Earlier on Monday, there was a report from NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport that Odell Beckham Jr. would not play for the New York Giants if he didn’t receive a contract extension. Beckham Jr. counts $8,459,000 against the cap this upcoming season, playing under the fifth-year option.
Before fracturing his ankle after playing in four games of the 2017 NFL regular season, Beckham Jr. caught 25 passes for 302 receiving yards (12.1 yards per reception) and three receiving touchdowns. In three previous seasons, the 25-year old had not finished under 1,000 receiving yards or 10 touchdowns, making the Pro Bowl in his first three seasons (2014-2016) and being named a two-time second team All-Pro selection (2015, 2016).
Those first three seasons also saw Beckham Jr. ranked in the top-10 in receiving yards, finishing 10th in 2014 (1,305), fifth in 2015 (1,450) and third in 2016 (1,367). Any team that added the services of Beckham Jr. would be getting an elite wide receiver and one team in the AFC North could use a receiver, let alone one of Beckham Jr.’s caliber.
The Baltimore Ravens have a need at wide receiver, despite signing free-agent wideouts Michael Crabtree and John Brown. What kind of compensation would have to be given up the Giants to get him? Would Baltimore be able to acquire Beckham Jr. with a limited amount of cap space?
Looking at the Giants’ roster, they have a glaring need at cornerback. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie departed in free agency and Eli Apple hasn’t quite worked out. Luckily, for New York, Baltimore’s roster field three good corners in Jimmy Smith, Marlon Humphrey and Tavon Young.
Young missed the entire year in 2017 with a torn ACL. Smith missed the remainder of the 2017 season after he tore his Achilles tendon on December 3, against the Detroit Lions. As for Humphrey, he is a young, controllable asset the Giants wouldn’t have to give a big pay day for until three years from now.
Humphrey, 21, started in five games last season, finishing with two interceptions and 11 pass deflections in 16 games. He had a charge dropped in the alleged robbery of a phone charger in Alabama, but other than this, he hasn’t had any trouble off or on the field. To sweeten the deal, Baltimore could offer a few picks along with Humphrey, probably the number 52 pick in the draft and the 83rd pick.
According to Overthecap.com, the Ravens currently have $10,412,764 in cap room. If Baltimore sent over Humphrey, his contract only counts $2,692,609 against the cap and a draft picks wouldn’t count anything against New York’s cap immediately. Initially, Baltimore would have an extra $5,766,391 counting against the cap, lowering their cap number to $4,646,373. The Giants cap number would be raised to $12,166,963.
Baltimore would also have to give Beckham Jr. an extension fit for a top-flight NFL receiver. Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown currently makes an average of $17 million per season. For Beckham Jr. to receive a similar compensation, the Ravens would have to restructure a few more deals and cut other players.
Offensive lineman Marshal Yanda, as well as safeties Tony Jefferson and Eric Weddle could also have their deals restructured. Since Baltimore would be thinner at cornerback with Humphrey’s hypothetical departure and Jimmy Smith most likely staying on the PUP list to begin the 2018 season, they would keep Brandon Carr, despite being able to potentially save four million in cap space.
Of course, Baltimore could address the cornerback position in the draft once again in 2018. Denzel Ward (Ohio State), Joshua Jackson (Iowa) and Isaiah Oliver (Colorado) could all be available. The Ravens could also look to draft a tight end with the sixteenth overall pick, where they also have a need. Hayden Hurst (South Carolina), Mark Andrews (Oklahoma), Dallas Goedert (South Dakota State) and Mike Gesicki (Penn State) are all possibilities.
Baltimore could also decide to trade back and recoup some of the picks they would lose in a potential trade for Beckham Jr. In this potential move, Baltimore would be able to focus on addressing the center, tight end and running back positions, as well as drafting a quarterback in the fourth round or later.
This trade isn’t particularly realistic with what the Cleveland Browns have to offer money-wise and with the amount of draft picks that they possess, but Baltimore could offer a proven player and a few early round picks to make the deal a bit better for the Giants. Baltimore would end the need to draft a wide receiver in 2018 and could focus on positions that they have had success in.