New York Giants: Good, bad and ugly of Odell Beckham deal

SANTA CLARA, CA - NOVEMBER 12: Odell Beckham #13 of the New York Giants celebrates after scoring on a 10-yard pass against the San Francisco 49ers during their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on November 12, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - NOVEMBER 12: Odell Beckham #13 of the New York Giants celebrates after scoring on a 10-yard pass against the San Francisco 49ers during their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on November 12, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The New York Giants shipped star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns in a trade that shocked the sports world.

Let’s take a look at the good, bad and lot of ugly from this deal. Well, they did it. As much as I wish this was just a bad dream or cruel, early April Fool’s joke, the reality is the New York Giants actually traded away their generational wide receiver talent in Odell Beckham.

To the tune of first and third-round draft picks, as well as safety Jabrill Peppers, the Cleveland Browns were rewarded with one of the NFL’s biggest names. Thus, Beckham becomes another player to join their young core of guys like life-long friend, receiver Jarvis Landry, and emerging superstar QB Baker Mayfield.

So, where do you even begin trying to unload the implications and long-term impact this trade will have moving forward? Social media and NFL talking heads are going to be analyzing and debating this trade 24/7 over the next few weeks.

“The trade” will be a talking point for the entire 2019 NFL season, as it should be.

The overwhelming majority, culled from initial reactions from sports fans, believes that the New York Giants lopsidedly lost this trade. Truthfully, they aren’t wrong. It’s hard to justify shipping off a generational talent at receiver for a hot dog and a bag of peanuts, while still holding onto the ridiculous contract of 38-year old Eli Manning.

To try and somewhat look at this move rationally, I slept (or tried to sleep) on this trade over the last few days, and here are a few takeaways to be made:

The Good

Bear with me.

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Trying to put any knee-jerk reactions and emotions aside, a lot of the “good” from this trade will hardly come close to outweighing the bad and ugly, and certainly won’t completely justify this move. However, what’s done is done, and not all the fallout from the trade is completely terrible.

For starters, the G-Men received another first-round pick (No. 17) as well as a third-round pick (No. 95) in the 2018 NFL Draft. These assets give the New York Giants more options moving forward, and that’s boldly assuming the front office doesn’t mess it up.

The added third-round pick gives the team leverage to possibly trade for Arizona Cardinal’s QB Josh Rosen. It is believed the Cardinals are shopping him around in preparation of taking Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray with the No. 1 overall pick.

While Rosen struggled last year as a rookie, he also played with few play makers and the worst graded offensive line in football, according to Pro Football Focus (PFF). Should the Giants choose this route, it opens up the table to take two defensive studs with the No. 6 and No. 17 picks as this year’s draft class is stacked with elite edge rushing, linebacker and defensive backfield talent – all team needs moving forward.

If the New York Giants decide to keep all their picks, it is generally assumed they will take Eli’s replacement with the #6 pick and then grab their future pass rusher or star linebacker at No. 17. The Giants have not selected a linebacker in the first round since 1984 when they took Carl Banks with the No. 3 overall pick.

Mandatory Credit: Stephen Dunn /Allsport
Mandatory Credit: Stephen Dunn /Allsport /

The second and third-round picks can then be used to address right or left tackle and the secondary.

Next, the addition of Jersey-native Jabrill Peppers does help fill an immediate team need at safety. Like I said, we’ll talk about the lopsidedness of this deal later, but trying to stay positive and look at the silver lining, the defense now has a young, dynamic safety on a rookie contract that can also return punts and kickoffs.

Peppers finished last season with a 77.6 grade per PFF, which ranked him higher than Landon Collins. Interestingly, many comparisons link Peppers’ game to Collins’, as he is a hybrid safety that enjoys lining up all over the field. His 12 QB pressures were 3rd most in the league for safeties last year and he has shown a much higher ceiling when it comes to pass defense – posting a 77.3 grade in coverage in 2018.

Finally, after unloading the contracts of Olivier Vernon and Beckham, along with the getting Eli’s contract off the books, the New York Giants will have more than $100 million in cap space entering next off-season. We’ll talk about the dead cap hit for this season later, but for now, understand that a year from now this team should be in a prime position to re-sign Sterling Shepard and make plenty of free agency moves to contribute to the rebuild.

The Bad

Okay, let’s dive right in.

First, this trade just didn’t make any sense. After signing Beckham to a record five-year, $95 million dollar extension just eight months ago, trading him away means the Giants will eat $16 million in dead cap money from his contract this year – essentially paying  Beckham to play in Cleveland in 2019.

According to, Beckham’s dead cap hit along with Vernon’s makes up the majority of the $33.6 million in dead cap the team will be paying in 2019, which is the most in the league by almost $10 million.

This really begs the question of what changed between August and now to prompt a trade and makes you wonder what on earth the front office is doing as far as their plan moving forward.

Next, the extremely consistent and explosive offense of the New York Giants now has no true top wide receiver. A passing game centered around quick timing routes and slants has lost arguably the best receiver in the game at running both of those concepts.

The bulk of the passing game will literally be put in the hands of Shepard, Engram, and Barkley. Although they are all one of the best at their position, it will be hard to get them the ball effectively when the defense doesn’t respect your deep threat or play-makers on the outside.

Ironically, the New York Giants will most likely be relying on former Cleveland wide-out Corey Coleman to step up in the passing game, who has 61 receptions for 789 yards and 5 touchdowns in his three year career. Coleman mostly showed signs of his value in the kick return game in 2018, racking up 598 return yards on just 23 returns.

It also appears the New York Giants are looking at 31-year old Chris Hogan to potentially come in and contribute as well, because why not.

Finally, when looking at how the trade went down, the deal just didn’t work in the favor of the New York Giants.

For a player like Beckham, a generational talent who is well on his way to becoming an all-time great, a mid-first round pick, late third, and a young, promising safety just doesn’t stack up evenly in terms of value and production.

Beckham is 26 years old and in the prime of his career. He has 44 touchdowns, 390 receptions, and has surpassed 1,000 receiving yards in four of his first five seasons. His stats and production over his first five years have surpassed those of greats like Jerry Rice and Randy Moss. The talent of Beckham should have warranted at least  two first round picks and Jabrill Peppers, or a first, second, and a player like Denzel Ward or Jarvis Landry.

No matter how you look at it, even taking into account the added draft picks that could turn into great players down the road, the New York Giants got the short end of the stick in this deal that will forever be a lasting stain on the Dave Gettleman Era.

The Ugly

The worst aspect of this trade is that it shows that this team is clearly embracing a full and complete rebuild a year too late, while also fully displaying the incompetence of general manager Dave Gettleman and the front office.

The signs were there that the rebuild mode was starting when Eli Apple and Damon “Snacks” Harrison were traded mid-season. Now after the departures of Vernon, Collins and Beckham, it seems that now  the front office is cutting their losses and starting from the ground up, not after their 3-13 season from 2017.

It really stings because now Eli Manning becomes public enemy No. 1, as the front office seems to be sticking with the overpaid 38-year old for the last year of his contract, instead of moving on from him last year or this off-season.

Furthermore, starting this rebuild a season too late reinforces the fact the the New York Giants should have taken a QB in last year’s draft with the No. 2 overall pick. Rebuilds start from the inside out, strengthening your offensive line, quarterback play and defense before addressing a position like running back.

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Now, another generational talent in Saquon Barkley will have to carry this team and waste the first part of his career with a franchise that won’t be ready to realistically compete for another 2-3 years.

The incompetence of Dave Gettleman, John Mara, and Steve Tisch is very visibly in the spotlight right now, and it is ruining the public perception and image of the New York Giants franchise – if it isn’t ruined already.

It remains to be seen how the long-term implications of this trade will impact the New York Giants, but for now, many are left scratching their heads and wondering how much lower this team can go before they hit rock bottom.