Giants make Beckham NFL’s highest-paid receiver

Odell Beckham Jr. isn’t going anywhere. The New York Giants agreed to pay up to retain the services of their star receiver, inking Beckham to a five-year contract extension that makes him the highest-paid receiver in the NFL. The deal shows New York’s commitment to one of the cornerstones of its offense, and avoids the cloud of uncertainty that would be hanging over their future with Beckham had they let him play out the final year of his previous deal.

Beckham’s new contract is worth $95 million over five years, with $65 million guaranteed. The guaranteed money is important because NFL teams can cut players and end their contracts at any time, which has happened to plenty of players with big salaries. Guaranteed money acts as a sort of protection against that, and Beckham rightly felt he was owed that protection as one of the top receiving options in the league.

The contract extension, which will run until 2023, reworks the final year of Beckham’s rookie deal before it officially begins, effectively turning his 2018 salary into a $20 million signing bonus. He will make $60 million in the first three years, putting him above the other highly paid receivers in the league like Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who makes an average of $17 million. The guaranteed money is also the most ever given to a receiver, topping the $55 million the Tampa Bay Buccaneers gave to Mike Evans.

Beckham suffered a broken ankle that ended his season in October last year, but his production over the first three seasons of his professional career is unmatched. He is the quickest in NFL history to reach 3,000 yards receiving, needing only 30 games to reach that milestone, and he has made some of the most spectacular catches, cementing his place among highlight reel packages for years to come.

What’s even more remarkable about Beckham’s production is that he did so as part of an underpowered and uneven Giants offense, which allowed opposing defenses to focus extra attention on him. Defenses may no longer have that luxury with New York’s draft selection of running back Saquon Barkley, who could force opponents to respect the Giants’ running game if he lives up to the hype. The thought of Beckham and Barkley combining to give opponents fits should be a welcome reprieve for Giants fans after 2017’s dismal three-win season.