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#pounditFriday, January 28, 2022

Articles tagged: Odell Beckham Jr.

Sean Payton says Saints were ‘close’ to signing star wide receiver

Sean Payton

Odell Beckham Jr. chose to sign with the Los Angeles Rams after they, along with the Green Bay Packers, were said to be one of two finalists. However, we learned on Thursday that another top NFC team was squarely in the mix.

Sean Payton was asked on “The Dan Patrick Show” Thursday if he felt the New Orleans Saints were close to signing Beckham. The coach said he had productive conversations with OBJ and feels the Pro Bowler gave the Saints serious consideration.

“We had good conversations. He’s from here. Only he could answer that, but I felt really positive. … I would say close,” Patrick said. “All along if L.A. had an opportunity, I knew that was where he was gonna go. I don’t think L.A. was an option until really, maybe, the middle of the process. I would say fairly close, but I think only he would be able to answer that.”

Payton was then asked if he thinks the Saints would have had a better shot at landing Beckham if Brees were still their quarterback. He said he thinks Beckham was set on L.A. regardless once the Rams entered the fold.

Beckham supposedly preferred to sign with a team other than the Rams, but L.A. made the best offer. Payton, obviously, believes the Rams were at the top of OBJ’s list.

49ers defender vows payback on Odell Beckham Jr. during next meeting

Odell Beckham Jr at the LSU game

It did not take long for Odell Beckham Jr. to make the first enemy of his Los Angeles Rams career.

After the Rams lost to the NFC West rival San Francisco 49ers on Monday, 49ers free safety Jimmie Ward made clear that he was not pleased about Beckham’s hard hit on his opening-drive interception of Matthew Stafford.

“I was just thinking about how Odell came and hit me,” said Ward. “How I’m going to have to pay him back next time I see him. I’ve been waiting a long time to hit him, so hopefully I can catch him.”

Ward has been with the 49ers for his entire career, so it is not like this was two former teammates playfully joking around. You can also see in the video of his remarks below that Ward certainly did not appear to be lighthearted.

Granted, it did not seem like there was anything particularly flagrant about the hit by Beckham. He was making a football play attempting to jar the ball loose and did not do anything dirty like lead with the helmet. It was a clean shoulder-pad-to-shoulder-pad hit from the looks of it.

Ward has his interpretation of how the play went down though and will look forward to San Francisco’s next meeting with the Rams in Week 18. It was definitely a bit strange for Ward to come at Beckham for the hit though, especially because Ward is known as a hard-hitter himself.

Photo: Jan 13, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers former player Odell Beckham, Jr. in attendance before the College Football Playoff national championship game against the Clemson Tigers at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Troy Aikman: Matthew Stafford already feeling ‘pressure’ from Odell Beckham

Troy Aikman in a suit

Odell Beckham Jr. was part of a blowout loss in his first game with the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night. The team is hoping better days lay ahead, but Troy Aikman sounds quite skeptical.

During an appearance on 96.7 The Ticket in Dallas on Tuesday, Aikman said he wonders if the big trades the Rams recently made “shook the chemistry and foundation” of their team. He got that impression while watching them in their 31-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

“You bring in just one (new) player into the locker room, it can change the dynamic of a locker room,” Aikman said, as transcribed by Mark Lane of The Texans Wire.

Aikman added that bringing in players like Beckham and Von Miller leads to other starters losing their jobs. He said that can create “cliques,” which is “what I sensed last night.”

You could argue that Aikman is jumping to conclusions too quickly, but he didn’t stop there. He also pointed out how Matthew Stafford threw an interception on the opening drive on a pass intended for Beckham. He speculated that Stafford could already have been feeling some of the pressure that Baker Mayfield felt with the Cleveland Browns.

“I think Matthew now feels some of the pressure that maybe Baker Mayfield felt of, ‘Hey, we’ve got to get this guy involved, or he’s in the game right now because he’s going to take his deep route and I’ve got to find a way to get this ball in his hands because that’s why he’s playing on this play,'” Aikman said. “It’s not good and it’s not good playing quarterback when you feel pressure to get the ball to one particular player. It just doesn’t work.”

That’s a lot to take away from Beckham’s first game with the Rams. In addition to trying to incorporate Beckham into the playbook, Stafford and the Rams were also playing without Robert Woods, who tore his ACL in practice last week. They will need some time to adjust to that, too.

One Browns player seemingly issued a warning for the Rams after they signed Beckham. It sounds like Aikman agrees.

Photo: Nov 21, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys former quarterback Troy Aikman attends the NFL game between the Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Odell Beckham Jr could be used in unexpected role with Rams

Odell Beckham Jr warms up

The Los Angeles Rams could lean on Odell Beckham Jr. even more heavily than expected now that Robert Woods suffered a season-ending knee injury, and they may ask their new receiver to do more than just catch passes.

The Rams have discussed the possibility of using Beckham as a punt returner, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. They have designed a package of plays for Beckham for their Monday night game against the San Francisco 49ers, and some of those plays could include returning punts.

Beckham returned punts early in his career with the New York Giants. He was used as a punt returner just once in two-plus seasons with the Cleveland Browns.

The Rams got some bad news over the weekend when tests revealed that Woods tore his ACL in Friday’s practice. Woods is a huge part of L.A.’s passing game and had five touchdown receptions in his last six games.

It would be somewhat surprising if the Rams use Beckham much on special teams. He’s suddenly their No. 2 receiver, so it will be important to protect his health.

Photo: Oct 21, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) warms up before the game between the Browns and the Denver Broncos at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Odell Beckham Jr. thanks Cleveland Browns in classy note

Odell Beckham Jr warms up

Odell Beckham Jr. forced his way out of Cleveland and has signed with the Los Angeles Rams. Though he had to resort to some dirty tactics to get the Browns to cut him, he still has love for the team and organization.

Beckham shared a photo of a handwritten note to his Twitter account Saturday in which he expressed gratitude towards the Browns.

Beckham addressed the note to “Believeland.” He included many capital letters where they didn’t belong, all of which are included below.

“So many emotions running through me as I move on to the next chapter of my journey,” he began.

“I want to thank the city of Cleveland for welcoming me with open arms. My goal was always to help bring a championship to the city of Cleveland from the first day I became a member of the Cleveland Browns.

“Through all the ups and downs, injuries and rehab, I am forever grateful to have played in front of some of the Greatest Fans Ever. DAWG Pound I thank you for embracing me and showing me so much LOVE!

“Mr. and Mrs. Haslam I thank you for giving me an opportunity to be a member of your great organization.

“To the entire Browns Front Office, support staff, and Organization, THANK YOU for everything that you have done for my family and I. I appreciate you more than you will ever know.

“Love to all my Coaches and Teammates, it was an honor and a privilege to have taken the field with you and to call you all my Family.

“Yall (sic) boys are 4lifers with me!!! Mean that from my Soul,” Beckham wrote.

Then he addressed a specific part of his note to Jarvis “Juice” Landry.

“MY Brother Juice

“We have been blessed to have played together at the highest levels. Thank you for always pushing me to be the best man and player that I can be. You’re Truly a Gift from GOD. I know Gods Plan Never Fails.

“With LOVE and Gratitude, OBJ.”

That was a nice and classy note from Beckham. He did what he had to do to get to a better situation for himself. His career in Cleveland didn’t go as he hoped. But in the end, he still has love for the team, fans and city. It’s nice of him to show that.

Now Beckham is ready for chapter three of his NFL career, which is with the Rams, a team he chose for good reasons.

Photo: Oct 21, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) warms up before the game between the Browns and the Denver Broncos at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Odell Beckham explains why he signed with Rams

Odell Beckham Jr warms up

Odell Beckham Jr. shed some light on his decision to join the Los Angeles Rams.

Beckham’s decision caught many off-guard, but the wide receiver said it “felt right,” and admitted that Rams players recruiting him played a role.

We know Beckham clearly didn’t feel valued or appreciated in Cleveland. For whatever reason, he simply didn’t become a big part of the offense there and never clicked on the field with Baker Mayfield. A number of Rams players, including some big names, made clear to Beckham that they wanted him on the team. That matters, as does the fact that the team is clearly in contention.

While finances would have been a limited factor for Beckham, there could be another reason the veteran receiver landed in Los Angeles.

Photo: Oct 21, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) warms up before the game between the Browns and the Denver Broncos at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Odell Beckham contract details hint at why 1 team passed on him

Odell Beckham after a game

Odell Beckham Jr.’s decision to sign with the Los Angeles Rams came as a surprise, but it looks less like one the more we learn about the factors that went into it.

Reports have indicated that Beckham was very interested in joining the Green Bay Packers, but the team did not launch a particularly aggressive pursuit of him. We may now know why. According to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Rams gave Beckham a deal with a base salary of $1.25 million with $3 million in incentives. While the Packers could have done the same, it would have risked making an already bad cap situation worse in 2022.

The Packers are facing an enormous cap bill in 2022. Their reworked contract with Aaron Rodgers basically ensured that, and even if the team moves on from Rodgers, they’re going to have to make some tough decisions to get under the salary cap. Adding Beckham could have exacerbated those issues, and that may have been why the team wasn’t more aggressive in pursuing him.

It’s been reported that Beckham wanted to play for Green Bay, but they offered much less than the Rams did. This is probably why the Packers were so conservative in their offer.

Photo: Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. returns to MetLife Stadium for the first time since he was traded by the New York Giants. The New York Jets lose to the Cleveland Browns, 23-3, in NFL Week 2 on Monday, Sept. 16, 2019, in East Rutherford. Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com, North Jersey Record via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Odell Beckham Jr. preferred to sign with other NFC team?

Odell Beckham Jr warms up

Odell Beckham Jr. agreed to a deal with the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday, but they may not have been his first choice. Had all things been equal, Beckham might have ended up catching passes from Aaron Rodgers for the remainder of the season.

According to ESPN’s Jordan Schultz, Beckham would have preferred to sign with the Green Bay Packers over the Rams. But Beckham reportedly did not feel that the Packers were “all-in” on him. Green Bay reportedly offered him no more than a veteran minimum contract.

If OverTheCap.com’s latest numbers are accurate, the Packers have more than $4 million in salary cap space. That means they could have afforded to offer Beckham more than the veteran minimum, especially if they structured his contract similarly to the way the Rams did. Beckham’s contract with L.A. has several incentives. If he hits those, they would count toward the salary cap in 2022.

The Packers are projected to be roughly $40 million over the salary cap next season, so perhaps they took that into consideration. Or, maybe they simply didn’t feel Beckham was worth the money given all his recent injuries and lack of production with the Cleveland Browns.

In any event, you can understand why Beckham felt more wanted by the Rams. Some of their star players recruited him heavily, and Sean McVay almost certainly sold him on the idea of an offense that plans to keep airing it out. As long as he’s comfortable not being the first or even second option in the passing game, Beckham should have plenty of opportunities to thrive with L.A.

Photo: Oct 21, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) warms up before the game between the Browns and the Denver Broncos at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Tyrann Mathieu had funny tweet about Rams signing Odell Beckham

Tyrann Mathieu

The rich got richer on Thursday when the Los Angeles Rams added Odell Beckham Jr. to their already loaded roster. One NFL player wondered how the Rams can afford to acquire so many star players, and Kansas City Chiefs star Tyrann Mathieu offered a great explanation.

After the Rams announced they have signed Beckham, Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Damien Wilson wrote “where the Rams finding all this money” on Twitter. Mathieu reminded him that team owner Stan Kroenke is married to Ann Walton, who is an heiress to the Walmart throne.

Of course, that doesn’t really matter. Most NFL owners and their families are filthy rich. They all have to operate under the same salary cap, so having the most money doesn’t mean much in terms of building a roster.

The Kansas City Chiefs were said to have interest in Beckham, but he chose the Rams. If contending for a championship is his priority, you can understand why. Mathieu’s Chiefs have looked mediocre at best this season. That probably has a lot more to do with them missing out on Beckham than how wealthy any team owner is.

We saw a variety of reactions from players after Beckham signed with the Rams. You can probably imagine how his new teammates feel about it.

Photo: Jan 27, 2020; Miami, FL, USA; Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Tyrann Mathieu is interviewed during Super Bowl LIV Opening Night at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Video: Did Sean McVay tip that Rams would sign Odell Beckham Jr?

Sean McVay at a press conference

The Los Angeles Rams did a good job of keeping their interest in Odell Beckham Jr. fairly quiet, but head coach Sean McVay may have hinted that the move was coming hours before it was announced.

Not long before Beckham finalized an agreement with L.A., McVay was asked if Rams general manager Les Snead was exploring the possibility of signing the star receiver. McVay responded that “Les is always doing work behind the scenes.” The coach insisted he is focused on preparing for Monday night’s game against the San Francisco 49ers, but he let out a suspicious chuckle.

One reporter pointed out that McVay was grinning ear to ear. Here’s the exchange:

Now that we know the Rams were very much in the process of courting Beckham, it’s fair to say McVay may have inadvertently showed some of his excitement. He certainly has a say in personnel decisions, so the way he handled the question was telling.

Beckham supposedly received strong recruiting pitches from several teams. We didn’t hear much about the Rams being involved until they signed him. It came out after the fact that Rams players were doing their best to recruit Beckham. The fact that we didn’t hear about any of it beforehand is a testament to the organization’s ability to keep important information under wraps.