The New York Giants can’t win, clearly obvious if you’ve been paying attention to them the last two seasons. But not only can’t they win football games, they’re losing badly in the eyes of two of their former stars.
This should be a banner week for Big Blue. On Monday, they announced the signing of quarterback Daniel Jones, the No. 6 overall pick, to his rookie contract. His selection may have turned some of their fans apoplectic, but like it or not, Jones is the successor to Eli Manning and they might as well get off to a positive start.
The problem has come with safety Landon Collins and wide receiver Odell Beckham. Clearly unhappy about their divorces from the team, likely pissed at general manager Dave Gettleman, both have directed haymakers at the Giants.
Collins, a Pro Bowl safety, was allowed to leave after the 2018 season when the Giants showed no interest in tendering the free agent an offer. So he signed with the rival Washington Redskins (six years, $84 million) and has seemingly re-dedicated himself to making sure the Giants pay for their lack of respect.
During a radio interview with 106.7 The Fan in Washington, D.C., Collins was asked by the host what he thought of his analytical rating in the Madden 20 video game. In the process of answering the question, Collins refused to reference the Giants by name, settling instead for “the other team I was on.”
When asked why he didn’t just say Giants, Collins said, “It’s no point. It’s no point mentioning their name.”
But Collins’ subtlety is nothing compared to the weaponry Beckham dispatched at his former team in the latest issue of GQ.
You’ll recall Beckham and the Giants had problems during their five seasons together, most of which the Giants tried to low-key because of his outrageous ability.
Of course, most of them were caused by his childish behavior on and off the field. It’s been a long time since the Giants had a player who pouted as frequently or insisted on flashing his plumage with nonsensical approaches to touchdown celebrations and adversity.
Now that Beckham belongs to the Cleveland Browns, he apparently feels free to express his true feelings about the Giants. And as you might have guessed, his State of Odell address began with him telling the magazine he felt the Giants disrespected him.
“I felt disrespected, because I felt like I was a main reason at keeping that brand alive. They were getting prime-time games, still, as a 5-and-11 team,” said Beckham. “Why? Because people want to see the show. You want to see me play. That’s just real rap. I’m not sitting here like, ‘It’s because of me.’ But let’s just be real. That’s why we’re still getting prime-time games. I felt disrespected they weren’t even man enough to even sit me down to my face and tell me what’s going on.’’
You’ll recall the level of the team’s distain for Beckham: the rewarding of a five-year contract extension for $95 million, making him the highest-paid wide-receiver in NFL history. The contract included $65 million guaranteed, even covering injuries, of which he had many.
“I really felt like: Why did we even sign this contract?’’ said Beckham. “Why did we do this deal to not feel long-term. I would be up and down the sidelines saying that, like, ‘Why did you sign me?’ ’’
Some of Beckham’s complaints actually had to do with the way he was used by the team. Keep in mind, Beckham was targeted 622 times (390 catches) in his 59 games for the Giants, 124 times (77 receptions) in 2018.
“This is me being honest: This team has not been good for the last six years,’’ Beckham said. “Period. Even the year we went to the playoffs and everyone was talking about this and that. And we went there, and I didn’t have a great playoff game. Don’t get me wrong, I had a terrible game. But I left the game with seven targets, and I’m supposed to be your number one receiver. I left the game with seven targets. We lost. They scored 40 points. It’s just all bad.”
Beckham was dealt to the Browns for a first- and third-round pick in 2019 and safety Jabrill Peppers. He felt there was nothing he could do to make the team happy.
“They could never get past my past,’’ he said. “There’s always that past that whatever happened, I would never be able to outgrow it. That’s why I don’t try to bring none of this to Cleveland. I don’t even care. When I get there, this is a fresh start for me.’’
Beckham’s clear disregard for Gettleman is not surprising. Gettleman was distrusted by many veteran players when he was the GM of the Carolina Panthers and that reputation most likely accompanied him to New York.
You can tell it’s Gettleman and coach Pat Shurmur that Beckham has a problem with because he essentially exonerated ownership.
“I’ll forever have respect for Mr. Mara (John Mara, the team’s co-owner),’’ said Beckham. “Everything he’s ever done for me, he’s shown nothing but love. But then to be called like that and then be texted by your coach and be like, ‘Oh, yeah, I heard the news (of the trade). Yeah, you heard the news? It happened because of you. The reason I’m gone is because of you. On the other side of it, I was excited about a new start because I had been — honestly, I had been praying to God the season before this season for a change.
“To love something so much to a place where it is my everything, and to watch it be tainted. Like, it hurt me to my soul. It be like loving someone and putting them on such a level to where life is about them and you love that person through anything. Through the good, the bad. And to watch them do something so heinous and vulgar. Something just so, like, almost unforgivable. You still love them, but it’s, like, Wow.’’
Sorry about that Odell. We’re sure the Giants didn’t mean to hurt your feelings so badly.