Not blogging regularly has its advantages. This way, the stories come into your lap. The latest is Odell Beckham Jr.
Of course if you want to keep up with our NY Giants thoughts, you can always follow us on Twitter. It was there that we made more than a few comments over the past few months about the OBJ trade. The constant chirping of OBJ forces my hand once again- there is just too much smoke here, so we need to blog about this fire.
I know what some of you are thinking… who cares about him… he’s not a Giant anymore, so let’s move on. That would be true, but OBJ has not moved on. There is too much here. Plus, some of the fallout in the wake of his departure still plays into who the teams is and where it is headed.
Let’s review some of the major OBJ events:
1) August 2018- OBJ signs $95M 5 year contract
2) October 2018- OBJ does ESPN interview, throws Eli and the Offense under the bus, questions teammates heart, energy
3) December 2018- OBJ goes down with hamstring injury, misses the last 3 games
4) February 2019- Jay Glazer predicts the NY Giants will trade OBJ
5) March 2019- NY Giants trade OBJ to the Cleveland Browns
So what is new here? OBJ keeps talking, and his latest set of comments pulled me off the NY Giants blog sidelines.
“I just felt with the Giants I was just stuck at a place that wasn’t working for me anymore,” Beckham said. “I felt like I wasn’t going to be able to reach my full potential there. Mentally, physically, spiritually, everything I felt capable of doing, I just couldn’t see it happening there. So I think allowing me to be in an environment where I can be myself and give it a different approach, I feel like my football will benefit. I’m just excited about being able to play football again and not have to deal with all the other stuff and politics that came with my previous role.”
Feel free to accuse me of reading into this a bit too much, but this is where I went off.. when he says he was stuck at a place that wasn’t working for him anymore, this is an admission that he played a role in his own exit. That is the way I read this. OBJ was unhappy and he was ready to move on. I know some of you will think that he is just fitting the new situation around the old material. Feel free to do that. But I am pretty sure that that is the incorrect take here. I will explain why.
First, we have that linked interview with ESPN in October where OBJ expresses his dissatisfaction with his 1-3 team/mates. He expresses his frustration with a limited vertical passing attack. We have chronicled on Twitter and here on this blog how Eli’s skills fell significantly in 2018.
Second, the injury. On a May 13th podcast, Glenn Warciski of UndergroundNYG posited the possibility of Beckham having sat himself out due to injury, given his past history of having done so. While it is speculation, it would certainly be plausible, especially given what Beckham just said.
Third, Jay Glazer. This is a crucial item. Glazer KNEW the Giants were moving Odell Beckham Jr. When he was interviewed in March immediately following the news, he talked about his track record for these prognostications, indicating that his information is air tight when making these kinds of calls. This means the Giants were set in their minds that they were trading OBJ, and it was just a matter of finding the partner (enough compensation not to get completely ripped off) and fit (an AFC team).
So why were the Giants set in their minds to move OBJ? The only really significant things that happened between OBJ’s new contract and the Glazer prediction were the ESPN Interview and the injury. Granted there could have been a 3rd item we do not know about either. It stands to reason that things happened between October and December which soured the Giants on their star WR. Could it have been that one ESPN interview? Possible, but for there to be so much resolve to make the move, it was likely more than just that. This means either something happened with the injury or something else happened to make the Giants close the door on this chapter.
And now we have the quote from OBJ a couple of days ago. The Giants weren’t working for OBJ anymore. Maybe OBJ demanded a trade. Maybe he forced the Giants hand with the injury. OBJ wanted out and he got out. The Giants took a financial hit. They did not get full value for him the trade. They got ripped apart for signing & then trading him a season later. The Giants moved OBJ, knowing they were going to get a black eye. For heaven’s sake, even Mara’s grandchildren took their grandfather to task for trading their favorite player. The Giants were not doing this trade unless they really needed to move on. They really needed to move on.
We have been critical of Gettleman for more than a few moves since taking over as GM (Patrick Omameh, not resigning Collins last year when he could have). Here with OBJ, it seems like all of the pieces of the puzzle are adding up to the WR wanting out and getting out. Gettleman was not a total dope for signing and then trading him. One way or another, OBJ forced Gettleman’s hand.
Separately, note how selfish Beckham’s remarks are. I felt. I was stuck. Working for me. I felt. My potential. I felt capable. I couldn’t. My football. Of course each one of us serves themselves in their job for their employer. We know that the best employees are the ones who put the employer’s interests along side (or even ahead) of their own interests. Frustration or not, that quote reads what he says, that Odell Beckham no longer trusted the team or its teammates and put himself first at some point between October and December. The main takeaway for Giants fans is that I believe it is a mistake to put this separation on the Giants. Odell wanted out and he got out.
The Giants move forward. They drafted QB Daniel Jones, the likely successor to Eli Manning. In the 2018 Draft we argued to take a QB or trade down at 1.02. The Giants did neither, taking Saquon Barkley. I will say once again that QB was the right move at that juncture, even knowing how much we thought of Barkley (#1 on our Draft Board). I suspect that Odell Beckham may have been demoralized by another season with a subpar QB. Eli’s skills faded further in 2018 without the Giants helping OBJ (with a new QB) to help the team win. Yes, I do believe that if the Giants drafted Darnold, that OBJ would be a NY Giant right now. We argued Barkley was a luxury for a team that had too many other needs. Given what OBJ said, and then how he forced himself out of town, the payment for that luxury was made.