Odell Beckham says he didn’t skip Giants workouts because he wants a new deal

Odell Beckham Jr. is back. Not that he ever really went anywhere, but it became a story when he didn’t show up for voluntary workouts in recent weeks. But with mandatory minicamp upon us, Beckham is present and accounted for. And on Tuesday he explained that his absence wasn’t about a new contract but something much simpler.

“I was just taking the time to train,” the Giants‘ wide receiver told reporters. “Really grow and mature. … and you just have time to be able to reflect on life and learn new things.”

That said, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to think that Beckham was, in fact, looking for money. He’s one of the league’s best players who will make $1.8 million in 2017. In terms of average annual salary among wide receivers, that ranks 74th (!!!), according to Spotrac.com. By comparison, Antonio Brown earns $17 million a year, on average, followed by A.J. Green ($15 million), Julio Jones ($14.2 million) and Dez Bryant ($14 million).

The Giants also picked up Bekcham’s fifth-year option which means the 2014 first-round pick will see a substantial bump in pay in 2018 when he’s set to make $8.5 million. Still, that’s substantially less than his counterparts around the league.

Still, Beckham insists he’s all about football.

“I leave that in the hands of the man above,” he said of his contract situation. “When that time comes that time comes. Right now is really not the time to discuss it. When it comes it will come. …

“I come here to play football. I don’t really write the contract, I don’t really design it or anything like that. My agent knows 10 times more about it than I do. I just come here to do what I’ve always done, which is play football and do the very best I can on the field and like I said, the rest will take care of itself.”

Giants co-owner John Mara said last week that he wants Beckham to retire with the organization. And former agent Joel Corry, writing for CBSSports.com, says that an extension signed this year “would likely make Beckham the NFL‘s highest-paid wide receiver (by average yearly salary) in the $17.5 million per year neighborhood and establish a new wide receiver record for overall guarantees by topping Johnson’s $53.25 million based on the treatment of Beckham’s peer group.”

Put another way: It’s a matter of when, not if, Beckham gets paid exactly what he’s worth.

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