Odell Beckham Jr. was considered a top five—maybe even top three—receiver early in his career. But now, at just 29 years old, he is a borderline starter in the NFL after suffering a series of serious injuries, including:
- An ankle fracture in 2017 on the New York Giants
- A torn ACL in 2020 with the Cleveland Browns
- Another torn ACL in the Super Bowl as part of the Los Angeles Rams
And then there was his falling out with the Browns and perceived lack of effort, which resulted in him being waived.
Why OBJ and the Bengals Could Be a Good Fit
The receiver still remains unsigned. If he wants a long-term deal, it probably won’t have a lot of guaranteed money. He may, instead, opt for a one-year prove-it deal on a team that will either give him a better chance of showcasing his ability or of winning another ring.
Meanwhile, the Bengals have an outstanding trio of wide receivers in Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd. But the depth beyond that is less than ideal.
Why are these two relevant? Because, after an up-and-down career that included much scrutiny from the media, Beckham may just want to sign somewhere that makes him happy.
The LSU product is very close with arguably the greatest player in Tigers history, one Joseph Lee Burrow, who happens to be the quarterback in Cincinnati. There is a personal relationship there but also the opportunity for Beckham to reach (what I imagine to be) his objectives were he to sign a one-year contract: production and contention.
Burrow is the head of a prolific offense, and, even with three other talented receivers to throw to, he has the ability and smarts to get Beckham the kinds of targets he needs to position himself for a long-term deal with more guaranteed money next year. Meanwhile, the team was minutes away from winning a championship and is entirely capable of returning to that stage.
The Instagram Post
But hold on. Why are we even discussing this random scenario?
Well, this happened:
Summary: Burrow posted a picture of himself at camp with the caption “My spidey sense is starting to tingle a bit”. Beckham commented “The one”.
John Sheeran interpreted the comment to mean the following on our show:
Burrow and OBJ have had that connection going back to that LSU connection... He’s the Chosen One because he brought LSU a championship, and Odell Beckham was in the locker room in the Superdome when Burrow was smoking cigars and handing out bands to players, and he was there when the cops showed up.
But does this indicate he’s keen on teaming up with Burrow? Sheeran continued to say:
People are obviously reading into it a lot because he’s a free agent and the Bengals could use another receiver. I don’t think it’s going to happen, but I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to it. Beckham isn’t necessarily the number one guy anymore, and I don’t think it really makes much difference to him being a two or a three or a four on the depth chart at this point in his career.
Nonetheless, this little exchange (if we can even call it that), has generated a lot of buzz among Bengals fans, including some of the most prominent faces of Bengals Twitter:
Imagine if OBJ actually signs with the Bengals.— Andrew Russell (@PFF_AndrewR) June 16, 2022
OBJ downtown….— ZIM (@zimwhodey) June 16, 2022
Did I hear OBJ is in Cincinnati?— Not Jake (@CincyHub) June 16, 2022
If Odell signed with the Bengals, there would be historic numbers of #3 jerseys floating around Cincinnati in no time— Willie Lutz (@willie_lutz) June 16, 2022
So Could It Happen?
Hypothetically speaking, for this to work out, Beckham will have had to exhausted his options of getting a lucrative deal and decided to settle for probably no more than a one year, $5 million contract. The thing is, while he is clearly very talented, a lot of teams may not want to deal with the added attention Beckham brings, which means he may not have that many options. Further, if the deals are similar, he, like La’el Collins (another LSU alum), may choose Burrow and the great culture in Cincinnati over other options.
The likelihood of Beckham signing with the Bengals is around 25 percent. This is because the front office is already sweating potential extensions for Jessie Bates, Vonn Bell, and Jonah Williams, which will be followed by extensions for Joe Burrow and Tee Higgins. While the team could easily fit Beckham under the cap, they will probably roll with the receivers on their roster or pick up a veteran for a minimum deal. Additionally, it is quite possible that Zac Taylor would not want to risk bringing drama into a locker room that is currently highly functional.