Last week was dominated by the question of where receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will continue his career. Some involved in the situation now reflect on the experience with a head shake and an exhale.
“Never a dull moment,” one source whose team pursued Beckham said as the dust finally settled on OBJ’s choice.
Others were less tactful. And while there certainly may be an element of source grapes at play, the circumstances suggest that it definitely was an experience. Or, as another source put it, “a cluster.”
Per that source, a couple of the teams that were in the hunt for Beckham still haven’t been informed by Beckham’s camp that they’re out of contention. Beyond that, Beckham changed his mind multiple times. He wanted to be claimed on waivers by the Seahawks. He wanted to sign with the Saints. As of Wednesday, he was telling some former Browns teammates that he would sign with the Chiefs.
Then came the bizarre 30 minutes on Thursday, when the Rams announced that Beckham had signed, before deleting it. Beckham then told NFL Network that he still hadn’t decided between the Packers and Rams. Minutes later, he picked the Rams. (There’s probably a good story to be told about how that nutty half hour unfolded.)
“He loved the recruiting aspect of it,” one source said. And that’s obvious, since he has said that the Rams showed him the “love” that he was seeking. That’s where the Rams made the difference, giving Beckham the attention and appreciation that he craved.
And, yes, the jersey number he’ll wear was an issue. Apparently, he believed that, if the Rams truly love him, they’ll show it by giving him the number that had been reserved for running back Cam Akers.
It’s fine that Beckham took full advantage of his options. and of the experience. He had never been a free agent. He had never been recruited by anyone since LSU. He had many factors to balance, and it appears that he placed great significance on how aggressively the teams that were pursuing him proved it with their words and actions.
That said, some of the teams that fruitlessly chased Beckham may be inclined not to give it another try if/when he becomes a free agent again in March. Which could make it easier for the Rams, frankly, to keep him. If that’s what the Rams decide to do.