In early October, when Odell Beckham Jr. was no longer in the mood to be cryptic about his disappointment with the Los Angeles Rams and their “lowest of the lows” contract offer for 2022, a team source asked a question that rings louder than ever this month. At the time, Beckham was still months away from being viable on the football field due to a torn ACL last season, but the Rams were doing their best to stay in good graces with him.
Then Beckam he tweeted Oct. 12 that the Rams offered him “NOTHING” and that while the free agent knew his “worth,” the deal offered by the Rams “doesn’t reflect that.”
“What is its value and who offers it to him?” a Rams source asked just days after Beckham’s tweet. “This is everyone’s market, right?”
The source added that they weren’t trying to be dismissive and reiterated that the Rams wanted a reunion with Beckham after he helped win the Super Bowl in February. But they also issued a warning that three Rams braintrust members offered when I visited training camp in August: Beckham wouldn’t be ready to play until after the season. By then, circumstances may have changed for both sides.
As far as the Rams were concerned, that was exactly the case. Everything apparently went wrong this season, knocking the team out of postseason contention and making a Beckham chase a moot point.
But for Beckham?
The circumstances surrounding his contractual expectations are still quite familiar. He thinks he knows his worth. And as of Dec. 13 — two months after his Rams grievances — Beckham doesn’t have an NFL team willing to give it to him. Not the Dallas Cowboys. Not the New York Giants. Not the Buffalo Bills. And none of the other Super Bowl contenders who might have paid a visit with him this week but curiously didn’t try.
All of which misleads a multitude of teams about Beckham’s worth, unless perhaps he’s navigating an upside-down free agency map.
To underscore this reality, let’s consider a quote from one of the founding fathers of day trading, Jesse Livermore. As the 1900 stock market essay once framed it, “The markets are never wrong. Opinions often are.
In this case, Beckham’s opinion of its value is demonstrably wrong. If he didn’t, he’d be on an NFL roster right now. Instead, veteran players like TY Hilton and Cole Beasley signed with the Cowboys and Bills, respectively. Meanwhile, no one in the NFL seems entirely sure how Beckham looks like running on a field after his second ACL surgery because he declined to practice on any of his free agency visits earlier this month.
While they may not be in a hurry to say it publicly, this has been a problem for the teams that were most eager to sign him. Meanwhile, Hilton worked for Dallas on Monday morning and had an afternoon contract. And Beasley has agreed to sign a practice squad deal that could very well make him a weekly decision for the team.
This all comes just days after Beckham publicly stated that he sees no point in playing in the regular season. Which, if we’re being real here, is in the same zip code as a team that doesn’t see the point in signing a player that doesn’t want to play in the regular season.
Different opinions. Different decisions. Beckham remains without a contract. Hilton and Beasley don’t. This is the market talking.
Of course, it’s not like all of this is due to a training problem. Beckham doesn’t want a short-term deal like the one he signed with the Rams last offseason. He bet himself in 2021 that he wouldn’t get injured, and he lost. It is understandable that he does not want to repeat that bet.
Instead, he went into the final offseason wanting safety. A one-year deal wasn’t going to entice him, especially not when it would only give him a sink or swim window of a few games, which might be just enough to re-injure, but not enough to rampant. its free agent market.
It was clear from talking to the Rams in the preseason that Beckham was looking for a long-term deal. He wanted something substantial from the team since he had helped them win a Super Bowl. He expected some loyalty in return. When that didn’t happen, he was shocked. But his contractual attitude had not changed. If he was going to sign anywhere, it would be for some long-term security, and it would be for the kind of money that made him—at worst—a mid-level No. 1 in terms of salary.
What the teams have in mind for Beckham is something different. In fact, the Cowboys just showed roughly what Beckham would be looking at in terms of his contract structure with the team. Hilton has earned $600,000 for the remaining four games this season and will receive a $50,000 bonus for each of those games in which he is on the team’s active roster. Aside from that, he can get up to $700,000 in postseason incentives.
A team source told Yahoo Sports the Cowboys were prepared to offer Beckham more money than if a deal was discussed. However, it would be heavily incentivized and short-term in nature. Unfortunately for Dallas, this is Beckham’s type of facility it is not interested. It could be the market, but it’s not yet the market in Beckham’s head.
At some point, one side has to give way here. And time is getting extremely short. Either Beckham will lean into a team’s short-term prospects, or a franchise will lean into the wideout’s long-term hopes.
As of Tuesday evening, a significant compromise appears dead. And until something changes, that’s the best way to describe the state of Beckham’s 2022 season.