Nelson Agholor is the latest wide receiver tasked with fixing a problem position for the Baltimore Ravens, but the former first-round pick can’t do it by himself. The team still needs a marquee target on the outside, and fortunately, there’s a big name left on the 2023 NFL free-agency market who could provide it.
Odell Beckham Jr. is still available, and ESPN’s Bill Barnwell believes the Ravens are an ideal landing spot. Barnwell spelled out exactly what kind of deal would suit team and player: “One year, $5.5 million.”
It’s a modest price to pay for an established commodity well known to new Ravens’ offensive coordinator Todd Monken. The latter acted as Beckham’s OC with the Cleveland Browns in 2019, and Monken defended the wideout’s desire for the ball when asked about OBJ back in February, per Ryan Mink of Ravens.com: “He’s like every skill player; he’s no different – I don’t know why everybody gets p****d off – like, he wants the ball. Well, really? I don’t know where I’ve been where a great player didn’t want the ball.”
Reuniting with Monken could help Beckham prove he still has a lot left to offer after missing all of the 2022 season thanks to a torn ACL. Beckham’s been working to affirm his return to health this offseason, welcome news for a team like the Ravens still needing greater experience and talent among its pass-catchers.
OBJ’s recent history proves what kind of impact he can make as a high-profile stop-gap. He last suited up for the Los Angeles Rams in 2021 and subsequently helped the NFC West outfit win Super Bowl LVI.
Beckham could even help the Ravens convince franchise quarterback Lamar Jackson to end his contract standoff, or at least stick around to play on the non-exclusive franchise tag.
Monken Reunion Can Revive 3-Time Pro-Bowler’s Career
Beckham’s worth adding because of his penchant for big plays and ability to get open in the red zone. Both qualities would appeal to Monken, who designed plays to help Beckham record the most recent 1,000-yard season of his career.
OBJ caught 74 passes for 1,035 yards and four touchdowns for the Browns on Monken’s watch. Monken called Beckham’s number on short passes between the numbers, like the one the 2014 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year turned into an 89-yard scoring catch and run against the New York Jets:
Beckham also burned the same opposition via a deep route on the outside. The play also showcased yet another example of his strong hands and ability to make highlight-reel worthy one-handed catches:
Highlights like these have frankly been in short supply since 2019, but they do serve to show how effectively Beckham and Monken can work together. Even if OBJ has become a more measured receiver in recent years, he still knows how to make a difference.
His game-breaking talents were on full display when Beckham became a touchdown machine for the Rame following a mid-season trade from the Browns. His contributions included catching the game-winning score to help beat the Ravens 20-19 at M&T Bank Stadium in Week 17.
The scoring run continued and culminated with a touchdown grab against Baltimore’s AFC North rivals the Cincinnati Bengals in the Super Bowl. That touchdown helped Beckham match what he did with the Browns, only in a much shorter space of time, per The Athletic:
Injury in the big game put Beckham out of football for a year, but it still makes sense for the Ravens to be among the teams who’ve shown interest in Beckham, along with the Jets, Dallas Cowboys and Kansas City Chiefs, according to Jordan Schultz of The Score.
Cost will be key for the Ravens, who Spotrac.com notes have $7,615,427 worth of space under the salary cap. General manager Eric DeCosta is also still waiting on any breakthrough regarding Jackson, who has been tagged rather than receiving a fully guaranteed contract from the Ravens. Signing Beckham could promote a necessary thawing of tensions between QB1 and GM.
Beckham recently balked at the idea of only getting $4 million per year on the market, but Barnwell’s suggestion might be the perfect compromise for the Ravens, who need more receiver help.
Ravens Shouldn’t Be Done Adding Help at Wide Receiver
The Ravens shouldn’t be finished restocking the cupboard at receiver, even after giving Agholor a handsome deal worth up to $6.25 million, per Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic:
There’s still room for another new face, especially since 2021 first-rounder Rashod Bateman has played just 18 games while being hampered with groin and foot injuries. A broken foot also kept Devin Duvernay on the shelf for the final three games of last season, while fellow receivers James Proche and Tylan Wallace combined for a mere 12 receptions.
The Ravens have neglected to bring back free agents Demarcus Robinson and Sammy Watkins, so they’re either confident about their existing choices or ready to overhaul the position. Doing the latter makes most sense, particularly if means acquiring a name with Beckham’s credentials.