- The Rams have the cap space and the guts to take on the superstar wideout, while the Giants have a need for high draft picks and a clean slate
- Mailbag includes discussion on the new helmet-lowering rule, questions about the catch rule, a clarification about Wayne Huizenga and more
ORLANDO — There can’t be another mega-trade in the NFL this off-season, can there? There can if the Giants get pushed too far by Odell Beckham Jr., and if the Rams decide to pull out every stop to win a Super Bowl in 2018 or 2019.
I’m not predicting a trade of Beckham to the Rams. (But if you listen to The MMQB Podcast With Peter King this week, you’ll hear that one of my guests, Peter Schrager of FOX and Good Morning Football, is.) I am saying that, except for the objections of Giants coach Pat Shurmur—who told me definitively Tuesday at the annual NFL owners meetings he wants to coach Beckham—a trade of the superstar wideout to the Rams makes an awful lot of sense.
I can also tell you there has been discussion of a Beckham deal between the Giants and Rams, though it’s not serious yet. There are those within the league who know Rams or Giants people who believe strongly that this is more than a pipe dream, and that it could happen. NFL Network reported this week that Beckham, entering his fifth NFL season, wants a new contract now or he won’t report for offseason work or for the season. He’s due to make $8.46 million in the last year of his rookie deal.
Let’s count the ways Beckham-to-the-Rams makes sense:
• Rams GM Les Snead told me on Tuesday that the next two years are when the team can fit a mega-salary or two into its salary cap. Quarterback Jared Goff is due to make $7.6 million and $8.9 million, respectively, in years three and four of his rookie contract, both of which will be five percent or less of the Rams’ cap each year. That’s great for quarterback cost control. While the quarterback is making reasonable money, Los Angeles could load up in 2018 and ‘19 by front-loading mega-deals with defensive tackle Aaron Donald and/or an expensive important addition like Beckham. Both would be in the $20-million-per-year average.
• The Rams have guts. Snead never met a trade he didn’t like. Already this offseason, he has acquired a new cornerback group, Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters, and an impact defensive tackle to play alongside Donald, Ndamukong Suh. With the loss of burner wideout Sammy Watkins in free agency, there is no question coach Sean McVay would love to add Beckham to the mix.
• Regarding the Beckham combustibility: I am told McVay would have no problem working with Beckham and does not fear the off-field distractions he brings. That stuff has been wearisome (that’s putting it mildly) to Giants brass.
• Regarding the Dream Team comparisons: They’re real, and they’re spectacular, and the Rams seem willing to take on one more potential distraction. The Eagles brought in a slew of expensive and famous free agents in 2011, backup quarterback Vince Young dubbed it the “Dream Team,” and this collection of talent stumbled to an 8-8 record. Snead told me he’s not afraid of a starry team, and he thinks McVay can handle it.
• Beckham is a great player who may not fit the Giants’ conservative organization. Does a team trying to build a long-term team want to risk making its centerpiece a player who angers ownership with his immaturity?
• Schrager estimated a fair-value deal would be Beckham for two first-round picks from the Rams. Sounds heavy on the surface, but is it really? The Rams pick 23rd in this year’s first round, and it’s likely to think they’ll be in the same range of the bottom third of the draft next year too. Would the 23rd pick in 2018 and, say, the 27th pick in 2019 be reasonable for the Rams to pay and for the Giants to receive? Seems fair from both ends. If the Rams could trade two low ones and get a generational talent, that’s fair—assuming Beckham’s health and off-field behavior stay in line. If the Giants could have two ones in each of the next two drafts, GM Dave Gettleman could defend that as being the nucleus of the Giants’ next generation.
I don’t know if the Giants would accept two first-round picks for Beckham, though I bet they would. I don’t know if the Rams would offer two ones for Beckham, though I bet they would.
Stay tuned. The most interesting offseason in years, decades maybe, could have one final pre-draft bombshell.
Now for your email...
BOSELLI AND STINK CHECK IN ON THE NEWEST NEW RULE
After the owners voted 32-0 to make it a 15-yard foul to hit an opponent with the helmet after lowering your head, it soon became the talk of the league. Another example of the wussification of the game, the sentiment went. “Lowering the head to initiate contact with the helmet is a foul,” the Competition Committee proposed, and the rule won in a landslide.
Tweeted longtime left tackle Tony Boselli: “This will completely change the game.”
Tweeted longtime guard Mark Schlereth: “If this rule is enforced you’ll run out of players in the second quarter.”
I don’t know how the rule will play. I don’t know how the enforcement will be carried out. This rule happened because of the increase in documented concussions (from 244 in 2016 to 291 last season) and the NFL’s belief that all aggressive helmet use should be taken out of the game. And we’ll see—if accidental and insignificant fouls are called, I could change my tune. This rule is about the prevention of the helmet-as-battering-ram. I am cautiously optimistic that it will be good for the game long-term. Ryan Shazier suffered a spinal injury because he tackled leading with his head. But if the enforcement is truly blindsiding players, the NFL will need to adjust the rule. I find that players who have tackled like that for a few years have a difficult time adjusting. They’re going to have to.
BATHROOM PHONE HABITS
Sadly I’ve seen or heard this countless times [regarding the Travel Note on Monday, on the woman who would not get off the phone during dinner or, apparently, a restroom break] and like you I can’t handle it. To take it up a notch, there was a time I was in a restroom and heard not only a person in the stall talking, but also the clickity-clack of him typing on a laptop keyboard. Sometimes the priorities of the human race confuse me. Love your column… read it every Monday morning.
Lord help us all.
CURMUDGEONLY AND PROUD OF IT
Becoming an old curmudgeon, are you Mr. King? I can say as a retired road warrior, I’ve seen the same. A lot of inconsiderate behavior out there. I’ve never objected to the short phone conversation while dining alone. Loud incessant chattering while dining can be annoying. I remember being in a restroom while a man in a stall was having a conversation while making unmistakable loud noises while on the toilet. Must have been his brains exiting his body.
I’m not trying to be a grandmother about this. All I’m trying to say is I find it wrong to be on the phone throughout dinner, and I find out more wrong to be on the phone in a public restroom.
STILL CONFUSED ABOUT THE CATCH RULE
Regarding the new catch rule: On the sideline if a receiver reaches up and catches the ball on his tip-toes and then immediately goes out of bounds, where’s the “football move?” Think of the Santonio Holmes winning catch in the super bowl. So there will be a catch rule for catches in the field of play, but that doesn’t apply to the sidelines or end line? Two feet down and control, it’s a catch. Do away with the “football move” part. So the result could be an uptick in fumbles. Big deal. Just about every rule change has benefited offense. Throw defense a freaking bone for once.
When going to the ground out of bounds, as after establishing two feet inbounds, the catch will be legal as long as the player does not lose the ball before falling to the ground out of bounds. The “football move” part is in the rule because the simple act of catching the ball with two feet on the ground would add a fear of scores of monster hits on receivers, trying to force fumbles.
WHY DON’T WE JUST MAKE CATCHES NON-REVIEWABLE?
You rightly point out that the biggest problem with the catch rule is the replay. Why don’t I hear anybody suggesting to make catches non-reviewable? Or how about this: We can review whether a foot was in bounds or out of bounds, but the judgment of possession is left to the call on the field.
I don’t like it. The game moves too fast to leave calls like that to chance. The first time there’s a crucial catch/non-catch that America sees was called wrong on the field and could have been easily fixed by replay and wasn’t, the outcry will be deafening.
DPI RULE IS OUTDATED
Here’s another reason you’re right that pass interference needs to be a 15-yard penalty (except for the obvious down-field muggings): history. The spot-foul began in the era when defensive players could rough up receivers right up to the moment the QB released the football. So, logically, it made perfect sense to impose a penalty “at the spot of the foul” because the foul itself reflected a defensive player’s crossing of the line from permissible to impermissible downfield contact. In that era, when defenses had the benefit of all-field bumping, offenses received the counterbenefit of the all-field spot foul. Well, it’s been 40 years (!) since the NFL allowed that kind of defense. Which makes a change in the P.I. rule long overdue.
The big argument against it is that defensive backs, once beaten, would simply mug the receivers. One: That rarely happens in college football; Stanford’s David Shaw told me so. Two: That’s why there was a clause in the rule that says egregious fouls could be spot fouls. Offensive players TRY to get the mega-yardage DPIs called all the time. It’s time the acting, and the field-tilting calls, get erased from the game.
ROBERT KRAFT’S SUPPORT
I applaud Bob Kraft for his generosity of money and spirit to the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School by donating his plane to the students and families to attend the Washington demonstration Saturday. But why is he not as forthright in his support of the NFL players protesting police brutality? Are they also not the few that might help change the world? I’d hate to think it’s because the players are black and the students are white.
—John G., Cedar Grove, N.J.
I doubt that’s the reason. But it’s an interesting email and thought.
WAYNE HUIZENGA FROM A MARLINS VIEW
You write: “You won’t find many people—any, probably—with a bad word to say about Huizenga the sports owner.” I’m a big fan of the site and your writing, but this is just false. As a Dolphins owner, maybe. But Wayne Huizenga is vilified in South Florida for his role in dismantling the Florida Marlins after their 1997 World Series victory. He cut payroll dramatically and then sold the team for a huge markup the following year. (Sound familiar, Marlins fans?) I remember being a kid at Joe Robbie Stadium (or so it was called then) the night Dan Marino’s name was added to the stadium’s ring of honor. Huizenga was present and was booed so much, his wife was crying. It would have continued had Marino not asked the crowd to stop. But as long as Nick Saban likes him ...
Thanks for pointing that out. You’re right. I should have included the Marlins’ emotions after the stripping of the franchise.
Isn’t there a parallel to be drawn and/or lesson to be learned from the Steelers getting rid of: 1) Plaxico Burress and 2) Santonio Holmes?
Interesting. I don’t think either was the talent Beckham is, and I know neither wanted quarterback money, which Beckham does. The Giants have to decide whether they want to pay a superior player more than any previous receiver in history. I think it’s a painstaking decision for them.
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