Is OBJ playing tonight vs. the 49ers? Newly signed WR to play on Monday Night Football?

    The Los Angeles Rams signed Odell Beckham Jr. to a one-year deal last Thursday. Is OBJ playing tonight against the division-rival 49ers?

    The Los Angeles Rams inked wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to a one-year last Thursday, and the club now faces an important NFC West battle on Monday Night Football. While Beckham may need more time to get up to speed with LA’s playbook, he might be able to contribute immediately. Is OBJ playing tonight against the San Francisco 49ers?

    Will OBJ suit up on Monday Night Football?

    Reports point to Beckham playing when the Rams take on the 49ers tonight, but it’s unclear how featured he’ll be in LA’s offense. His availability became even more critical after fellow Rams wide receiver Robert Woods tore his ACL in practice on Friday. Los Angeles signed OBJ before Woods suffered his knee injury. Nevertheless, the deal seems even more fortuitous now that the Rams are down one of their key pass catchers.

    The Rams have been impressed by Beckham during practice sessions, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. While he’s expected to be on the field tonight, OBJ probably won’t play a full complement of snaps. Learning a new NFL offense takes time, even if many of Sean McVay’s concepts are already familiar to the veteran receiver.

    Instead, Los Angeles will likely design several plays to get Beckham involved in the offense. We’ll have to see whether that involves OBJ-specific packages, simple isolation routes, or something more complicated — but Beckham will contribute in some fashion.

    With Woods out for the season, Van Jefferson will handle a prominent role alongside Cooper Kupp on Monday Night Football. Meanwhile, Jay Glazer of FOX Sports reported Sunday that seventh-round rookie Ben Skowronek will take Woods’ place in LA’s starting lineup. Thus, Beckham will likely only play in pre-scripted situations.

    Odell Beckham’s rest-of-season role for the Rams

    Although we’re only a bit over halfway through the 2021 regular season, the Rams have already seen quite a bit of change to their wide receiver depth chart. Kupp has remained a constant, but Woods and second-round rookie Tutu Atwell are now gone for the year. Los Angeles released DeSean Jackson after failing to locate a trade partner, and Beckham has now joined the roster. Expectations are Jefferson will see increased usage, while Skowronek could factor in, as well.

    Going forward, Kupp, OBJ, and Jefferson should be LA’s primary receivers. The Rams run 11 personnel — one running back, one tight end, three wide receivers — on a league-leading 85% of plays. That shouldn’t change any time soon. After losing Johnny Mundt to a torn ACL, Los Angeles doesn’t have another tight end worthy of playing alongside Tyler Higbee in two-TE sets. So, expect three-WR formations to remain the norm for the Rams.

    OBJ joins a star-studded Rams roster

    The Rams are no stranger to acquiring name-brand NFL talent. In addition to signing Beckham, Los Angeles also acquired future Hall of Fame edge rusher Von Miller from the Broncos in exchange for second- and third-round picks. Denver picked up nearly all of Miller’s salary in the trade, increasing their draft capital haul for doing so.

    Like Miller, Beckham will also be affordable for the Rams. He’ll count for only $1.25 million on LA’s salary cap. That is nearly the same amount the club saved by releasing Jackson. OBJ can earn an additional $3 million in incentives based on how the Rams finish in the regular season and playoffs. However, even if Beckham earns those incentives, they won’t hit LA’s salary cap until 2022.

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