In an era where NFL quarterbacks are earning contracts surpassing the $200 million mark — a la Justin Herbert, Lamar Jackson, and Jalen Hurts during this offseason — fans await if anyone outside of QB will be paid a similar amount.
Turns out, though, that outspoken NFL wide receiver Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson believes one NFL wideout could’ve been awarded that hefty amount had it not been for injuries: Odell Beckham Jr.
Would OBJ Have Been the League’s First $200M Deal for a WR?
Speaking on the premiere of their Uno and Ocho Show alongside 2015 NFL Most Valuable Player Cam Newton Tuesday, the former wideout Johnson believes Beckham could’ve been the league’s first-ever receiver who surpassed $199 million.
“I wish we could rewind back the time and he never gotten hurt. I think ‘O’ might have been the first $200 million deal. He does more than just play football. He’s bigger than that,” Johnson said.
Most certainly Beckham reached a stratosphere of his own the moment he joined the New York Giants. Along with his iconic one-handed grab versus the Dallas Cowboys his rookie season, OBJ went on to put together three seasons of snatching between 91 to 101 receptions while on his way to three consecutive Pro Bowls.
Additionally during that time, Beckham never finished below 1,305 receiving yards in a season and scored between 10 to 13 touchdowns for the Giants. And all three years were his lone Pro Bowl appearances.
Unfortunately, injuries and a well-publicized falling out with the Giants became a part of his final two seasons with the team that drafted him. He then had his departure with the Cleveland Browns before being claimed off waivers by the Los Angeles Rams.
And it was L.A. where OBJ had his rebirth by helping guide the team to their second Super Bowl win…and that included a stellar start in Super Bowl 56 before his devastating ACL tear.
Beckham was not playing last season as he continued his recovery from that knee ailment.
But now, he’s on a one-year deal that pays him $15 million with the Baltimore Ravens.
Did OBJ Make Johnson’s Top-5 List Ever?
While Johnson heaped praise for OBJ, did he land on the six-time Pro Bowler’s top-five all-time list of wide receivers?
Johnson ended up going with three Hall of Famers in Jerry Rice, Randy Moss, and his brief former teammate with the Cincinnati Bengals Terrell Owens to start.
Next came Calvin “Megatron” Johnson — prompting a “Lord have mercy” statement from Johnson when thinking about the Detroit Lions legend and Hall of Famer.
But the fifth receiver he mentioned? Not only a player eligible for a Hall of Fame induction, but a former junior college teammate of his from Santa Monica College: Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers.
Newton, who played with “Smitty,” said when the receiver knew you were scared of him, he went after you like a shark.
Beckham may not have made Johnson’s list, but there’s still the belief he could’ve been the richest NFL WR ever.