Posted on July 28, 2017, by Travis Pulver
Playing in the NFL is not an easy gig. The competition is fierce, the game itself intense, and the chance your career could end on the next play high. This fact is not lost on most players and drives them to maximize their earning potential while they can. Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell has made it clear he intends to do just that.
New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. made it clear in a recent video posted to UNINTERRUPTED that he is going to do the same. They are both out of their minds; Beckham Jr. more so than Bell.
Earlier this month, when the deadline for long-term deals with franchise-tagged players came and went, there was a lot of talk about Le’Veon Bell’s contract expectations. He was already set to be the highest paid running back in the NFL, but that wasn’t enough for him. Bell wants to a salary more in line with his production; according to one of his song lyrics, he wants $15 million a season.
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The Steelers were supposedly set to pay Bell $42 million over the next three years with $30 million coming in the first two years and a five-year average higher than $12 million. Bell thinks he is worth more so he turned it down.
If that deal is not enough for Bell, he is never going to be happy with the Steelers offer. The Steelers are never going to offer him $15 million a year over the course of a long-term deal. It just doesn’t make sense to offer a player whose last three seasons ended due to an injury that kind of money.
Yes, his production is excellent when he is healthy. He just isn’t healthy enough. It would be crazy to do so—but not crazier than what Odell Beckham Jr. wants.
He wants to be the highest paid player in the NFL (h/t NFL).
“I believe that I will be hopefully not just the highest-paid receiver in the league, but the highest paid, period.”
Under the rookie wage scale, Beckham Jr. is grossly underpaid. This season he is set to make just $1.8 million; next season he’ll get $8.5 million. The fact that he and guys like him are getting paid so much less than they are worth angers some players. But rather than be mad at the owners, they should be mad at the plethora of young guys before them that negotiated huge rookie contracts but never lived up to them.
Before players get mad at owners not paying the OBJ’s of the game what they are worth, they should be angry at JaMarcus Russell, Charles Rogers, Tim Couch, and Ryan Leaf.
Okay—so there is a reason for the status quo being what it is. But what about Beckham Jr.’s future? He certainly deserves to be paid well. The question is how well.
As far as wide receivers go, the top earner is Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown at $17 million a season followed by A.J. Green ($15 million), and Julio Jones ($14.25 million). Beckham Jr.’s production has not been as good as Brown or Jones. It would be hard to make an argument for OBJ to be paid more. Green, however, has not been nearly as productive (partially due to injuries).
But he doesn’t want just to be the highest paid receiver. He wants to be the highest paid player in the NFL.
Right now, that honor goes to Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr at $25 million a season. But that number is likely going to get higher once Kirk Cousins, Matthew Stafford, Aaron Rodgers, and Drew Brees sign new deals.
Does that mean the Giants better sign him to a new deal now while the number is lower?
The bottom line is he simply isn’t worth it. If he was the best wide receiver in the game, he might have an argument, but he isn’t. That can’t be blamed on the quarterback situation; Eli Manning is one of the better quarterbacks in the game. Could he be making Eli look better than he is? Absolutely. But then an argument could also be made that Eli makes him look better than he is.
Did DeAndre Hopkins make Brock Osweiler look better than he is last season? No.
Teams are not going to spend that kind of money on any position other than a quarterback. No other position—including wide receiver — is important enough to demand it.