Jaguars should prioritize signing WR Odell Beckham Jr in free agency

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (3) at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (3) at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Back when the Cleveland Browns released wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in the middle of the 2021 NFL season, the Jacksonville Jaguars could have called dibs on him since they had top priority in the waiver wire but they decided not. The Jags can rectify that and sign the 2014 first-round pick this offseason.

Even though Beckham has earned three Pro Bowl downs throughout his eight-year career in the NFL, his production had gone down in recent years. After getting traded to Cleveland in 2019, the wide receiver had only had one 1,000-yard season, so it was fair to wonder if he had any gas left in the tank or if the Browns were holding him back. His dad, Odell Beckham Sr. believed it was the latter and started a campaign on social media in which blamed quarterback Baker Mayfield for his son’s subpar numbers.

Eventually, the Browns caved and released Beckham. The Rams wasted no time and signed him to a deal worth up to $4.5 million. While it took a bit for the receiver to get acclimated to Los Angeles, he’s been a key cog in their 2021 playoff run, making big play after big play in consecutive games and showing the kind of playmaker he can be if given the chance.

Against the Arizona Cardinals in the Wild Card round of the playoffs, Beckham hauled in four passes for 54 yards and one touchdown. But that wasn’t it. He also threw a 40-yard pass. The Rams game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Divisional Round was no different and the wide receiver played an essential role in Los Angeles’ victory, catching six passes for 69 yards. His 20-yard grab stood out early in the game stood out but so did a 17-yard, one-handed catch in the third quarter that showcased his concentration and his big-play ability.

Odell Beckham would give the Jaguars’ a bonafide No. 1 receiver.

DJ Chark Jr. was the Jaguars’ only receiver that could stretch the field, averaging 20 yards per catch before suffering an ankle fracture in Week 4 that cut his season short. He’s scheduled to be a free agent this offseason but even if Jacksonville re-signs him, they should make a bid for Beckham.

It’s uncertain how much the Rams will advance in the playoffs but Beckham’s stock will keep going up if they do. While he may not command top-market money, he won’t be getting peanuts either and several teams will surely be interested in his services. The Jags should be able to outbid most of them, since they will have around $60 million in cap space, per Spotract. That would be more than enough to bring back Chark and pursue Beckham in the open market. That will of course be contingent on Los Angeles letting him walk in free agency.

Even though the Rams are scheduled to have less than $200,000, they always find a way to keep their playmakers around, so it wouldn’t be shocking to see them locking up Beckham once they put their finances in order. If they do, the Jags will have to look somewhere else for help.

Upgrading their wide receiver corps should be at the top of the Jaguars’ priority list this offseason and signing Beckham would take care of it. With a limited number of choices in free agency, he’s making a case as the best of them.

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