President & CEO John Mara
August 28, 2018
Q: Youíre paying (WR) Odell (Beckham Jr.) a lot of money. What are your expectations for him?
A: I think like we said in the release, we expect a great season out of him. Iíve had three of those so far, and heís done everything the right way, starting back in the offseason program. Heís been terrific throughout training camp. I think heís raring to go.
Q: How important was that for him to do all of those things to get this deal done?
A: It was important. We wanted him to come in with the right attitude. Obviously, wanted to see if he was healthy. I think he checked both of those boxes.
Q: Are you both clear and on the same page about some of the in-game and off-field decisions heís made? In terms of they wonít be occurring again.
A: I think heís matured quite a bit. I think that stuff hopefully is in the past. I think heís ready to go on and be the type of player and citizen that we expect him to be, and I think he will be.
Q: Was there a specific point this offseason that you changed your mind to allow yourself to give up this much guaranteed money?
A: I canít say there was one specific point. I think it evolved over a period of time. There was an intention to sign him at some point. The only question was, was it going to be this year, or were we going to give him another year to prove himself. But as I said, he came in with the right attitude. His energy level has been off the roof. Heís done everything weíve asked him to do. We feel good about having him on our team for the next five years.
Q: Giving a non-quarterback that type of money, did you have to convince yourself mentally that this is a logical decision to make?
A: Not really. I donít think itís completely out of line in the wide receiver market. It was pretty apparent that we were going to make him the highest paid wide receiver for now. I think the deal makes sense for both of us.
Q: You said you always had intentions of getting this deal done. However, you sounded a little skeptical about it in March. What changed your mind?
A: I think a lot of you overreacted to that. You were asking me if anybody is untouchable. Thereís nobody thatís untouchable, especially when youíre coming off a 3-13. Are we going to listen to phone calls when they come in? Yeah, of course, youíre going to do that. I think it would be irresponsible not to. But, there was always an intention that heíd be a part of this team.
Q: Was there ever a point where you thought he might not be on the team because of a trade?
A: I said it was a very, very small chance that was not even worth losing sleep over. We wanted him on the team. I think he knew that. We made that pretty clear to him.
Q: Can you speak on the role Coach Pat Shurmur played in this? Building a productive relationship with Odell and how that factored into this decision?
A: I think thatís a good point. He and Pat, I think, were on the same page from the beginning. Pat obviously desperately wanted him on the team this team this year. He said to me back at the beginning of training camp, ďNumber 13 is pretty good, you know.Ē I said, ďYeah, I think weíre all aware of that.Ē (laughter) I think the thing that impressed Pat so much was the attitude and energy level that he came in with. I left it up to Pat and Odell to whether he was going to play in the preseason. It was kind of a mutual thing that he wasnít.
Q: Odell has allowed his emotions to get the best of him at times in the past. Does that concern you moving forward?
A: Heís always going to be a high-energy guy. Heís always going to be an emotional guy. I just hope that he keeps those emotions in check. Iím sure thereís going to be some incidents where he gets excited. Just hopefully heís going to keep it within the grounds of not incurring a penalty or doing anything else thatís going to embarrass him, or us. Heís 25, I think heís moving in the right direction. He wants to be here. Heís really excited about being a part of this team.
Q: From a negotiation standpoint, it seems like things went fairly quickly and smoothly.
A: I wouldnít say there was anything unusual about it. Some negotiations go a little more quickly, some take time. This one took probably a little more time than we had hoped. Itís not our first negotiation. At the end of the day, weíre satisfied with the deal. Judging by the video that he posted, I guess he is, too.
Q: How important was it to get this done before the regular season?
A: I think it was important because we didnít want it to be a distraction. We didnít want it hanging over him. We didnít want him worried about, ĎWhat if I get hurt? Iím not going to be protected.í So, I think that was important to get it done before he actually started playing in games.
Q: Have you ever reached a point in the summer where you told yourself, this needs to be done?
A: I think we were always confident that it was going to get done. It was just a matter of time. Contract negotiations can drag out. It all depends on the agent, and general manager, thereís a lot of details that had to be ironed out. I was confident it was going to get done. It was just a question of when. When he went out to Detroit and took part in those practices and was full speed and looked great, he was ready to go, and we were satisfied that he was healthy and had the right attitude. It was just a question of time, thatís all.