EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Odell Beckham Jr. wants to get paid, just like Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald and Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell. He just plans to take a different path to that second contract.
While Donald reportedly isn’t at Rams camp and Bell isn’t currently with the Steelers, Beckham was on the field working with his New York Giants teammates Friday during their first training camp practice of the summer. This is his approach even though he expressed a desire to be the highest-paid player in the NFL in a recent UNINTERRUPTED video.
“I don’t have time [to hold out],” Beckham said Friday. “I’m 24 years old. I’m trying to play football until I can’t play football anymore. I can’t get caught up taking days and not playing.
“Le’Veon is in a different situation. He’s been doing this. He’s a running back. Their career expectancy is a little shorter due to stats and all that. Le’Veon is a guy who has proved himself time and time again. … I hope Le’Veon gets the highest contract a running back has ever had in history of the entire NFL.
“… I’m not here to hold out. I’m here to practice. I’m here to get better each and every day. I feel I have stuff I can improve on, stuff I need to work on, and really stuff I’m willing to work on.”
It helps that Beckham just signed a lucrative Nike deal and is set to make more than $10 million this year in endorsements. That helps digest the below-market $1.8 million he is scheduled to make this season.
“It definitely made me comfortable,” Beckham said of the Nike deal he signed in May. “It definitely was helpful at the right time. I’ve got a family to take care of.”
Beckham, 24, is entering his fourth professional season. This offseason was the first year he was eligible for a contract extension, but the Giants and Beckham have not engaged in contract talks.
Giants owner John Mara said there was no timetable for a new deal and that Beckham would be paid the right amount at the right time.
“He deserves to be paid,” Mara said, “and we’re going to pay him. … I just don’t feel like there is any need to rush into it. But he’s going to end up getting paid at some point.”
Mara did note that he couldn’t envision a scenario where a wide receiver is the highest-paid player in the NFL.
On Friday, Beckham talked about wanting to change things for NFL players after sitting and watching the deals NBA players were getting this summer. He also admitted not knowing much about the NFL contract process.
Asked if the desire for a record-breaking contract is something he talked about often with his agent, Beckham expressed his desire to concentrate on training camp after skipping organized team activities earlier this offseason.
“I really just came here to play football and be the very [best] that I can be this year,” he said. “I have to go out another year and prove myself. That is just what I have to do. That’s the position I’m in. That’s all I can do is go out and play. I can’t sit there and worry about getting a contract or not getting a contract.”
Thursday’s video came about due to a partnership Beckham has with UNINTERRUPTED and its owner Maverick Carter, a close confidant and business partner of Beckham’s friend LeBron James. Beckham said he doesn’t think the video will be a distraction and is under the impression everything he does is put under the microscope.
“I think everybody in the locker room knows what is going on,” Beckham said. “I don’t think there is any missing information between me and the team. We all know what is going on. If I talk, it’s a distraction. If I don’t talk, it’s a distraction. So what am I supposed to do?
“I’m going to speak my mind. I’m going to say how I feel. I’m going to answer pretty much whatever you ask. And that is just it. Everybody in that locker room knows what is going on. They know why I’m here. They know it is nothing but love. I have nothing but love for them. They love me back no matter what. It’s the same way all the way around. There is nothing that can really get between me and my teammates.”