Odell Beckham Jr trade shows NFL teams value draft picks over talent

The Giants decision to trade an all-time great at the peak of his powers is the latest example of a team valuing their culture and the allure of hope over talent

The Giants traded Odell Beckham Jr to the Browns on Tuesday night, weeks after paying the star receiver a $20m signing bonus, and after general manager David Gettleman proclaimed less than two weeks prior: We didnt sign Odell to trade him. Thats all I need to say about that.


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    Gulp. In return, the Giants picked up a first- and third-round pick, safety Jabrill Peppers and $16m in dead money. It is the kind of trade that would cause a mutiny in your fantasy league.

    An organization waits a lifetime to draft a player like Odell Beckham, a star so singularly gifted he can tilt a game with a single play, and help a rickety quarterback age gracefully through the twilight of his career.

    Beckhams first couple of years in the league are almost without precedent. He became a household name with that catch and has been tabloid fodder and Hall of Fame producer ever since.

    In his first three seasons in the league, Beckham eclipsed 1,300 yards and double-digit touchdowns each year. He snagged an average of 9.6 passes a game at an average of 14.3 yards per reception. The only player to match those numbers in each of their first three seasons in the modern era? Randy Moss.

    Like Beckham, Moss was considered a cultural distraction, a Me First guy who couldnt exist in the NFLs ever-conservative ecosystem. He was too much of a show pony. Too interested in his own numbers, not enough in the collective.

    The Vikings got tired of Moss after seven seasons. It took the Giants all of five one missed mostly due to injury to cut bait on Beckham.

    Beckhams last year in New York was good, not great. Anchored by Eli Manning and one of the leagues weaker offensive lines, the Giants became plodding and predictable on offense, relying on sparkles of magic from Beckham and rookie Saquon Barkley.

    Beckham has become one of the 10 most important non-quarterbacks in the league. Not because of his star wattage or place in the discourse, because he affects wins. Beckham finished ninth among non-QBs in Pro Football Focuss Wins Above Replacement metric.

    Odell
    Odell Beckhams penchant for highlight-reel catches has made him one of the NFLs brightest stars. Photograph: New York Daily News/NY Daily News via Getty Images

    But this isnt about skill. This is a cultural battle. Theres an ongoing, generational feud between the leagues players and its decision-makers.

    Star players feel empowered. They want a larger say in the shape of the organization or, more often, to renegotiate their contracts on a year to year basis, regardless of how long is left on their present deal. And they want to have fun.

    Older general managers want to keep the sport as close to the good old days as possible. Players should be all about the team, not individual accolades. There should be no dancing. Anybody but the statuesque quarterback, the face of the franchise, should be seen but not heard.

    Giants general manager David Gettleman is carved into the Mount Rushmore of old-school thinkers. Hes the author of this gem: Theres two kinds of players in this league, folks. There are guys that play professional football and there are professional football players.

    Thats a real quote from an NFL executive.

    Gettleman is a general manager of unrivaled arrogance, a tough thing to pull off in professional football.

    This is a man who loves to punctuate the football as he recites the expression The New York Football Giants, as though we will forget the team he runs or the sport hes discussing.

    Gettleman proudly flaunts his lack of understanding of analytics and market inefficiencies, typing on an imaginary keyboard at his introductory press conference. Applying basic economic principles to a salary-capped sport is for nerds, apparently.

    And thats not to mention his brazen draft strategy: Gettleman refuses to trade down and add assets, staunch in his belief that he will pick the right players in the right spot. He doesnt need to throw more darts at the dartboard, because hes David Gettleman.

    Weve become used to the viewpoint that talent wins out in the NFL. That organization will overlook anything and everything if the player is talented. But more and more were seeing teams value their culture, and the allure of hope by way of future draft picks over talent.

    The Steelers relationships with LeVeon Bell and Antonio Brown, their top two skill-talents, disintegrated before both left for virtually nothing. The Raiders traded away Khalil Mack after Jon Gruden questioned whether Mack wanted to stay with the Raiders.

    In Beckham, Brown and Mack, were discussing three future Hall of Famers, all traded in their primes for non-football reasons.

    Browns general manager John Dorsey may fit the Football Guy casting call, but hes working as a new age executive in this stuffy league. From real, awful crimes (Kareem Hunts domestic assault allegation) to football ones (Beckham), Dorsey is willing to take on everyones cast-offs.

    That right there is the current dichotomy across the NFL. There are teams hoarding talent: The Rams out in LA, Dorsey in Cleveland. And there are those, like Gettleman, like the Steelers, who believe in the good old days: that their brand power and culture can conquer raw talent.

    That mindset has left the Giants resembling an expansion team with a 38-year-old quarterback who only remains on the team because of his surname and relationship with the owners. And they have $34m in dead money.

    The Beckham trade is the kind of deal gets everybody fired. Its tough to evaluate the effectiveness of a teams culture if a team isnt winning.

    It will be easy to evaluate the outgoing presence who has been labeled as toxic: Beckham is an all-time great at the peak of his athletic powers. Moving to a more advanced offense, with a better quarterback and complimentary pieces will re-assert his claim as the NFLs best.

    Ernie [Acorsi] taught me something a long time ago, Gettleman said at his introductory press conference a year ago. Dont quit on talent.

    Rather than start a rebuild in earnest and build around their star, the Giants decided to plunge for the unknown, betting on the ego of their general manager and the culture he hopes to foster.

    Original Article : HERE ; This post was curated & posted using : RealSpecific

     


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