Odell Beckham Jr. fact or fiction: What’s real about his Giants future?

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ESPN - Odell Beckham Jr. is getting traded. He’s holding out. He’s doing drugs. He’s never going to play again. He wants to be the highest-paid player in the NFL. He’s an alien who’s come to destroy our universe.

It’s getting hard to track fact and fiction these days with the New York Giantswide receiver. Beckham is a lightning rod, even when he doesn’t do or say anything, which was the case over the weekend.

Giants co-owner John Mara took the previously far-fetched notion that Beckham could be traded and turned it into a plausible reality. Asked whether it was possible, prior to the NFL’s annual owners meeting, that Beckham could be on another team’s roster when the season begins, Mara said: “I can’t answer that one way or the other. We’re certainly not shopping him. Again, when you’re coming off a season when you’re 3-13 and played as poorly as we played, I wouldn’t say that anyone is untouchable.”

Let the imaginations run wild off that one. Maybe Beckham is an alien trying to destroy our universe? Or maybe not?

Let’s separate fact from fiction where we stand today:

Will Beckham be a Giant when the season begins?

The answer probably is yes. Nothing is guaranteed, but the odds favor Beckham being with the Giants this year and beyond. Many things would have to fall into place quickly in order for Beckham to be jettisoned from the team that drafted him 12th overall in 2014 by the time Week 1 rolls around in September. Any deal would almost certainly have to be made before next month’s draft because it would have to include some valuable draft picks. Possible but not likely.

Are the Giants looking to trade him?

As Mara said, they are not actively looking to trade Beckham. General manager Dave Gettleman emphatically stated at his introductory news conference when asked about the enigmatic wide receiver that you “don’t quit on talent.” Beckham is overloaded with talent. The Giants know this. They’re aware he’s their best player. They averaged 23 points in the three games in which he handled a normal workload last season. They averaged 13.6 points in the other 13 games when he was either limited or out with an injury. And just look at Eli Manning’s stats with and without him in the lineup. Staggering.

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Will the Giants listen to offers for Beckham?

Yes! This was the big news from the weekend. Mara essentially opened the window and yelled for all potential suitors to submit their best offer. Get ready. At least a few will come, maybe even this week when all the owners and general managers are in one place at the meetings in Orlando, Florida.

What does Beckham want?

A long-term deal that pays him a lot of money. And yesterday. Beckham said last year that he wanted to be the highest-paid player in the NFL. He knows that is not realistic at this time, but he does believe he deserves to be the highest-paid wide receiver in football by a wide margin: Think in the $20 million-per-season range with guaranteed money over $60 million. It doesn’t mean Beckham will get that, but it’s what he wants.

How much did the video hurt?

It certainly didn’t help. When asked about the video, Mara said he’s “tired of answering questions about Odell’s behavior and what the latest incident is. I think he knows what we expect of him, and now it’s up to him.” Giants co-owner Steve Tisch says he hopes Beckham is with the Giants in 2018 and calls the recent video “background noise.” He said of a potential long-term contract: “At the moment, conversations between Dave Gettleman and Odell’s representatives are at the earliest, most premature stages.” Let’s just say Beckham lost some leverage after that one. He may even have to show up now in the spring to prove that he’s a good teammate and leader and prove that his ankle is healthy in order for the team to even start negotiating.

Is there a deadline?

Nope. The Giants don’t need to sign Beckham to a new deal, but the situation could lead to a headache with the constant attention a standoff brings. Beckham is under contract this season for $8.5 million and they have the franchise tag in their pocket for the next two seasons. If the Giants want to play hardball, they can. Beckham can either sit out or play under these conditions.

Is it realistic for Beckham to hold out?

Absolutely. He was never going to step onto the field in a live drill or game situation without a new contract. Why would he risk more than $60 million guaranteed for the $8.5 million he’s due this season? And he’s especially not doing it after twice seeing his career flash before his eyes last season. Beckham badly injured his ankle in a preseason game against the Browns and then suffered a broken ankle in a Week 5 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. It would be foolish for him to risk that much money again, especially in the spring or summer. He also has that record-setting Nike deal in his back pocket, which would allow him to absorb the short-term financial hit that comes with a holdout.