PHOENIX — Part of the charm of Odell Beckham Jr. is that “he did have a big presence.” So says Pat Shurmur, Beckham’s former head coach.
That presence now gone, as Shurmur was on board with the decision as the Giants traded the star receiver to the Browns for a first- and third-round draft pick, plus 23-year-old safety Jabrill Peppers.
“We’re building,” Shurmur said Tuesday from the NFL Annual League Meeting. “Obviously Odell is an outstanding player, but it’s business. I really believe we got good value in return.”
Shurmur said Beckham was “a good teammate” and did not go as far as to say he was unlike anyone he had ever before coached.
“We’ve all been on teams where you have players like that where there’s a lot of attention on him,” Shurmur said.
After the deal was finalized, Shurmur said he “reached out a couple of times” to Beckham but has not heard back.
“I’m sure at some point we’ll finally talk,” Shurmur said.
Last August, the Giants gave Beckham a five-year, $90 million contract and did not openly shop him, but they did jettison him once they heard an offer general manager Dave Gettleman characterized as one they could not pass up. There is no doubt at all that Beckham’s aura — the distractions he caused, the self-absorbed manner he often displayed, the controversies he triggered — played a role in the Giants’ willingness to remove such a talent from their offense.
It was not, though, a situation that deteriorated to the point a move had to be made.
“The notion we were tired of Odell, that’s not accurate,” Shurmur said.
It is impossible for the Giants to replace Beckham’s production with one player, and they do not expect veteran Golden Tate, signed as a response to the trade, to do so.
“I really do believe it takes a village to spread the ball around,” Shurmur said. “We have a lot of fine players on offense so we’ll just spread the ball. Unfortunately Odell was hurt at the back half of the season, and we were able to score the most points of the year. And so we’ll find a way.”
At this time last year, Shurmur was in the nascent stages of building a relationship with Beckham, but he stopped short of saying he wished the scenario went a different way.
“No, I’m not disappointed,” Shurmur said. “It was business. The narrative now is that we wanted to get rid of Odell. We traded Odell and we got value. There’s many things I admire about Odell, and I wish him the best.
“We certainly talked a lot about [the trade]. I’m on board. I really believe we have a plan, we have a way we want to make our team better, and we felt like this trade was something that could help us do that.”
Beckham was the most prominent player to depart, but the Giants this offseason also traded away outside linebacker Olivier Vernon and opted not to put the franchise tag on safety Landon Collins. In Vernon’s case, the Giants got back from the Browns a veteran, Kevin Zeitler, who will start at right guard. Collins signed a six-year, $84 million deal with the Redskins.
“[Collins] is a really fine player, and he signed a very high dollar deal with another team,” Shurmur said. “Much like the narrative that we were tired of Odell is wrong, we just wish him well.’’