ORLANDO This is about to explode.
John Mara’s hard line Sunday on Odell Beckham Jr.’s behavior and tenuous future with the Giants, combined with Beckham’s promise Monday morning to hold out if he doesn’t receive a long-term contract extension, has set the table for fireworks to go off here at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes Orlando.
NFL owners and GMs and coaches all are convened here into Wednesday, rubbing elbows and talking shop and feeling out their counterparts and strengthening existing relationships.
You had better believe, after Mara’s and Beckham’s comments, that GMs around the league will be feeling out the Giants on a price, which could very well come at a discount (only a first-round pick, perhaps?), just as the Jason Pierre-Paul trade with Tampa did with a player New York wanted off its roster.
You also must understand that this will not be the beginning of such chatter. Mara’s comments on Sunday were not new feelings. It was simply new that he said it publicly. And as Mara said, while the Giants aren’t shopping Beckham, they’re certainly willing to listen or to continue listening, if you will, to interested teams.
Make no mistake, either: there are plenty of teams that will view Beckham differently than the Giants, the team that has employed him for his entire four-year career.
The Giants are in the middle of a cultural overhaul and rebuild. There are plenty of other teams, though, that have a need for a gamebreaking star at wide receiver like Beckham and would be more comfortable paying him the mega-deal that he is seeking a contract Mara made pretty clear isn’t coming from the Giants anytime soon.
So, potential suitors: eliminate the NFC East and the Jets. The Giants are not going to trade Beckham in division or let the Jets win big with their former star in their own stadium and make them look bad down the road.
But that leaves plenty of parties:
The Los Angeles Rams would be arguably impossible to stop with offensive guru Sean McVay calling the plays and Beckham sprinting regularly into the end zone.
Kyle Shanahan’s San Francisco 49ers could light the league on fire with Jimmy Garoppolo throwing to OBJ.
The Buffalo Bills could have the draft capital to swing a deal and could help out AJ McCarron and a likely rookie quarterback draft pick by picking up a shiny new toy.
The Baltimore Ravens need a wide receiver every year.
And file this away, there are two general managers so far that Dave Gettleman has made trades with as Giants GM: the Rams’ Les Snead and the Tampa Buccaneers’ Jason Licht. And the Bucs just signed Mike Evans to a mega contract at receiver.
On the trade price, remember this, too: any team that trades for Beckham is going to have to spend a lot of money signing him to his long-term contract extension. So knowing Mara is listening to offers on Beckham and given the JPP precedent on top of teams facing that type of investment if they acquire Beckham there is plenty of reason to argue that the Giants could receive lower-than-believed offers and also that they could accept one.
And who knows, maybe nothing gets done this week here in Orlando. Maybe a blockbuster lands with a thunderbolt just prior to April’s NFL draft. But recognize: all the ingredients are there for this to happen.
As the Daily News has been reporting, while trading Beckham isn’t Mara’s or the Giants’ preferred course of action given Beckham’s talent level, there absolutely is a significant possibility that Beckham could be on another NFL team this coming season because of the dynamics at play.
Inside the Giants: they are reshaping their locker room; they are “tired,” as Mara reminded everyone Sunday, of the negative non-football related headlines; they have warned Beckham again and again; Mara was already at his breaking point in January. Then on Sunday he doubled down.
Mara’s comment when asked if Beckham might not be on the team in 2018 “I can’t answer that one way or the other” wasn’t even the most telling part of his interview.
The most telling part was Mara’s long pause after the question was asked. Every reporter who may have had their heads in their phones looked up after the few seconds of silence between the question and Mara’s response.
This is real.
And outside the Giants, just like inside the building in East Rutherford, Beckham is regarded as a world-class talent, regardless of what you want to say about his off-field behavior.
There is a market. And the Giants are the sellers.