The 2020 offseason figures to be a news cycle dominated by Odell Beckham Jr.
If you hadn’t heard, Beckham is wearing out his welcome during Year 1 with the Cleveland Browns. Yahoo Sports NFL insider Charles Robinson intensified growing speculation regarding the Pro Bowl wide receiver’s apparent disharmony, with sources claiming Beckham is “lost” and telling opposing players — often during games — to “come get me.”
Buried near the bottom of Robinson’s startling piece, which heavily suggests Beckham could have a new home next year, is a possible path to the Dallas Cowboys.
“What any of this means for Beckham’s future is a whole other matter,” Robinson wrote. “He has an opinionated circle of friends and family that surrounds him. Some still speak in hopeful tones about him potentially ending up with the Dallas Cowboys, which would put him in close proximity to his parents.”
Beckham was born in Baton Rouge and played collegiately at LSU. But there are familial roots in the Lone Star State. His biological father, Odell Sr., was briefly a member of the San Antonio Talons, a now-defunct Arena Football League organization. His mother, Heather, coached track at Rice and Tulane, where Beckham’s stepfather, Derek Mills, served as an assistant volunteer coach.
There’s also the relationship between the Beckhams and NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal; Odell Sr. and Shaq, having grown up roughly 150 miles apart in Texas, became close friends, bonding over their budding sports careers.
“(Beckham, Sr.) was a top football player coming out of Texas, I was the top basketball player in Texas, so when we first got to LSU, we used to go to clubs, fight for each other, we were best friends,” O’Neal told NJ Advance Media in 2014. “When he had his son, I called and congratulated him. I met junior many times. Of course, when [Odell Jr.] went to LSU everyone was excited.”
The Cowboys will have the money to burn ($74.3 million in projected salary cap space) and, perhaps, a glaring need at wide receiver, as Amari Cooper is slated to hit unrestricted free agency. Cooper and the club have failed to agree on a long-term contract extension, and there’s a belief around the league that Cooper legitimately could walk.
It’d represent the height of football irony if Beckham joined forces with the team that “gave” him his big break, six years later.
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Don’t Get Your Hopes Up
First, since he opened this can of worms, let’s allow Robinson to extinguish the scant chance that Beckham is dealt and, even unlikelier, lands in Dallas. Such scenarios are fun to fantasize over but rarely materialize.
“In reality, there’s no indication that the Browns have any intention of parting ways with Beckham — regardless of how often he refers to such questions as “offseason stuff,” Robinson wrote. “When and if he’s healthy again, he has a very attractive contract for an elite-tier wide receiver, putting Cleveland on the hook for a very manageable $15 million per season. And it’s highly unlikely the Browns would entertain unloading a player of his caliber and with that kind of contract for anything less than a blockbuster deal.”
Beckham’s $14.250 million cap number for 2020 can easily be absorbed if the Cowboys pulled the trigger. It takes two to tango, however. The Browns must have enough contentment to sign off on the deal, compensation for which assuredly would begin with a first-round pick — at a minimum.
Dallas owner Jerry Jones coughed up a first-rounder for Cooper in 2018, and the former Raider doesn’t bring nearly as much baggage as the ex-Giant. He brings none, in fact. One less headache for Jerry Jones and Co. to worry about. That’s partly why he’s deserving of a new contract, worth the massive investment compared to an alternative like the ever-mercurial Beckham.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL