Odell Beckham Jr. wore a big smile on Tuesday to offset his buttoned-up white Polo shirt with the New York Giants logo above his heart.
Beckham had every reason to smile during his press conference, one day after agreeing to a five-year, $95 million contract extension with the Giants. The deal, which includes a $65 million in guaranteed money, made the three-time Pro Bowl selection the highest-paid wide receiver in football.
“I want to be legendary,” Beckham said. “My goal has always been to be in the Hall of Fame, to win trophies, to leave a legacy way beyond any money that you make.”
Beckham was scheduled to make $8.4 million this season on the fifth-year option of his rookie contract. The mercurial wideout had been seeking a contract extension for nearly two years.
“I just wanted to get the contract done,” Beckham said. “It’s not like it’s gonna change the way that I want to play and the way that I want to perform.”
Beckham also spoke of the journey that got him to this point.
“I worked too hard, I dedicated my entire life to this game. Passed up on other sports to play this one,” Beckham said. “There’s no doubt that it (the big contract) was going to happen. … Now that it’s behind me, it feels like there are no worries and it’s a weight lifted off your shoulder.”
Giants general manager Dave Gettleman was thrilled to lock up Beckham for a long time.
“We got him until he’s 108,” Gettleman said on Monday. “I never worried whether or not we would get it done. I’m pleased, because the litmus test for a contract is that neither side is ticked off before the ink can dry, and neither side should be ticked off. It’s a very fair deal.”
Beckham played in just four games last season before sustaining a broken ankle that ended his 2017 season. He has not played in the Giants’ preseason games, but he is expected to be ready for the Sept. 9 regular-season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The 25-year-old Beckham had at least 90 catches, 1,300 yards and 10 touchdowns in each of his first three NFL seasons.
Beckham reached 200 receptions and 3,000 receiving yards in just 30 games, getting to those milestones faster than anyone in NFL history. He has caught 313 passes for 4,424 yards and 38 touchdowns in 47 games over four seasons.
“Honestly, it sounds crazy enough, but I don’t feel like I’ve done anything really since I’ve been here,” Beckham said.
The gaudy statistics aside, Beckham does not come without issues, however.
Beckham’s maturity has been called into question as recently as last season when he pretended to relieve himself like a dog while celebrating a touchdown during a Week 3 loss in Philadelphia.
During his career with the Giants, Beckham also has had “romantic” encounters with a kicking net, a high-profile feud with then-Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman as well as punching a hole in the wall outside the locker room in Green Bay following a playoff loss to the Packers.
Beckham said on Tuesday that he has matured, even going so far as to point to his Polo shirt as a means of proof that he is growing up.
“As I have said, I think Odell personally is moving in the right direction,” said John Mara, the Giants’ president and chief executive officer.
“He came to camp with a tremendous attitude, with a smile on his face and worked hard and reminded us of his unique abilities. He’s ready to have a great season and we’re ready for him to have a great season.”