Odell Beckham, Jr. – © USA TODAY Sports
AS OBJ TRADE RUMORS PERSIST, PAT SHURMUR AND DAVE GETTLEMAN ADDRESS MEDIA…
Conflicting media sources are reporting that the New York Giants are and are not fielding trade offers for Odell Beckham, Jr., the supremely-talented wide receiver who also has a knack for generating off-the-field controversy. Beckham is entering the last year of his rookie contract with $8,459,000 in salary. There have been unverified reports that Beckham intends to holdout until he receives an extremely lucrative contract extension.
The NFL Network is reporting that while the Giants are listening to offers from several teams, it is not clear that the Giants actually want to trade Beckham.
At the NFL Annual Meeting on Tuesday, Head Coach Pat Shurmur said he spoke with Beckham in California last week. “We just got an opportunity to sit down and talk,” Shurmur said. “I had a chance to share my thoughts on all topics Odell, other than football certainly, and it was a good visit. He showed me his favorite restaurants in town and we just got a chance to get to know one another. He’s a very charismatic guy, I think he really cares and I’m looking forward to working with him… We all understand this time of year (due to League rules) you can’t talk football, but there was a good meeting and I felt like I got to know him a little better. Again, the only way you get to know somebody is by visiting with them, and I got a good sense or a little better sense of who he is.
“I’ve got a good radar on people. I’ve got a good radar on what’s going on this morning here. I think that’s why it’s important as coaches and players and anybody that is working together that you get a chance to visit and get to know one another. I really don’t think you can know somebody by just seeing reports, reading reports, hearing what people think and say. I think it’s really important, especially in the player-coach relationship, that I get to know him.
“I think we always want weapons. Obviously, he’s been an outstanding player, especially the first three years. So certainly, we want really, really good players. We want guys that are passionate about playing the game, we want guys that understand the importance of relationships, which means they want to be coached, and we want guys that understand that it is important to be a good teammate. Those are the things that we are looking for in a player.”
The Giants’ offseason program begins on April 9th.
“It’s my understanding that he will be there,” Shurmur said. “We couldn’t talk about that, but I’m looking forward to seeing him when we get going.”
Beckham is coming off a serious ankle injury that he suffered last October and which required surgery.
“I think he is on track coming back from his injury,” said Shurmur. “All reports are he will be ready to go at some point here in the training… Ready to go as we get going, so there are steps he’s got to take, but all indications are he will be back healthy by the time we start playing in September.”
General Manager Dave Gettleman also addressed the media at the NFL Annual Meeting on Tuesday.
“I just want to make a couple comments and, please, I’m not talking down on anybody,” Gettleman said. “There are 53 guys on every active NFL roster. Football is the ultimate team game – 11 guys go out there, they blow the whistle, if you’re the defense and 10 guys do it right and one guy does it wrong, you’re looking at a touchdown. Same thing on the other side of the ball, and same thing on special teams. It is the ultimate team game.
“Every decision we make will be in the best interest of the New York Football Giants. I want you guys to understand something, I’m not going to discuss any aspects of contracts, I’m not going to talk timelines, I’m not going to talk progress. I’m not going there. I didn’t do it in Carolina and I ain’t doing it up here, plain and simple. One of the most important responsibilities that any GM has is to eliminate internal and external distractions. It’s my responsibility to create the atmosphere that allows players to play and coaches to coach. That is part of my job, and I really believe that. The other thing that I want you to understand is I’m not going to respond to hypotheticals, I’m telling you right now.
“So you’re sitting there saying, ‘Well, what is Dave doing? What is he talking about?’’ In the past two days there have been two reports about Odell that have been floated – that he won’t take the field without an extension, and the Rams are interested in trading for him. I understand the reports, people are going to print stuff, I get it. But, I want you to understand this – neither Odell nor his agent have contacted us regarding either report. So to be clear – I’m not going to respond to questions about either report, and as I stated earlier, every decision I make is going to be made in the best interest of the New York Football Giants. So, with that being said, let’s talk football.”
Gettleman was asked about a controversial video of Beckham that circulated recently on social media.
“What was your response to it?” Gettleman said. “It came out, it’s a video, I’m an old man and have bad eyes, I see this seven-second thing flashing in front of my face. All I saw was the pizza.”
Gettleman was then asked if he wants Beckham on his team.
“I’m not going there,” Gettleman responded and later added, “The bottom line is, Ernie (Accorsi) taught me this and I told you guys this, you don’t quit on talent. He’s on our team… The kid works his fanny off. His rehab is going terrific. He sends us pictures and video. He’ll send us a video of him running. He is an excellent worker.”
Some other issues addressed by Shurmur:
- On if the Giants are rebuilding: “I don’t think that is the case. Dave and I have spoken about this and we really believe this, we want to make our team better one move at a time. I think that’s what we’re trying to do. I don’t believe that narrative that it’s a reboot, that it’s a rebuild. We’re trying to make this year’s New York Football Giants. I like saying that, New York Football Giants. The New York Football Giants (will be) as good as we can be going into September, and then we will continue to make moves as we go. This is not kind of a within boundaries-type deal when you shape the roster. It is constantly happening, and we’re going to constantly try to improve our roster. It is obviously on the front burner this time of year.”
- On Eli Manning: “I’ve seen Eli in the building almost every day in the offseason. He’s the fittest, healthiest 37-year old I’ve been around, so I’m looking forward to working with him as well, as well as Davis Webb. I saw some good play (from Manning last year). I think, and we’ve spoken about this, there are some plays on there that can’t happen. But there is a lot of good quarterback play on there. And I think all things New York Football Giants, the guys that are going to be here that were here a year ago have got to play better, and we’re going to add some pieces that we think will help us. And I think Eli is no different. Certainly he is probably near the back part of his career than the front part, just because of age. I know that. But he has been very durable. We can all talk about quarterbacks or point to quarterbacks, even that I’ve worked with, that have had a hard time staying on the field. Eli has stayed on the field. Your availability is huge when you’re talking about a player. That just doesn’t happen. He takes very good care of himself, he lives a clean life, he works out, he stays fit throughout the season, and I’m sure that’s part of it.”
- On drafting Eli’s potential replacement: “I think we are always looking for a young, generational quarterback and I think there are a couple examples of that out there playing, a couple in our division. So, yeah, that’s the urge.”
- On Davis Webb and the team’s voluntary mini-camp (April 24-26) held right before the NFL Draft (April 26-28): “It’ll be a great way for Davis to showcase what he can do. He’s going to get a lot of reps, and he probably would anyway. I don’t want to make this sound like it’s a showcase for Davis Webb, but as a guy that we’re interested in seeing, he’s certainly going to get his fair share of the reps… I think we’re going to take in any information we can all the way up to the time we’re on the clock… I went back and watched his college film to compare him to the guys coming out this year. I went back and revisited my notes from a year ago and we had him rated highly. The unfortunate thing for me is that there’s just not a lot of him playing football in a Giants helmet, which would have been a good thing for me to see moving forward. That is what it is… There is no substitute for experience and even though he was here and didn’t play a bunch, he became experienced in ways that you can’t if you haven’t been there. I’ve got high hopes for him being a productive player in this league. It’s a little bit of an unknown. The advantage we will have though is we get that extra mini-camp right up to the draft.”
- On Penn State RB Saquon Barkley: “He’s equally impressive like the quarterbacks we just talked about. When you watch his tape, you don’t see anything that he can’t do. As a running back, certainly he’s got to do the obvious, be able to run the ball and secure the ball and he’s done that and put the ball in the end zone, which he’s done. He’s really a pretty good pass protector in terms of protecting the quarterback; that’s an important piece, and then he can catch the football as well. He can do everything that you’re looking for in a running back, and he’s a terrific human being, as well. We got to spend some time at the combine, our people have been to see him and I’m certainly going to get to know more about him as we go, as well.”
- On Notre Dame OG Quinton Nelson: “He is an outstanding player. They do a good job at Notre Dame developing their offensive linemen and he’s a local guy of sorts. That really shouldn’t matter, but the fact that he is local, we had a couple exposures with him and he’s wired the right way to play the position, and we certainly like him a great deal.”
- On Ereck Flowers, who is being moved to right tackle: “I’ve actually had a couple (conversations with Flowers). The one that was reported was the one right after we signed Nate. It’s been good. I expressed to him that I knew he was a little bit hurt and he played all year. I think that’s an important piece. I kind of embraced him by saying I think he’s a tough guy, but I also told him that we brought in a guy that’s going to play left tackle and we want him to move over to right and compete to be a player there, and we’re hopeful that he is going to be one of our best five (linemen).”
- On CB Eli Apple, who had both off-field and on-field issues in 2017: “We’re looking forward to working with Eli. It’s a clean slate. I think that’s safe to say. As we get to know everybody, it’s a clean slate. Again, we’re going to try to develop relationships with the players from the very beginning, or as soon as we can visit with them and try to work with them to be the best they can be. I think when you have sometimes younger players that are thrust into an NFL setting in a big town with a lot of attention, we’ve got to be willing to work with them in all areas of their game and their life, and Eli is a player that is no different than anybody else.”
Some other issues addressed by Gettleman:
- On the team’s #2 pick: “Have we had calls (from teams seeking to trade for the pick)? Yes. But we haven’t set our board yet. It’s about when you’re drafting, when you’re signing unrestricted free agents, it’s all about value, it really, truly is… This is the second pick in the draft. We really have to picture this guy putting on a gold jacket because if we can’t picture that… I remember my very first year in the league when I was with the Bills, we had the third pick of the draft. Dick Roach, a hell of a DB coach, made the statement, ‘We’re not talking about, is this guy the third best player of this draft? Is this guy worthy of being the third pick of any draft?’ So that is the conversation that we are having. When we set the board and have our conversations, is that guy worthy of being the second pick in the draft? Can we picture him some day putting on a gold jacket?”
- On if any quarterback taken with the #2 pick has to compare with with quarterbacks in other drafts: “You have to. It’s like when teams reach. (They say), ‘We need a defensive tackle.’ And they reach for a guy, and maybe he’s a really good two-down player, really good run player, and they’re hoping he’ll develop into a pass rusher. No, you can’t do that. You think about quarterbacks, the area code we’re picking in, does he make everybody else better? Is he the guy? Can he do what Eli did? Two minutes left in the Super Bowl and he takes that team down the field – boop. You’ve got to be able to picture that.”
- On Penn State RB Saquon Barkley: “It’s unusual, I’m telling you. He can string together moves and get in and out of stuff. It’s funny, I (evaluated) him right before I came down. He’s unique. No doubt about it. He’s big, he’s powerful, he can step on the gas, he’s got different levels of speed and he catches the heck out of the ball, and he sees the blitz pick-up stuff.”
- On if the Giants are rebuilding: “It’s about winning. Someone told one of the reporters that I’m going to tear down. Let’s spend $62.5 million on Nate Solder, spending the money on Patrick Omameh, we’re not trading for Alec Ogletree if we’re in tear down, we’re not going that. It’s about we’ve evaluated the roster, we’ve developed a plan moving forward, it’s about winning now. Who wants to lose? I don’t.”