‘Desperate’ Bears Pushed to Sign $90 Million Pro Bowl Free Agent

Odell Beckham

Getty WR Odell Beckham Jr. is still a free agent.

It’s no secret Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields could use a few weapons to throw to.

One of the primary storylines surrounding the team this offseason has been the lack of legitimate targets for Fields at the wide receiver position. The Bears have added several free agent receivers on one-year “prove it” deals, including Byron Pringle, N’Keal Harry and Equanimeous St. Brown, but there isn’t another proven WR currently on the roster other than third-year WR1 Darnell Mooney.

The Bears also started losing wideouts shortly after training camp kicked off on July 26, with Harry, Pringle and rookie third-round draft pick Velus Jones Jr. all sidelined with various ailments heading into the team’s first preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs on August 13.

Considering Chicago’s current situation at WR, one analyst thinks the Bears should make a game-changing kind of move at the position.

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Bears Urged to Sign OBJ

In his August 11 column for Bleacher Report, Brent Sobleski named Odell Beckham Jr. as a veteran option still available at WR who could help a “desperate” Bears team.

“Some may view the acquisition of a Odell Beckham Jr. as a pipe dream,” Sobleski acknowledged. “Maybe it is. He’s a veteran who likely wants to play for a winning franchise. But he has a Super Bowl ring after the Los Angeles Rams’ run to a championship, and the Bears have three factors working in their favor: money, market and targets.”

Beckham, who turns 30 in November, is fresh from winning his first ring with the Los Angeles Rams last season, but he tore his ACL in the game, and is still recovering.

ESPN insider Jeremy Fowler reported in June that Beckham likely wouldn’t be fully healthy “until October or maybe even November,” via Sports Illustrated. Fowler also noted “Beckham can take his time, maybe even wait until the first couple of weeks of the season, see who’s hot, who needs a receiver. He will likely go to a contender.”

The Bears aren’t set to contend any time soon, but Sobleski thinks money could be a factor in OBJ’s decision.

Beckham inked a $90 million extension with the New York Giants in 2018, but was traded to the Browns the following year. Spotrac has his market value projected at $13.1 million per year, which Chicago could structure into a performance-based contract.

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Sobleski: Adding OBL Would Be Investment for Bears

Beckham is getting older, and his injury issues are concerning, but he could still provide Fields with a reliable veteran option. The Bears can afford him, too.

Chicago currently has over $18.1 million of available cap space, per Over the Cap, and it’s set to have over $96.3 million available in 2023. That’s plenty of dough to ink Beckham and several other top free agents.

“Beckham can get the type of deal he wants after the Rams supposedly lowballed him earlier this year while giving the Bears a true No. 1 wide receiver,” Sobleski noted, adding:

“The Bears can invest now. In doing so, they’re guaranteeing a top target for Fields and someone who dictates coverages. A signing won’t come cheap, but Chicago has the means to get it done and plenty of wiggle room to continue the rebuild into next offseason.”

OBJ played in 14 regular season games last year between the Rams and the Cleveland Browns, catching 44 passes for 537 yards and five touchdowns. He turned it up in the playoffs, hauling in 25 passes on 37 targets for 316 yards and two scores in four postseason performances. His best days are likely behind him, but he’s a three-time Pro Bowl WR who has five 1,000-yard seasons over his eight-year career. He would surely be an asset for both of the Bears and their young QB, but it would be a surprising move if Chicago pursued Beckham.

Never say never, though. The NFL is nothing if not dramatic.

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