ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Wednesday, citing sources, that Beckham is sitting out the voluntary practices because he wants a new contract.
Adding to the speculation, Beckham retweeted a link Tuesday night to an article about Schefter defending the wide receiver. Speaking on ESPN Radio, Schefter said: “If I were Odell Beckham Jr. or I were advising Odell Beckham Jr., I would not show up at an OTA, I would not show up at a mandatory minicamp, I would not show up at a training camp, I would not show up at anything until that contract, which finally can be adjusted for the first time, were made to reflect his value to this team.”
The three-time Pro Bowler is set to earn $1.839 million this season. The Giants have picked up his fifth-year option for 2018, which will pay him about $8 million.
Beckham is widely considered to be one of the top five wide receivers in the NFL, but still playing on his rookie contract, he is paid far less than other star wideouts. The league’s top-paid receiver, Antonio Brown of the Steelers, earns an average of $17 million a year.
Beckham, however, has been a distraction at times both on and off the field, including his 2015 penalty-fest with Josh Norman, his sideline antics last season and the Miami yacht cruise with teammates days before the Giants’ playoff game against Green Bay.
Because he has completed three years on his rookie deal, Beckham is eligible to negotiate a new contract. The Giants are currently about $8 million under the salary cap, according to OverTheCap.com.
Last month, Beckham told NFL Network’s Kimberly Jones that he plans to attend the Giants’ mandatory minicamp, which begins Tuesday. He added, “I love my team and am excited about the season.”
While Beckham has made appearances at the Giants’ offseason program, he has largely worked out in Los Angeles with trainer Jamal Liggin. His contract does not include any bonuses for offseason workouts with the team.
Meanwhile, Giants wide receivers coach Adam Henry said he is focusing on working with the players who are attending OTAs. But Henry added: “I’ve never had a problem with him. When he’s here, he’s a breath of fresh air. That’s it.”
New contract or not, Beckham won’t find himself struggling financially. Last month, he signed a five-year, $29 million contract with Nike, the most lucrative shoe deal for any NFL player.