Editor's Note: Odell Beckham Jr. has since signed with the Los Angeles Rams.
Wherever the outlandish talent that is Odell Beckham Jr. lands remains to be seen, but the way in which he goes about his business between the lines may need to change if he ever looks to recapture his past success. A wideout well-known for his flare and knack for the spectacular, behind all of his dazzle and glam is a pass-catcher with five 1,000-yard plus seasons, three Pro Bowls, and tons of juice left to immediately impact an offense in need of such.
After five seasons in New York where Beckham introduced himself as one of the league’s top boundary threats, his tenure in Cleveland left MUCH to be desired. Whether it was organizational turnover, lack of rapport with Baker Mayfield, or just a lack of desire to compete for the Browns, the last two seasons spent on the outside working in tandem with Jarvis Landry never mirrored his initial 2019 campaign with the Browns, ultimately leading to his well-documented release last week. With reports swirling surrounding his potential suitor, it’s placed Beckham in a unique spot, one he’s yet to find himself occupying in his eighth season.
Reportedly down to three teams in his desired home—the New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers, and Kansas City Chiefs—each destination presents its own laundry list of pros and cons. While New Orleans could be the easy pick due to their current wideout depth chart and past ties to the Bayou (Beckham attended LSU), joining Davante Adams up north as Aaron Rodgers’ de facto WR2 presents a wideout tandem fit for its own Netflix show. And of course, who could ignore his fit in Kansas City, especially considering the lack of consistency shown from Patrick Mahomes through nine weeks. Surely Beckham could slide right into Eric Bieniemy’s offense alongside Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce and produce, right? More talent around No. 15 in the form of Beckham would surely result in an embarrassment of riches, but with the Chiefs’ recent acquisition of Josh Gordon, they remain in the market for an impact boundary talent and Beckham could represent the soothing remedy to their current offensive struggles.
However, if he were to land in Green Bay, Kansas City, or on another team that swoops in to snatch Beckham off the market—*cough, Patriots*—Beckham’s role will undoubtedly change, and how in fact he responds to his new environment no longer as the lead dog could have major ramifications—positively and negatively—towards the longevity of his tenure and chemistry on the gridiron.
Known for his pre-game circus catches, lustrous wardrobe, and eccentric personality that garners the attention wherever he goes, Beckham has never taken a back seat to anyone. From his time at LSU, to the bright lights of Metlife Stadium, to the small market of Cleveland, he’s been the alpha, the go-to guy, and the hands to rely on when an offense needs a spark. Looked upon as the featured pass-catcher everywhere he’s been, a look at his lack of pop the last few seasons with Mayfield cannot, and should not, be ignored for teams interested in adding the baggage that comes along with the attention-seeking Beckham.
In New York, it was Beckham and Rueben Randle his first two seasons. It was Beckham’s show working with Eli Manning, and that’s it. The pass game lived and died by the rapport of the two offensive anchors, leading to the selection of Sterling Shepherd in 2017 as an addition opposite Beckham. In that year, he amassed just 302 receiving yards—a career low—after suffering a nasty ankle fracture that ended his season after four games. While he bounced back to top the 1,000-yard plateau the next fall, it was Beckham’s last as a Giant and he was traded to Cleveland the following spring. Pairing with Landry, the Browns touted two of football’s premier pass-catching talents following Landry’s move from Miami the season prior. While it was initially a surprising move considering Beckham’s persona, the relationship looked fruitful, but again, it wasn’t Beckham’s show. He wasn’t the top target for Mayfield, that role was for Landry, leading to often heated sideline discussions between Beckham and Cleveland’s quarterback over the last few seasons and a substandard total of 551 receiving yards in 13 starts combined the last two campaigns.
This brings us to today and Beckham’s current status as a free agent. He desires the spotlight, the glitz and glamour, the overall attention that comes with being Odell Beckham Jr. And while he still remains one of football’s most dynamic perimeter threats when healthy, his next home will bring to light the type of player the former Offensive Rookie of the Year sees himself as approaching 30 years old. Whether he decides to accept a lesser role for a potential Super Bowl contender, or he desires a workload that fits the script of a WR1, Beckham’s soon-to-be suitor will reveal everything we need to know toward the future of one of football’s headlining talents.