Greason: New York shouldn’t trade Odell Beckham Jr. right now
Elizabeth Greason | Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Odell Beckham Jr. is a Giant, through and through. The trade talks surrounding the controversial figure, although they stem from a slightly warranted place, should come to an end as the offseason goes on. Assuming he returns to the shape he was in before he got injured — as one of the top receivers in the NFL — the Giants would be foolish to trade away one of their top assets, even if he has caused them some significant issues off the field.
After their abysmal showing last season, the Giants need to prioritize performance over problems. So as long as Beckham can return to his pre-injury form, let the wide receiver do what he wants, as long as he isn’t breaking any rules or laws. He doesn’t need to be the most well-liked receiver in the NFL as long as he’s one of the most effective. As long as he is performing, there should be no talk of trading Beckham.
I understand why the talk began. The video of Beckham with a substance that appeared to be cocaine, combined with his antics on the field that yielded numerous fines last season before he suffered a season-ending injury in Week 5, was problematic to say the least and would have been sufficient for termination in most lines of work.
However, the new front office at the Meadowlands has made it quite clear that Beckham’s history of troubling behavior will no longer be tolerated, so if he wants to stay in New York, he will need to rein it in. And if he wants to sign the largest contract in the NFL, which he may have been poised to do in the offseason before he hurt himself, he’ll need to keep his tongue, his touchdown celebrations and his off-the-field festivities in check.
The new management set a precedent of handing out second chances this offseason by keeping on cornerback Eli Apple, the team’s resident “cancer,” as his performance was nowhere near as important or as impressive as Beckham’s.
Now, I am not endorsing Beckham’s behavior. I’m not saying players should be allowed to pretend to act like dogs in the endzone or run their mouths or be seen with questionable substances. What I am endorsing is second (and third and fourth) chances and putting the team first. Beckham is certainly not the first NFL player to be given a bit too much lenience, so as long as he is held from now on to the same standard as his fellow Giants, there should be no issue.
The bottom line is that Odell Beckham Jr. deserves a chance to prove he can control himself as a Giant for another year after returning from his injury with this newfound pressure to behave hanging over his head before the talk of sending him elsewhere begins. Sure, the Giants still have holes to fill and a Beckham trade could certainly yield some top players, but giving Eli Manning his favorite target back could also play a major role in helping the squad turn the tide.
Keeping Beckham on their roster may be something the Giants live to regret. However, I truly believe leveraging his talent on the open market right now would be a mistake.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.