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Friday Media Transcript: Team President/CEO John Mara

Eric from BBI : Admin : 7/28/2017 4:57 pm
President and Chief Executive Officer John Mara

July 28, 2017

Q: What do you make of Odell Beckham Jr. saying he wants to be the highest-paid player in the NFL?

A: I think that probably every player would like to be the highest-paid player in the game. Iím not going to lose sleep over that. Weíll get the contract done at the appropriate time.

Q: It seems that he wants to be here, you want him to be here, so why not start negotiations now and get this done before the season?

A: I think thatíll happen sooner rather than later, but thereís no timetable. Thereís no reason for us to rush into it.

Q: Is there a realistic scenario where a wide receiver would be the highest-paid player in football?

A: (Laughing) I canít think of one, no. The quarterback is always going to be the highest-paid player.

Q: Do you have any thoughts on why Odell would put it out that way, or does it even matter?

A: It really doesnít matter. Listen, itís a great goal to have. I donít have a problem with him saying that. Weíll enter in negotiations at the right time and Iím sure weíll come into an agreement.

Q: Odell was talking about the fact that he wants to be on the frontier of the issue of player pay in the NFLÖ Even now, looking ahead to the CBA, do you feel or agree that is an issue that needs to be addressed when it comes to guaranteed money and contracts?

A: I think the system that we have right now works pretty well. Whether weíre going to tweak it in the next round of CBA negotiations remains to be seen. Iím sure thatíll be an issue the Players Association will bring up and weíll talk about it. But Iím not going to negotiate it in the media.

Q: How capable are you guys financially of being able to do (an Odell Beckham Jr. contract) now? Is that something you could do now if you wanted to?

A: I think we have enough money in the bank to do that.

Q: Iím talking about salary cap-wise.

A: Salary cap-wise, thereís a way to work it out, yes.

Q: Odell has said directly that heís willing to be patient, that he wants to play football but doesnít want to hold out. Do you appreciate that part of his message as well?

A: Yes, I do, and thatís the same way we feel about it. Thereís no reason to rush into this. Heís going to get paid a lot of money at the appropriate time. You can argue that the appropriate time is now, but you can argue both sides of that, I guess. Itíll happen when it happens.

Q: He also pointed it out correctly that itís a distraction no matter what he does, if he talks to us (the media) or if he doesnít talk to us. What is your take on a guy with a star that shines so bright?

A: It definitely presents some challenges, but the reason his star shines so bright is that heís a tremendous player, so Iíll deal with that issue any day of the week.

Q: Over the last six-seven years, youíve had a string of young receivers with some talent who got hit with injuries and never got outÖ or panned out. Does that worry you at all when you commit to a long-term deal for a receiver?

A: I think youíre always worried about injuries to players, particularly when youíre paying a lot of money. But I donít think thatís going to enter our discussion at this time.

Q: Does he have to show anything to you, either maturity-wise or more on the field to solidify a long-term deal from you?

A: I think heís just got to keep doing what heís doing. Keep playing. Heís going to get a long-term contract. Weíre not asking him to prove anything at this point. Just keep playing as hard as heís been playing and continuing your growth off the field as a person. Iím confident heís going to do both. Heís a very smart young man and a very talented player. One of the things Iíve said about him before is that he does so many wonderful things off the field that nobody knows about. Heís somebody that we want here for a long time.

Q: Youíre giving up a lot of leverage with the contract situation with the way his contract is structured, whatís the motivation to enter into anything now?

A: Well, youíd like to lock them up long term, youíd like to keep them happy. Youíre right, thereís no urgency to do it, but I think we want to get to it at some point. Whether it happens during the season or after the season, I just canít give you the time table on that.

Q: How would you know when the right moment is to enter into negotiations?

A: When we determine that his agent is even reasonable. And we have not had discussions so far, so donít assume weíve had any discussions so far. When we think that thereís a deal to be made, then weíll make a deal.

Q: Is it a balancing act, though, because you have other guys to take care of?

A: We do. You always have to be conscious of that. Especially in the salary cap era, you always have to take that into consideration.

Q: Do you assume that a year from now, when OBJ comes back to this camp, that heíll have a new contract?

A: I think thatís certainly a possibility.

Q: With all the talk about Eli Manningís age, what are your feelings on your quarterback going into this season?

A: I think heís got a lot of good football left in him. He shows no signs of slowing down. I know heís highly motivated to try to win another championship. To me, he looks as good as he ever has so weíre excited about him.

Q: Does Eli play into the situation with OBJ, can you have both of them on the books?

A: Yes. You canít have 53 of them but yes, we can afford them both.

Q: Whatís your overall view of the roster youíve assembled this season?

A: Iím very happy with what we have on paper. I think weíve got to stay healthy and Iíd like to see some of our young guys get us excited about what they can do; thatís one of the things you do at training camp. But, I feel very good about it. I think if we can stay healthy, we can be right in the mix with the elite.

Q: Would you describe the experience of having OBJ as something youíve never experienced before?

A: I would say it is unlike anything. Lawrence Taylor was that caliber. Obviously, he accomplished more in his career because Odell is still so young, but it was a different world back then - it was without social media. But Odell certainly is a star in every sense of the word, and that presents certain challenges, but you know, Iíll live with those challenges every day of the week to have a player like him.

Q: Did you see that coming?

A: You hope that thatís going to take place, but I canít say that we saw it coming. Not to this magnitude.

Q: Do you think itís worth taking your time giving him that contract based on some of the things that youíve seen?

A: He deserves to get paid, weíre going to pay him, itís just a question of when we enter into the contract, and I donít have a time table on it right now. I just donít think thereís any need to rush into it. Heís going to end up getting paid at some point.
It's truly sad  
bceagle05 : 7/28/2017 5:02 pm : link
how much the media obsesses over Beckham. How many times does Mara hold court like that? Maybe five times a year? You'd think they'd come up with something more substantive for him.
My big takeaway  
LCtheINTMachine : 7/28/2017 5:52 pm : link
is that Mara laughed at the idea of making Odell highest paid in the league. That'll shut the kid up, ha.
RE: My big takeaway  
GMenLTS : 7/28/2017 5:59 pm : link
In comment 13542267 LCtheINTMachine said:
is that Mara laughed at the idea of making Odell highest paid in the league. That'll shut the kid up, ha.

you should probably read the full beckam interview..
Good job, sir!  
CT Charlie : 7/29/2017 6:55 am : link
Mara oozed with diplomacy and patience. Like almost everyone who knows OBJ the person, as opposed to the social-media-public-figure-cartoon, Mara really seems to like, respect, and appreciate him.
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