The odds that we’ll see OBJ this year are rapidly diminishing. Image: Getty Images
Odell Beckham Jr.’s free hand began with the energy of a 10-figure lottery jackpot. Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer reported in early November that Beckham would soon be fully cleared to play and that he expected a bidding war for his services.
Beckham visited the New York Giants and Buffalo Bills in the first week of December and was with the Dallas Cowboys last week. ESPN’s Ed Werder reported after that last visit that the results of Beckham’s physical exam concerned the Cowboys. According to Werder, it turned out that ACL Beckham, who was injured in the Super Bowl, has not yet fully healed and will not be ready to play until mid-January.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that “no deal is imminent” for Beckham. He hasn’t trained for any of the teams he’s been visiting with and at the moment he’s not ready to play.
Beckham seems confident he can clip into a roster and contribute for a team in the postseason. He made a Looks in a Thursday night football edition of The Shop and has backtracked on what he said last month. Beckham had wanted a multi-year contract but said on Thursday he wanted “to be somewhere for four weeks and then we’ll talk about it”.
“I’m not saying I can’t step in and play the regular season, but I don’t see the point,” Beckham said in The Shop.
I see his point. The best way for Beckham to maximize his value would be to jump into a roster and make big plays in the playoffs, just like he did for the Los Angeles Rams last season. He would have landed a multi-year contract last offseason if he hadn’t injured himself in the Super Bowl.
However, he signed with the Rams in the middle of the regular season and had two months to get used to offense. If he signs with the Cowboys, Bills, Giants or Ravens in January, the best he could be for them is a deep threat. He won’t have enough to develop great rhythm with a quarterback and master all route concepts on a new offense.
Maybe one roster spot is all it takes to pull off a huge 80-yard touchdown catch to salvage a season. This game was repeated on the NFL Network throughout the offseason and received millions of views on social media. It’s the game that could land the 30-year-old one last major contract.
It’s a long road, but that’s all he has at this point. If he doesn’t play until next season he will be a lot healthier but is highly unlikely to get the multi-year deal he has been wanting for most of this year. He will be a year older in 2023 and will have an ACL that has been surgically repaired twice in two years. If he got a multi-year contract offer, it wouldn’t be a massive payday. And a year-long proof-it deal, how much money could he realistically command in 2024 if he turned 32 during the season?
While the market has cooled off, he’d better keep his legs warm. His best shot is what he said recently, an opportunity to play for the team in the national playoffs.
Anyone interested in the team will still need it in January. A big play or two can mean the difference between a deep run and an early exit. So, for now, bookmark Beckham’s free agency history, but be prepared to pick it up again in 2023.