given that Dave Gettleman, John Mara, and company need to weigh the good with the bad when opening the team’s checkbook.
If Barkley can help Beckham clean up his demeanor and lessen the antics that have him all over Barstool, maybe he can actually one day become the clear-cut best receiver in the league.
Saquon doesn’t have to go out of his way to guide Beckham on this, as it would be a ridiculous proposition for anyone to do this regardless of the fact that Barkley is a rookie and Beckham is entering his fifth professional season.
Just being around Barkley, watching how he handles his business on and off the gridiron, just being his teammate could be enough. Beckham could see the error in his ways and change in a short period of time, helping his own case for a better payday as well as helping the team for the long haul.
It’s no secret that Odell Beckham Jr. is one of the league’s most dynamic players at the moment, and maybe even ever. If his character improved thanks to Saquon Barkley’s presence in his life, even if it is just the slightest bit, it legitimizes New York’s future as well as satisfies Beckham’s financial desires.
It would also make it a lot easier for the Giants to cut a big check for him after this season.