Odell Beckham Jr. On WR3 Role In Dolphins’ Offense

The Dolphins were first connected to Odell Beckham Jr. shortly after the first wave of free agency had passed in March, and they struck a one-year, incentive-laden deal with the 31-year-old wideout just a few days after the 2024 draft wrapped. Although the Jets were rumored as a possible suitor for the three-time Pro Bowler this offseason, it was ultimately a one-team race for Beckham’s services.

That fact is reflected in the $3MM base value of Beckham’s contract, a full $12MM less than the $15MM in guaranteed money he received from the Ravens in the 2023 offseason (a payout that was driven by the status of the Ravens’ negotiations with QB Lamar Jackson at the time). Beckham’s Miami deal also confirms that, despite his ability to stay mostly healthy thoughout his first and only Baltimore campaign, he is now viewed throughout the league as an ancillary piece rather than an offensive focal point.

For his part, Beckham is perfectly content with that. “[A]t this place in my life and my career, I haven’t been the No. 1 (WR) in a minute,” Beckham said during his introductory press conference (via Larry Holder of The Athletic (subscription required)). “You could go look at targets, you could go look at anything, that’s not really where I’ve been at.”

While virtually any player would take a backseat to Miami’s WR tandem of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, it is still notable that Beckham — who looked every bit a future Hall of Famer during the early stages of his pro career, and who had at least two clubs willing to pony up eight figures for him in 2023 — has made peace with his new role.

Beckham caught 35 balls for 565 yards last season, a far cry from his halcyon days with the Giants and even his first season with the Browns in 2019, which was generally considered to be a disappointment. On the other hand, his Baltimore production yielded a 16.1 yards-per-reception rate, a career-best mark that supports the execs who believe that he still possesses high-end ability.

And in South Beach, even a repeat of Beckham’s Ravens output should be more than enough to help the Dolphins’ offense continue to function at a high level. Despite the fact that Miami’s nominal No. 3 wideout, Cedrick Wilson Jr., recorded just 296 yards in 2023, the club finished first in the league in total offense and second in points scored. Wilson is no longer on the team, but Beckham and a pair of Day 3 draftees (Malik Washington and Tahj Washington) have been added to the unit.

Among the 35 receivers who garnered between 40 and 74 targets in 2023, OBJ finished 10th in terms of Expected Points Added per target and third in terms of EPA per reception, which suggests that he can indeed serve as a productive complement to Hill and Waddle.

In discussing his contentment with his current status, Beckham said, “[i]t’s amazing. It gives you a huge sense of peace. I feel like I used to carry a lot of anger or resentment or whatever it was. Now I just feel at peace. You’re able to train, you’re able to play the game that you love again. You kind of get past all the business side or whatever could be holding you back. A part of me feels like this is an opportunity for it to just be football.”

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