Column: Why Odell Beckham Jr.’s new contract is important for football

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FILE – In this file photo, New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. watches from the sidelines during the fourth quarter of a preseason NFL football game against the New York Jets, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

The New York Giants finally locked up their franchise wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to a 4-year $95 million contract, with $65 million guaranteed, Monday afternoon after the two sides have been negotiating for several months. Now, this is obviously great for Beckham Jr. and his family, but it also sets the market for wide receivers.

Beckham Jr. is now the highest paid player at his position. He will be raking in an average of $18 million per year, higher than Antonio Brown’s $17 million per year average and his $65 million guaranteed is higher than Mike Evans’ $55 million in guarantees.

At 25 years old, Beckham Jr. is the cream of the crop when it comes to talented wide receivers, so his contract is not going to reserve top money for mediocre receivers. But we will start to see receivers’ contracts trend upward. The 2019 free agent wide receiver class isn’t quite loaded with talent, but guys like Randall Cobb, Kelvin Benjamin and Donte Moncrief could be in line for a handsome contract offer.

Paying Beckham Jr. as the top wide out is justified on talent alone, but we cannot forget the risks that come with him. First, he is coming off a season-ending ankle injury and his antics have drawn the ire from Giants players and staff in the past, including former general manager Jerry Reese, who said he needed to “grow up.”

However, his talent is undeniable and in his first three seasons, Beckham Jr. has caught over 90 passes, 1,300 yards and at least 10 touchdown receptions. No one can forget his highlight reel catch that he nabbed against the Dallas Cowboys that catapulted him to football’s greatest stage.

The NFL’s commissioner racks in $40 million dollars a year, so it seems fair that one of the premier talents and promoters of the game (Beckham Jr.) has earned his paycheck as well.

It is outrageous to think that an average basketball player can receive an excess of $25 million dollars annually and it is hardly questioned, but a top-three wide receiver in the NFL has his eight-figure salary called into question. But, I guess that is what comes with the territory when the spotlight is on a particular athlete.


Michael Logan is the sports editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at michael.logan@uconn.edu.

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