In a 2021 NFL season full of twists and turns, Odell Beckham Jr. has had one of the most interesting individual campaigns of any player in the league. After essentially forcing his way out of Cleveland, OBJ signed a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Rams ahead of Week 10. Scheduled to again become a free agent when the new league year begins in March, will Beckham re-sign with the Rams? If not, where are his potential landing spots?
Can the Rams bring OBJ back in 2022?
After getting released by the Browns, Beckham signed a $2 million contract with the Rams that will take him through the end of the 2021 campaign. Just one day after signing OBJ, the Rams lost fellow WR Robert Woods to a season-ending injury, so Beckham has quickly become an integral part of LA’s offense. He’s scored a touchdown in each of his last three games and has posted 204 yards through four games with the Rams.
At this point, it’s unclear if the Rams will be able to re-sign Beckham. Although they could create some more leeway with a few financial maneuvers, they’re only projected to have $3 million in cap space next year. And with Cooper Kupp, Van Jefferson, and Woods (who will be difficult to cut due to his injury and contract) already in tow, there may not be a role for OBJ in Los Angeles. Still, it’s impossible to fully count out the Rams when it comes to acquiring or retaining star players.
Odell Beckham Jr. landing spots
Beckham, of course, was on the free-agent market as recently as November, so we have a solid idea of which teams might express interest in him next year.
The New Orleans Saints are in desperate need of WR help
Who knows what the Saints’ passing attack will look like in 2022? Any Sean Payton-led offense is likely to have some modicum of success, but it’s anyone’s guess as to who will be under center in New Orleans next year. But whether it’s Jameis Winston, Taysom Hill, a different veteran, or a rookie, that signal-caller will need some assistance at wide receiver.
The Saints were linked to OBJ following his release from the Browns, and for good reason. While Marquez Callaway ranks first on the team in targets and yards, running back Alvin Kamara leads the club in receptions. New Orleans could use a vertical threat, a possession receiver, a slot weapon…basically any kind of pass catcher they can find.
Michael Thomas could return next season. But given his consistent injury issues and his oft-acrimonious relations with Saints management, it’s impossible to predict his status for 2022.
As usual, New Orleans projects to have no cap space next year ($60 million in the red!). But if they can work their usual financial magic, Beckham could be an enticing option.
Could the Kansas City Chiefs add OBJ to their already-lethal offense?
The Chiefs certainly don’t need Beckham. Kansas City already boasts Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. They also rank fifth in points scored and third in dropback expected points added (EPA) per play. Patrick Mahomes and Co. are firing on all cylinders.
But KC did look into Beckham when he was available earlier this year, so we know they have at least some interest in adding a reliable third option. Sammy Watkins played that role so well during his three seasons with the Chiefs that I’m surprised he wasn’t nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar.
By signing with the Rams, OBJ proved that a) he wants to play for a contender and b) he doesn’t mind being a tertiary option. In Kansas City, he’d be an improvement over the likes of Mecole Hardman, Byron Pringle, and Demarcus Robinson, none of whom has ever shown anything more than a momentary flash.
Beckham would give the New England Patriots a dynamic threat
Beckham probably doesn’t strike many as a Bill Belichick-esque player, but the Patriots head coach has been willing to add ultra-talents with loud personalities in the past (see: Ochocinco, Chad). With Belichick nearing age 70, he’s in search of even more Super Bowl trophies, and OBJ could help him achieve that goal.
The Patriots went on a spending spree this offseason, adding wide receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne and tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith. Rookie quarterback Mac Jones has been impressive, but New England is still more of a ground-and-pound team. The offense needs a true No. 1 WR. Is Beckham still worth that label? Maybe not, but he’ll probably be a lot more affordable than fellow free agents Davante Adams, Chris Godwin, or Mike Williams.
The Seattle Seahawks need a third option in the passing game
The Seahawks’ passing offense is one of the more condensed units in the league. Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf have accounted for just over 50% of Seattle’s targets this season. The Seahawks have given chances to other receivers like Freddie Swain or David Moore, and they even pinned a small bit of hope on Josh Gordon at one point. But it’s still the Lockett & Metcalf Show.
Beckham’s fit in Seattle comes down to whether Russell Wilson returns in 2022. Rumor has it that Wilson could seek a trade again next year. If he’s playing for the Giants or some other franchise, OBJ probably won’t have any interest in coming to the Pacific Northwest. But if Wilson is still around, Beckham could give the Seahawks’ offense the boost it needs.
Will the Green Bay Packers finally add another WR?
Aaron Rodgers is now the MVP favorite after posting 13 touchdowns in his last four games. He’s clearly doing just fine with the current wide receiver options on Green Bay’s roster. Adams is the league’s best pass catcher, Marquez Valdes-Scantling is an excellent speed threat, and Allen Lazard is such a willing blocker that he’s basically an extra-speedy tight end.
But the Packers were reportedly one of the final suitors for Beckham in November, so they did have interest in bringing in another receiver. As is the case with the Seahawks, OBJ probably wouldn’t be interested in joining Green Bay if Rodgers is traded. But if Rodgers wins MVP and the Packers advance deep in the playoffs, maybe the future Hall of Fame quarterback could be convinced to stick around — especially if the front office promises to target someone like Beckham in free agency.
OBJ and the Las Vegas Raiders feel like a perfect match
The Raiders have been to hell and back this season. Amid a series of off-field incidents, Las Vegas is somehow still in contention in the AFC after defeating the Browns on Monday night. But no matter how the 2021 campaign turns out, change is to be expected next season.
A new head coach and a fresh offensive scheme likely await in 2022. Whether Derek Carr will be a part of that overhaul remains to be seen. But whoever is at quarterback will need more weapons. Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller is a great start, but with Henry Ruggs out of the NFL and Bryan Edwards failing to manage any production, the Raiders’ passing attack is stagnant. OBJ would have a chance to rebound to true No. 1 status on the Vegas roster.