Don’t expect NFL’s Odell Beckham Jr. to play regular season games


The odds we’re going to see OBJ this year are quickly diminishing.

The odds we’re going to see OBJ this year are quickly diminishing.
Image: Getty Images

The free agency of Odell Beckham Jr. 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 also that he expected there to be a bidding war for his services.

Beckham visited the New York Giants and Buffalo Bills the first week of December, and was with the Dallas Cowboys last week. ESPN’s Ed Werder reported, after that final visit, that the results of Beckham’s physical exam concerned the Cowboys. According to Werder, it revealed that the ACL Beckham injured in the Super Bowl had not yet fully healed and he wouldn’t be ready to play until mid January.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport is reporting that there is “no deal imminent” for Beckham. He didn’t work out for any of the teams that he visited with, and at the moment he isn’t ready to play.

Beckham appears to be hopeful that he can latch onto a roster and contribute for a team in the postseason. He made an appearance on a Thursday Night Football edition of The Shop, and has backed off of what he said that he wanted last month. Beckham had wanted a multi-year deal, but said on Thursday that he wants to be somewhere “for four weeks and then let’s talk about it.”

“I’m not saying that I couldn’t step in and play regular season, but I don’t see the point,” Beckham said on The Shop.

I see his point. The best way for Beckham to maximize his value would be to jump on a roster and make huge plays in the playoffs just like he did last season for the Los Angeles Rams. He would’ve received a multi-year contract this past offseason had he not gotten hurt in the Super Bowl.

However, he signed with the Rams in the middle of the regular season and had two months to get acclimated to the 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 of the route concepts in a new offense.

Maybe a roster spot is all he needs to make one huge 80-yard touchdown catch to save a season. That play would be replayed all offseason on NFL Network, and clicked on millions of times on social media. It’s the play that could get the 30-year-old, one final major contract.

It’s a long shot, but that’s all he has at this point. If he doesn’t play until next season, he will be much healthier, but it is highly unlikely that he will get the multi-year deal that he wanted for most of this year. He’ll be a year older in 2023, and coming off an ACL that was surgically repaired twice in two years. If he did get a multi-year contract offer it would not be a massive payday. And a one-year prove-it deal, how much money could he realistically command in 2024 when he would be turning 32 years old during the season?

While the market has cooled, he had better keep his legs warm. His best chance is what he has most recently said that he wants, an opportunity to make plays for team on a national stage in the playoffs.

All of the team interested will still need him in January. A big play or two could mean the difference between a deep run and an early exit. So put a bookmark in the Beckham free agency story for now, but be ready to pick it back up in 2023.

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