Packers Nation may be tired of talking, but that doesn’t change the simple truth – Green Bay Packers need to add a high-end wide receiver to their roster.
Even with rookie Christian Watson, an aging Randall Cobb, an unsigned Allen Lazard and a career disappointment in Sammy Watkins battling for the three starting spots at the job, the Packers remain clear. favorite bets to win the NFC North Division.
The defense is stacked, defending MVP Aaron Rodgers remains under center, and the offensive backfield boasts arguably the best brace in all of football (Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon) outside of the Cleveland Browns (Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt ).
But when the playoffs roll around and the likes of the Los Angeles Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Francisco 49ers arrive, Green Bay needs to have a proven wide receiver that Rodgers can rely on. Given the names still available through free agency and the Packers’ timeline — needing an elite wide receiver for the stretch run and the playoffs, but not necessarily to start the year — there’s a player which makes the most sense above all others.
The name of this player is Odell Beckham Jr.
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Beckham’s ACL injury creates a risk, but a packer can afford to take it
Beckham tore his ACL after catching a touchdown pass in the Rams’ Super Bowl victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in February, the second time the wide suffered this injury during his eight-year NFL career.
While a repeat injury of such severity is certainly concerning, Beckham is only 29 years old. He has three Pro Bowls to his name, though all three came early in his career with the New York Giants, and is now a Super Bowl champion.
He displayed an undeniable resurgence once he escaped what had become a toxic culture with quarterback Baker Mayfield and the Browns, amassing 305 receiving yards and scoring five touchdowns to finish the season with Los Angeles. He also played a key role in the Rams playoffs, making 21 catches for 288 yards and a few touchdowns.
Contract talks with Beckham could prove tricky for Packers
The part that could get tricky for Green Bay is what to pay Beckham and how long to pay him.
Rams head coach Sean McVay has expressed interest in bringing the wide into the fold in 2022, which could also be a hurdle in the Packers’ path, particularly because Beckham has publicly noted that interest is mutual.
“I really want Odell back in our team” McVay told NFL Network May 16.
Beckham, for his part, narrowly chose the Rams over the Packers when deciding which team he wanted to play for midway through last season. He doubled down on that via Twitter on May 11, noting that he wanted to return to Los Angeles but also wanted a living wage for his services.
“They know where I want to be 😂 😂,” Beckham wrote. “I just can’t play for free!”
It’s unclear what kind of contract Beckham is looking for, although the Packers are in a better position to pay for him than the Rams. Los Angeles has a little more 5 million dollars of ceiling space remaining this offseason, while Green Bay can spend just under $17 million.
ESPN’s Bill Barnwell wrote on May 12 that a year-long marriage between Beckham and the Packers makes the most sense of any bond the receiver could make this offseason. The talent and timelines match, while the Rams appear to have potentially moved on, even despite McVay’s public comments.
However, Barnewell doesn’t expect anyone to pay Beckham big money for half a season. He believes, however, that signing with a team like Green Bay and a QB like Rodgers offers Beckham the best chance of securing the third professional salary he seeks in 2023.
Beckham reportedly considered the Packers before joining the Rams last year, and while things worked out very well in Los Angeles, circumstances have changed. The Rams replaced Robert Woods with a big investment in Allen Robinson II.
The Packers, meanwhile, are suddenly lacking a wide No. 1 after handing out Davante Adams to the [Las Vegas] Raiders. Green Bay drafted Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs in the second and fourth rounds, respectively, but Beckham would have the chance to be a true WR1 with a great quarterback if he joined the Packers this time around.
That opportunity simply doesn’t exist anywhere else, and Beckham’s best chance of securing a big deal in 2023 is to excel with the Packers in 2022.