Odell Beckham Jr.

Rams’ OBJ Tests Positive For COVID-19

Odell Beckham Jr. has tested positive for COVID-19, according to veteran NFL reporter Josina Anderson (Twitter link). The wide receiver will be placed on the Rams’ COVID-19 list, which may prevent him from playing the Seahawks on Sunday. 

[RELATED: Chiefs Place C. Jones On COVID-19 List]

OBJ is just the latest in a slew of positive cases across the NFL. On Monday, an estimated 37 players were found to have COVID-19. Today, league sources are expecting upwards of 25 more positive tests (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com).

Unlike Chris Jones and Rashawn Slater, Beckham has time to clear COVID-19 protocols, pending his vaccination status and forthcoming test results. Beckham, 29, has appeared in four games since joining the Rams. So far, he’s got 15 catches for 204 yards and three touchdowns with his new team. Between that and his 17/232 line from the Browns, he’s registered 32 catches for 436 yards, and three scores so far this year. It’s all a far cry from his best work, but the Rams are hoping to see the old OBJ down the stretch.

Steelers Made Late Push For OBJ

Odell Beckham Jr. is expected to debut for the Rams in a matter of hours. But, minutes before he signed with Los Angeles, the Steelers made a late entry into the OBJ sweepstakes, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport

[RELATED: Rams Want To Extend OBJ]

However, by that point, the wide receiver had already narrowed down his list. The Chiefs, Packers, Patriots, Seahawks, and Saints were also in the mix, but the Beckham saw the Rams as the best fit.

It just feels right about the [Rams] offense,” Beckham said. “I hope to find a groove and help this team find ways to win.”

Saints head coach Sean Payton personally tried to court the former LSU standout, but the Saints weren’t sure if he was serious about coming to New Orleans (Twitter link via Jeff Duncan of The Times-Picayune). Like most of the other teams involved, it’s believed that the Saints pitched him on a ~$1MM base salary for 2021, plus incentives. The Packers were something of an exception, according to RapSheet, offering only the veteran’s minimum.

With incentives, Beckham can make up to $3MM on his Rams deal this year. After that, he’ll be eligible for free agency, giving all of his previous suitors another chance to land him. Meanwhile, the Rams are already working to keep him from the open market.

Contract Details: Beckham, Bitonio, Gano

Rounding up a few contract details from this past week:

  • Odell Beckham, WR (Rams): One year, $1.25MM, with up to $3MM in team-based incentives. Incentive package is as follows: $500K if Rams get wildcard win or first-round bye; $750K for divisional round win; $750K for NFC Championship Game win; $500K for Super Bowl appearance, or $1MM for Super Bowl win. OBJ would have to play at least one snap of those postseason contests to earn the incentive (Twitter links via Albert Breer of SI.com). None of the $4.25MM paid by Browns is offset, so Beckham earns that full amount in addition to his Rams payouts.
  • Joel Bitonio, G (Browns): Three years, originally reported as $48MM. Per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (via Twitter), the total value actually checks in at over $49MM, as Cleveland agreed to pay Bitonio 17th-game checks on his 2020 and 2021 salaries. So Bitonio’s AAV is $16.37MM, which narrowly tops Joe Thuney‘s $16MM pact with the Chiefs and makes him the highest-paid guard on a multi-year contract.
  • Graham Gano, K (Giants): Agreed to convert ~$514K of base salary into signing bonus, thereby creating ~343K of 2021 cap space (Twitter link via ESPN’s Field Yates).

Rams Hope To Extend Odell Beckham Jr. 

The Rams have signed Odell Beckham Jr. to a one-year deal, but this could wind up as a long-term arrangement. The Rams are hopeful that they’ll be able to sign Beckham to an extension, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (Twitter link), one that would keep him in Los Angeles for 2022 and beyond.

[RELATED: Rams Sign OBJ]

The Rams weren’t viewed as a leading suitor for Beckham, but, as RapSheet notes, they’ve actually had him on the radar for years. Sean McVay & Co. finally got their man this week, following Beckham’s messy divorce from the Browns. Before that, the Chiefs, Patriots, Saints, Seahawks, and Packers were viewed as his most likely destinations.

Beckham is now set to team with Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, and youngster Van Jefferson, furnishing the Rams with one of the league’s most dangerous WR groups. Thanks in part to their efforts, Matthew Stafford stands as the NFL’s leading passer with 2,771 yards through the air. Kupp, meanwhile, leads the league in all major WR categories — 74 grabs, 1,019 receiving yards, and ten touchdown catches.

Of course, it won’t be easy to keep all their stars for the long haul, especially since newcomer Von Miller also needs a fresh deal. But, through salary cap magic, they’ve managed to keep much of the band together in recent years.

For now, they’ve got OBJ on a modest one-year deal worth up to $4.25MM. He’s expected to debut on Monday night, when the Rams face the 49ers in San Francisco.

OBJ Notes: Rams Pursuit, Contract, Other Suitors

Matthew Stafford and the Rams offense has been cruising, and the team added another weapon today when they signed Odell Beckham Jr. to a one-year deal. Predictably, Stafford is excited to see OBJ join a depth chart that already features Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods.

“I’ve played with a bunch of good (receivers) in my career, and he’s up there,” Stafford said (via Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com). “He’s a talented guy. It’s one of those things where everybody on our team carves out their role. They do a great job of figuring out what that role is going to be and going out there and proving it — both on the practice field and in games — and then getting those opportunities. I know he’ll do the same. There’s a lot of time between now and that. We’ve just got to make sure that we’re on the same page, go out there and play ball.”

While Stafford and the Rams won the Beckham sweepstakes, a few teams were left empty handed. That included the Seahawks and Russell Wilson, who wished the wideout well but noted that his squad already has plenty of capable receivers on the depth chart.

“First of all, with Odell, he’s an unbelievable talent, a world class, generational type of talent,” Wilson said (via Mike Florio of PFT). “For our organization, we are always looking for ways to compete and find ways to win, but we have some great guys already. We have some of the best guys in the world, so to have the possibility of adding another amazing talent would be amazing. If not, we are still ready to go, hopefully all of the way, and that’s been our focus. He’s a tremendous talent.”

Some more notes following OBJ’s decision to join the Rams:

  • NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport has details on OBJ’s contract (on Twitter). Beckham Jr. got a one-year, $4.25MM deal that includes a $500K signing bonus and $750K for the rest of the season. The other $3MM is based on team-based incentives, so the wideout will get a nice payout if the team makes a Super Bowl run. This also means that OBJ could end up earning more with his new team than he was due from the Browns.
  • The Rams came in late to the bidding process, and OBJ was ultimately enticed by the team’s passing attack. “We came in a bit late —but we gave him best shot,” a team source told ESPN’s Dianna Russini (Twitter link). “Sold great QB. 65% pass. Single coverage.” Another Rams source told Russini that the team believed they “needed to add one more piece” to their receivers depth chart, with the OBJ signing allowing them to basically rotate four players for three spots.
  • Albert Breer tweets more details on the Rams pursuit, noting that the Rams initially told the wideout that they didn’t have a lot to spend. However, the player’s camp “encouraged” the organization to stay involved. Meanwhile, Yahoo’s Charles Robinson tweets that the Rams had interest in acquiring OBJ in 2018 when the Giants put him on the trade block.
  • For failed pursuits: Chiefs coach Andy Reid made a pitch to Beckham Jr., per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (on Twitter). The 49ers also failed in their pursuit, with GM John Lynch acknowledging that the team’s underwhelming record probably didn’t make them a legit suitor…although OBJ apparently did have past interest in joining San Francisco. “I don’t think close,” Lynch responded when asked how close the organization came to signing OBJ (via Can Inman of the San Jose Mercury on Twitter). “To be blunt some of that, you have to earn the right … He’s been fond of our place. He came up to me in [2018] pregame and said “get me here, get me here.”

Rams, Odell Beckham Jr. Agree To Deal

Well, one of the mystery teams revealed itself Thursday afternoon. The Rams have emerged at the 11th hour for Odell Beckham Jr. They are expected to sign him, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets, adding that the sides are finalizing an agreement. The Rams have since announced the signing.

The star-chasing franchise was not among the initial squads linked to the free agent wide receiver, but The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue indicated earlier this afternoon momentum was developing here (Twitter link). Beckham was down to the Rams and Packers, according to NFL.com’s Kim Jones and Ian Rapoport (on Twitter).

Los Angeles won out, with USA Today’s Mike Jones indicating the Rams and Beckham have a deal in place (Twitter link). The Rams have also shared an image on their team site in anticipation of Beckham’s impending arrival (via Rodrigue, on Twitter). Beckham will follow LeBron James in going from Cleveland to Los Angeles, doing so after James dropped a #FreeOBJ hashtag to help ignite a strange separation from the Browns.

Beckham’s deal will run through season’s end, Rapoport tweets, giving him the opportunity to try and rebuild his stock ahead of a likely 2022 free agency run. OBJ committing to the Rams adds a three-time Pro Bowler to an already-strong receiving corps — one that has played a big role in the team starting 7-2. Beckham sought a contender and a high-end quarterback. The Rams supply both, with Matthew Stafford having provided a big upgrade for the franchise.

The Chiefs, Patriots, Saints, Seahawks and Packers represented the top quintet linked to Beckham this week. The Rams, who already roster the potent Cooper KuppRobert Woods pairing in addition to emerging second-year talent Van Jefferson, have pursued big-ticket performers for years. The franchise just sent two Day 2 picks for Von Miller. Beckham becomes a famous complementary piece in Los Angeles’ offense, which ranks in the top five in both scoring and yardage through nine games. Beckham’s fit will be interesting, seeing as the Rams just cut DeSean Jackson due to their depth at the position.

After Beckham’s three inconsistent Browns seasons, Sean McVay will have a chance to catalyze a rebound as his team vies for the NFC’s No. 1 seed. Beckham, 29, moved his way out of Cleveland last week, doing so after catching one pass in the Browns’ Week 8 loss to the Steelers. A reworked contract helped OBJ clear waivers, with no team wanting to pick up his $7.25MM in base salary. The Browns saved $3MM by Beckham hitting free agency and will see him leave the AFC rather than land in Kansas City or New England.

The former first-round Giants pick has five 1,000-yard seasons on his resume, but his Pro Bowl streak stopped after the 2016 season. Injuries slowed Beckham at the end of his New York tenure, and his value dipped further with the Browns. Time is running short for the former superstar to show he can still be an impact player. Beckham has more than two receptions in just two of the six games he has played this season, though the eighth-year veteran began the year coming off ACL surgery and has run into shoulder trouble. The Rams, who acquired Miller after an ankle injury, are betting on Beckham still providing difference-making capabilities.

The Packers presented a clearer need for a No. 2 wide receiver. Davante Adams has been the team’s unquestioned WR1 for years. This season, the All-Pro wideout has a 500-plus-yard lead on Green Bay’s second-leading pass catcher. The Seahawks, Saints and Chiefs also took turns as the supposed favorites in this rare midseason sweepstakes, but the Rams — as they did for Miller, Stafford and Jalen Ramsey in recent years — won out.

Chiefs Moving Ahead In OBJ Pursuit?

Enjoying the rare expansive midseason free agency sweepstakes, Odell Beckham Jr. may still be days away from making a decision. And this process has involved multiple frontrunners. A new one may be emerging.

The latest chatter around the NFL points to the Chiefs pulling ahead in the pursuit of the standout wide receiver, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes. This news comes not long after the Saints were perceived as the leaders here. The Chiefs present an interesting situation for Beckham, who has hoped to land with a contender.

Although Patrick Mahomes is in the worst slump of his career, the Chiefs bring a combination of contender status and a top-flight quarterback-HC duo in Mahomes and Andy Reid. The two-time reigning AFC champions have made offensive line improvements but have still seen their elite passing attack slowed. As teams move to minimize Mahomes’ deep strikes, the Chiefs are averaging 12 points per game over their past three.

The Chiefs would not present the kind of volume Beckham could receive with the Saints, who are desperate for a No. 1 receiver. But OBJ would stand to be a big upgrade on Mecole Hardman and be in line to play a different role compared to what was expected in New York and Cleveland. The 29-year-old target would slot in as Kansas City’s No. 3 option in the passing game, behind Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. Fellow ex-Browns weapon Josh Gordon has not made an impact as a Chief. The 30-year-old wideout has one catch in five games with the team.

The earliest Beckham would resume his season would seemingly be Week 11, and Dianna Russini of ESPN.com tweets teams in this race are under the impression the eighth-year veteran will wait until after Sunday’s games to decide on a destination. The Saints, Seahawks, Patriots and Packers are known to be in the mix, with multiple other unknown suitors apparently still active here as well.

Odell Beckham Jr. Decision Still “Days Away”

Odell Beckham Jr. Watch’ is moving on to hour 30, and it doesn’t sound like it’s going to be ending any time soon. According to Kim Jones and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (via Twitter), the free agent wideout’s decision is still “a few days away.”

[RELATED: Buccaneers Not Pursuing Odell Beckham Jr.]

After passing through waivers unclaimed yesterday, OBJ is officially a free agent for the first time in his career, and the receiver intends to take his time as he determines his next destination. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler tweets that “as many as eight teams” have made a play at signing the veteran. The Saints, Seahawks, Patriots, Packers, Chiefs, and (kind of) the Raiders have all been connected to the Beckham over the past few days, and it sounds like a handful of mystery teams are also in the hunt.

While OBJ has made it clear that he’ll prioritize a team with a reliable QB and a shot at winning the championship, it sounds like money is also a factor. Albert Breer of TheMMQB tweets that the player’s $4.25MM termination pay allows the player to double-dip and make up some of the money he gave up to Cleveland. Beckham reworked his Browns deal before he was cut, making him a 2022 free agent instead of a 2024 UFA.

After two-and-a-half seasons and 29 total games, OBJ left Cleveland with 114 catches and 1,586 yards, good for an average of 13.9 yards per reception. He scored just seven receiving touchdowns along the way, with per-game averages of 3.9 grabs and 54.7 yards per contest. But, before he relocated to Ohio, Beckham was an absolute monster in New York. OBJ topped 1,300 yards in each of his first three seasons, including a career-high 1,450 yards in 2015. And, after his lost 2017 season, he still managed 77 catches, 1,052 yards, and six touchdowns in a 12-game 2018.

Buccaneers Not Pursuing Odell Beckham Jr.

While the Buccaneers have made numerous splash additions over the past year and change, they are not going to add Odell Beckham Jr. to that mix.

Bruce Arians nixed that idea Wednesday, halting speculation the team would bring in another hired gun to join Tom Brady‘s arsenal. “We’ve already got AB; we don’t need OBJ. Too many letters,” Arians said, via the Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud (on Twitter).

Since Brady arrived, the Bucs have bolstered their pass-catching corps by trading for Rob Gronkowski and signing Antonio Brown. Although Arians said last year the Bucs would not sign Brown, Brady continued to push for him until the parties agreed on terms. The presence of Brown, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin would cloud Beckham’s role, even as Brown is battling an injury.

Beckham’s suitor mix includes the Saints, Seahawks, Patriots, Packers and Chiefs, and although a mystery team is believed to be in the hunt as well, the defending Super Bowl champions are not that team.

The Bucs signed Breshad Perriman to their practice squad Tuesday and are expected to promote him to their active roster. Perriman, who topped 600 yards with the Bucs in 2019, would stand to be Brown insurance. The All-Decade wideout has missed the past two Bucs games.

Patriots, Seahawks Still In OBJ Mix; Saints Frontrunners?

On his first full day as a free agent, Odell Beckham Jr. is dominating the NFL news cycle. Offers are coming in, and several teams remain in the mix.

The Saints emerged as a team on Beckham’s radar, and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk tweets a belief in certain league circles exists that OBJ will end up in New Orleans. This is not a done deal, and New Orleans’ quarterback situation will affect its viability here. Beckham is a New Orleans native.

While some around the league view the wide receiver-needy Saints as having a leg up, the Seahawks have indeed reached out since Beckham became a free agent, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. Seattle, which was linked to Antonio Brown last year and kept Josh Gordon in their plans for multiple years, was viewed as a suitor — and a frontrunner as recently as Sunday — for the eighth-year wideout.

The Patriots also “definitely” remain in the mix, according to Florio (on Twitter), though a previous report did not list them as a team Beckham was considering. New England also has a history of big-ticket receiver moves under Bill Belichick, and with the Browns covering $4.25MM of his salary, money is not the significant factor it usually is in high-end free agent pursuits. Beckham’s recent struggles notwithstanding, the Pats are not dismissing the notion he would be an interesting addition, NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Curran notes, and the team believes the mutual respect between Belichick and Beckham provides a genuine opportunity for a partnership, per Mike Giardi of NFL.com (Twitter links).

New Orleans lost Jameis Winston for the season and went with Trevor Siemian as its starter in Week 9, keeping Taysom Hill in his gadget role. The Saints, however, have a major receiver need and attempted to trade for OBJ before the deadline. Beckham’s high salary certainly affected that potential deal, but he has since cleared waivers, making an addition much more palatable to teams. The Saints, who cut Emmanuel Sanders earlier this year, will not have Michael Thomas this season and have felt the effects of their thin receiver depth chart.

With the Packers and Chiefs listed among teams to attract OBJ interest, it remains to be seen if the 29-year-old target — who is hoping to bounce back potentially ahead of a 2022 free agency run — will choose a Saints team with a far less appealing quarterback situation. Green Bay has offered Beckham a veteran-minimum deal, and it is unlikely another team will come in with a far more lucrative proposal. A sixth team is also in the mix, The Athletic’s Jeff Howe tweets. While the 49ers were mentioned as Beckham suitors before his Browns exit, it is not known if they are still pursuing him.