As Rams receiver Odell Beckham Jr. prepares to play at Lambeau Field on Sunday for the Rams, Beckham indeed could have been playing in the same game, for the Packers.
Beckham, per prior reports, ultimately chose between L.A. and Green Bay. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com now reports that the Packers never moved their offer above the veteran minimum for the balance of the season, plus incentives. Per Schefter, the Packers “were asked to increase their offer to Beckham on multiple occasions.” When the Packers declined, Beckham chose the Rams.
It could be difficult to harmonize that with the way the plane clumsily landed. After the Rams initially announced that Beckham had agreed to terms, but then deleted the announcement. Thereafter, NFL Media reported that Beckham had narrowed his options to the Rams and Packers. Not long after that, Beckham officially chose the Rams.
As Schefter explains it, Beckham wanted more from the Packers than the Rams offered. “He wasn’t going to take the same, or less money, to go to Green Bay [over Los Angeles],” an unnamed source told Schefter.
When word leaked of the Packers offering Beckham the veteran minimum, some within league circles regarded it as a hollow offer, aimed at creating the impression that the Packers tried to sign him. Aimed at not giving quarterback Aaron Rodgers another reason to gripe about the failure to target and pursue veteran talent. (It worked; Rodgers seemed to be placated by the effort.)
Ultimately, the Rams gave Beckham $1.25 million plus up to $3 million in incentives based on team achievements in the postseason. The base amount equates to $2.5 million per year. The veteran minimum for a player of Beckham’s experience level sits at $1.075 million; this means that the Packers were offering $537,500 plus incentives — far short of the L.A. offer.
Beckham needs to make at least $3 million to break even, based on what he would have received from the Browns in 2021. As part of the revised contract that resulted in his release, he agreed to collect only $4.25 million of the $7.25 million to which he’d be entitled as termination pay.
Although some are saying that Beckham wanted to go to the Rams all along, he changed his mind on several occasions during his first trip to free agency. At one point, he told former Cleveland teammates he planned to sign with the Chiefs, for example. When the dust finally settled, some teams that were in the hunt for Beckham didn’t receive word from Beckham’s camp that they were out.
If/when he becomes a free agent again in March, that could cause some teams that were interested in Beckham this time around to focus their attention elsewhere. When the negotiating window opens two days before the official launch of free agency, teams need to know right away whether a player at a targeted position will accept the offer to join the team. If not, the team moves on to the next option. Teams may not want to wait around for Beckham to make a decision, unless he re-establishes himself in the coming weeks as a player worth waiting around for.