Listen, I don't try to live my life as a contrarian. That's not true -- I kind of do. I spend a lot of time in public houses and taverns, and I have a two-hour commute that allows me to hear a lot of the sports world's most popular opinions. Sometimes, I think it's best to take a look at the other side.
In this space, I'll be articulating a handful of positions that are the opposite of what most people think -- unpopular opinions, if you will -- and explain why, well, my unpopular opinions are right and everyone else is wrong. Here are my takes on a certain high-profile wide receiver ...
Oh man, the Giants are going to blow this one, aren't they? NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported early Monday that Odell Beckham Jr. will not set foot on a field without a new contract extension. Which is a pretty reasonable request when you're one of the best in the world at what you do and are also paid less on average than DeVante Parker, Jaron Brown and Adam Humphries.
Now, Mara did say the Giantsare not actively shopping OBJ, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract. And NFL Network's Kim Jones confirmed as much later, with a source telling her a trade "probably won't happen," while Pat Shurmur said Tuesday he expects Beckham to participate in offseason work. But still. This is like Arie Luyendyk Jr. sliding into Lauren's DMs while he was still engaged to Becca K. on the Bachelor. Please, Giants -- don't wait for OBJ to show up to the facility to publicly break up with him. He deserves better.
Beckham set the NFL on fire in 2014 when he averaged 108.8 receiving yards per game during a stellar rookie season, adding 12 touchdowns. He had more receiving yards and 13 touchdowns in his second season and was amazing in his third. Beckham, who suffered a fractured ankle in October, played just four games for the Giants last year, when they won just three games, which should underscore his importance even more.
And then there's Eli Manning. With Beckham on the field over the past three seasons, Eli has a TD-to-INT ratio of 66:29 and a 91.5 passer rating, per ESPN's Bill Barnwell. Without Beckham on the field in that span, those marks drop to 14:14 and 75.0. With Beckham, Eli looks like that vacation photo of you where you're tan and rested -- the one you use as your Facebook profile picture for like eight years, even though you look nothing like that in real life. Without him, Eli looks haggard, like a modern-day Burt Reynolds.
This is why you pay him. I'm not going to pretend to know how this salary-cap thing works, but just get it done. Do you even remember who the Giants' top receivers were in the years before OBJ, who's posted 94.1 yards per game in his career? Oh yeah, Victor Cruz (65.0 yards per game) and Hakeem Nicks (55.2). Fine, you've done well for yourself, Giants. But you're not that far-removed from the Chris Calloway era. You really aren't. You don't want to be begging for a receiver like the Ravens or whatnot. There is no reason to mess this up.
Do the mature thing and welcome OBJ, antics and all. If he wants to propose to a kicking tee, you hire the videographer to capture that totally spontaneous moment. Don't be foolish. Unless you want to draft in the top two again next year.
Jarvis Landry has been a Brown for like 20 minutes and he's already trying to recruit his college teammate to Cleveland. Not coincidentally, new Browns receivers coach Adam Henry coached the duo at LSU (and he coached OBJ in New York in 2016 and '17). It would be pretty amazing for all of them to get together once again. By the way, you wonder why a team with OBJ, Landry, Jeremy Hill, Alfred Blue, La'el Collins, Ego Ferguson and Deion Jones (I could go on) didn't win the national championship. What's wrong with you, Les Miles???
Yeah, these kinds of super teams never seem to work. I mean, just look at the poor Golden State Warriors. What a disaster it's been to bring in Kevin Durant! I know, different sports. But don't kill my dream here.
And there's the rub. This is a dream right? The Browns couldn't actually get Beckham -- or could they? This isn't "Madden," of course, but my guy Daniel Jeremiah floated out this proposal on the Twitter, and I kind of dig it:
This would still allow the Browns to select the quarterback of their future at No. 1 (or, if they are so inclined, to go with Penn State running back Saquon Barkley). The Browns would still have picks No. 35 and 64, plus a fourth-rounder, a fifth-rounder and two sixth-rounders. And the sickest receiving corps of all time. This would be a no-brainer for the Browns. The Giants, who have just six picks, would end up with the second- and fourth-overall pick and the 33rd and 34th selections. You grab a QB of the future at No. 2 (or, better yet, make the Jets jump up for it), and then take Barkley at No. 4. Or, even better, take Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson, slide him next to recently signed tackle Nate Solder and have the best O-line for the next decade.