The Baltimore Ravens and their fans got quite the treat on Easter Sunday, April 9, 2023, when the team agreed to a one-year contract in principle with veteran wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. which according to multiple reports is worth up to $18 million.
According to NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero, the deal includes a $13.835 million signing bonus, $1.165 million in base salary, and $3 million in reachable incentives which means he will earn at least the $15 million salary he was seeking.
This reportedly completes a courtship that has been in the works for months and adds the most notable arguably most dynamic weapon at the wide receiver position that they’ve had in a decade and certainly since Lamar Jackson has been the starting quarterback.
Beckham Jr. was slated to meet with the New York Jets on Monday for a physical and potentially come to terms on a deal but per Josina Anderson of CBS Sports, he “was feeling more love from the Ravens” and chose to follow his heart.
Impact on Lamar Jackson Negotiations
Anderson also reported that Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti “has been in frequent communication” with the nine-year veteran about the possibility of joining the team, the support he would have, and “the necessity of helping to square things” with Jackson.
During his time as the team’s franchise quarterback, the Ravens have opted to make more notable additions and greater financial commitments on the defensive side more than on offense.
They’ve invested substantial draft capital on the offensive side of the ball and at wide receiver in particular with six selections from 2019-2021 that included a pair of first-round picks. However, the need for an established veteran wideout that isn’t well into their 30s has been sorely needed and an asset that fans and media pundits alike have been clamoring for them to obtain.
The ongoing negotiations between the team and Jackson on a long-term deal appear to be at a stalemate but perhaps this could be the olive branch that gets them moving again in the right direction toward a positive solution. According to the former unanimous league MVP’s latest Instagram post in which he face-timed with Beckham Jr. while sporting his Baltimore chain, it is already trending that way.
Potential Impact on Offense & Draft Implications
The Ravens vowed to “build up” their wide receiver room at the onset of the offseason after the group ranked dead last in the league in receiving yards according to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. The rebuilding process began with the signing of veteran wideout Nelson Agholor on March 24, 2023, and continues with this latest and exciting addition.
Even though he hasn’t played in a game since suffering a torn ACL in Superbowl 56, Beckham Jr. is still a huge upgrade and will provide a massive boost to the group. The four-time Pro Bowler has five seasons of 1,000-plus yard receiving, 56 career touchdowns, and recent Superbowl-winning experience under his belt.
When healthy, he is one of the smoothest route runners and dynamic weapons in the league who can get open, create separation, stretch the field, make contested grabs, and even throw or run the ball on trick plays if and when needed.
In addition to pairing up with Jackson, hopefully, Beckham Jr. will also be reuniting with his former play caller from his time playing with the division-rival Cleveland Browns. The Ravens hired Todd Monken to replace Greg Roman as their new offensive coordinator which was the same role he severed in Beckham Jr.’s first season with the team in 2019.
In their lone season together, Beckham Jr. recorded 74 receptions for 1,035 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns in 16 games according to Pro Football Reference. In his introductory press conference, Monken spoke glowingly about Beckham Jr. and what he believes he can bring to an offense.
“I really like Odell,” he said. “Odell is super athletic, twitchy…I think he’s tremendously skilled, and I like his personality. He likes to compete…I liked his skillset, liked his work ethic.”
As far as how this will impact the Ravens’ strategy heading into the 2023 NFL Draft coming up at the end of the month from April 27-29, this by no means precludes them from taking the third first-round receiver during general manager Eric DeCosta’s tenure.
However, what it does do is make the position not as glaring of a need as it was prior to the signing. That means that receiver could swap places with cornerback as their top need heading into the three-day event or at least from 1A to 1B on their priority list.
With this move, the Ravens have yet another reason to stick to their best player available model when it comes to a draft where they currently have just five selections. Since they believe that this year’s class is strong and deep at both wide receiver and cornerback, it will be anyone’s guess which way they will lean on the first night depending on how the board falls.