Let the conversation about Odell Beckham Jr.’s possible future in Green Bay continue, thanks to one of the Packers’ star wide receivers.
A harmless enough photo, even amid reports that Beckham wants out of Cleveland after just one season of catching passes from Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield. But the interesting part came in the comments section, where Packers leading receiver Davante Adams made a rather direct recruiting pitch for the two-time All-Pro pro to join him in Green Bay.
“Now let’s make that facemask green,” Adams commented, making his pitch after earlier this week ESPN personality Skip Bayless reported Beckham had privately suggested he would like to catch passes from Aaron Rodgers with the Packers for the 2020 season.
While there are several concerns, mostly situational, about such a deal getting done, the possible pairing of Beckham and Adams in Green Bay would make for one of the best receiving duos in the NFL with an MVP-caliber quarterback in Rodgers responsible for getting them the ball. It would also eliminate concerns with the Packers wideout group, which has yet to crown a true No. 2 alongside Adams through the 13 games this season.
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Packers Have Most of Their 2020 Money Committed
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the league’s 2020 salary gap is projected around $200 million in a figure that is a 40 percent increase from where the cap stood five years ago. The Packers, though, have about $182.1 million of that money committed to the cap for next season, according to Over the Cap.
Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst was a big spender during 2019 free agency when he brought in pass-rushers Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith along with safety Adrian Amos and offensive lineman Billy Turner on long-term deals. To reach out and strike a deal with the Browns for Beckham next year, though, the Packers would first need to create enough cap space to absorb his $14.25 million contract.
The Packers could save some money cutting a few players, including former starting guard Lane Taylor and veteran tight end Jimmy Graham. Taylor has spent most of the year on injured reserve and hasn’t been missed with rookie Elgton Jenkins stepping into his role and playing at an All-Rookie level as one of the best at his position this season. Meanwhile, Graham’s age has started showing in his spot usage in the passing game.
Cutting Graham would free up roughly $8 million, taking on a dead cap of $3.67 million as opposed to the $11.67 cap hit they would take if they retained him for 2020. Taylor saves less money but costs less to cut with the dead money coming out to $1.375 million, which is about $4.5 million less than than the $5.925 cap hit the Packers are scheduled to take from his deal.
Adding more spending flexibility wouldn’t necessarily allow the Packers to chase a high-value receiver in free agency, though, with several important players set to become free agents at the end of the regular season. Among the pending free agents are inside linebacker Blake Martinez, right tackle Bryan Bulaga, kicker Mason Crosby and cornerback Tramon Williams.
If the Packers really wanted to get a deal done to acquire Beckham, they would need to let some — if not all — of those players walk in free agency and might still have to restructure deals with some of their current stars to deep their pockets for 2020.