Jump to content
ExtremeRavens: The Sanctuary

Ravens Insider: Will Odell Beckham Jr. be back with the Ravens next season? It’s a complicated question.


Recommended Posts

Lamar Jackson understandably had no interest in watching the Super Bowl, telling NFL Network’s Taylor Bisciotti in the Las Vegas afterglow of his second career NFL Most Valuable Player Award last week that the Ravens’ loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship game was still “too raw.”

Odell Beckham Jr., naturally, was another story. The Ravens wide receiver (along with Kim Kardashian) was spotted at Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin’s Super Bowl party at The Cosmopolitan on Saturday, according to multiple reports, and around the strip through the weekend.

Whether Beckham, 31, and Kardashian, 43, will be (are?) an item will continue to fuel tabloids for the foreseeable future. Whether the most transcendent sports figure in the team’s history will be reunited with Jackson, however, seems easier to answer, though it has its complexities as well.

Beckham is technically not one of the team’s more than 20 impending unrestricted free agents after his one-year, $15 million contract was reworked, with substantial void years being removed from the deal.

That revision, as noted by Russell Street Report, allows Baltimore to use a post-June 1 release if an extension is not reached by March 14. Doing so would spread out the dead money in the deal over this year and next, rather than have it all hit in 2024, meaning $2.767 million would count for this year and $8.301 million for 2025.

But given that the Ravens are already tight on cap space with just over $7.3 million in room, per Over The Cap — a number that should climb to around $8.8 million with the league’s salary cap projected to be around $245 million for the 2024 season — the only feasible way for Beckham to return with such a large guarantee for 2025 would be to adjust his contract.

Should the Ravens bring him back, and does he want to come back? Those are not necessarily mutually exclusive questions.

Let’s start with the latter.

“I don’t know the political answer to that question, but I’ve enjoyed every single moment,” Beckham said after Baltimore’s 17-10 loss to the Chiefs. “I always talk about [when] I went to the [Los Angeles] Rams, it made me fall in love with football again, and being here … Coach Harbs, [John Harbaugh], [owner] Steve [Bisciotti], EDC [general manager Eric DeCosta] … This felt like a home. It felt amazing for me.”

His performance, broadly and statistically speaking, was not, though it had plenty of moments, on the field and beyond.

In his first season since suffering the second torn ACL of his career in Super Bowl 56 in February 2022, Beckham had a pedestrian 35 catches for 565 yards and three touchdowns. That was the lowest output of any mostly healthy season in his career, though he missed two games early in the year because of an ankle injury and one late to rest for the postseason.

Ravens vs. Bengals
Baltimore Ravens' Odell Beckham Jr. enters the field as fans stand beneath the stadium lights during warmups before a Thursday night football game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun
Ravens wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. greets fans as he enters the field before a game against the Bengals on Nov. 16. (Karl Merton Ferron/Staff)

Beckham averaged just 4.4 targets and 2.5 catches per game, numbers that are at best complementary, though he did manage a career-high 16.1 yards per catch. He also flashed — albeit sparingly — with a 40-yard touchdown catch against the Cleveland Browns in November, 116 yards on four catches the following week against the Cincinnati Bengals, four catches for 97 yards and a touchdown against the Rams and one spectacular 33-yard grab against the Miami Dolphins.

His impact stretched well beyond Sundays, too.

Beckham arrived in Baltimore in April with the organization unsure of whether he could even run and in large part as an inducement for Jackson to sign a long-term deal. When Beckham hit the field for training camp, he was greeted with daily chants of “OBJ! OBJ!” by a fanbase that, save for Jackson, had long thirsted for a star of such magnitude. In the locker room, Beckham was parked next to Zay Flowers, imparting his 10 years of wisdom on the rookie receiver, and was a popular sage among teammates young, old and in between.

And with only Flowers and Rashod Bateman among the Ravens’ top four wide receivers signed for next season, Beckham, or perhaps veteran impending free agent Nelson Agholor, would be a welcome addition to return — at the right price.

“I don’t know,” DeCosta said at the team’s season-ending news conference when asked if the wide receiver group would undergo a major overhaul as it did this past season. “I love the guys we have coming back.

“We’ll talk to guys and look at potentially bringing guys back, but I feel really good about where we are.”

As for what it would cost to bring Beckham back, it’s unlikely any team would fork over another $15 million, which ranked 19th among receivers this past season.

Still, it might be possible for the Ravens and Beckham to re-do his deal and keep the salary cap implications manageable, which will be particularly important given other, more costly free agents on their roster such as defensive tackle Justin Madubuike, other needs and a full draft class to sign. His return could also depend on what the open market dictates.

And it will depend on Beckham, who said he’ll “take a step back, evaluate the future and just go from there.”

He does not, however, sound like a man who is done playing football, even though he already got a Super Bowl ring with the Rams two years ago.

Said Beckham: “I know that I can still play football, and I know that I still have [expletive] in the tank.”

View the full article

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Create New...