Packers Urged to Sign Injured Star WR for Late-2022 Boost

OBJ to Packers ESPN

Getty Head coach Matt LaFleur of the Green Bay Packers talks with quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 on the sidelines during the game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on October 06, 2019 in Arlington, Texas.

The Green Bay Packers have loaded up their receiver room over the past few months between the Sammy Watkins signing and the three receivers they selected in the 2022 NFL draft, but there are plenty who think they could still add an accomplished veteran to their ranks before the season begins.

After NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on May 10 that he believes the Packers are “gonna be involved” in the post-draft market for free-agent receivers, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell sized up the remaining options and connected the dots between Green Bay and former Cleveland Browns and Los Angeles Rams star Odell Beckham Jr.

Beckham, who won a Super Bowl with the Rams in February, is still recovering from an ACL tear he sustained during that game and might not be ready to hit the field again until the second half of the 2022 season, but his circumstances are exactly why Barnwell thinks he could be a good option for the Packers. He would effectively be a late-season reinforcement to whichever team gambles on adding him to their roster.

Here’s what Barnwell wrote about the link between Beckham and the Packers:

If any organization can afford to be patient, it’s the Packers, given that Green Bay is the prohibitive favorite to win its fourth straight NFC North title. Nobody can afford to sleepwalk through the regular season, but the Packers have a clearer path to the postseason than most, and it’s easier for them to justify adding Beckham now, even while knowing that they may not get much out of him until Halloween.

If Beckham can be the guy we saw for the Rams during this past postseason by the time we get to the playoffs, that would be worth what the Packers are likely to pay. Green Bay is currently set to earn a fifth-round compensatory pick for losing receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling to the Chiefs, and it would now be able to sign Beckham without jeopardizing that selection.

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Beckman & Packers Had Mutual Interest in 2021

Unlike most of the other still-available veteran receivers on the market such as Julio Jones, Antonio Brown or T.Y. Hilton, Beckham and the Packers have some recent mutual interest in each other that could be rekindled before the start of the 2022 season.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Beckham had a “sincere interest” in coming to Green Bay after Cleveland granted him his release in late November last year with some telling the NFL insider they believed the Packers were his “preferred destination.” The Packers, however, were reportedly unwilling to increase the value of their contract offer to Beckham and ultimately saw him take the better deal with the Rams.

The contract Beckham ended up signing with L.A. was actually something Green Bay couldn’t have matched if it tried. The Rams included incentives for Beckham that, based on how they finished in 2020, wouldn’t have counted against the salary cap until 2022, whereas the Packers did better in 2020 and would have needed to find that room on their 2021 salary cap. The Packers also didn’t need to overspend with one of the best wideouts in the league — Davante Adams — already on the roster for the playoffs.

Now that Adams and deep threat Marquez Valdes-Scantling are no longer on the payroll, though, could Beckham and the Packers try again?

Packers Could Afford Incentive-Laden Deal With OBJ

The Packers might not feel like they need to add another receiver to their roster at this point with a healthy mix of experienced guys (Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, Sammy Watkins) and young bucks (Amari Rodgers, Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Samori Toure) in place for training camp later this summer. If Beckham is willing to sign a deal that pays mostly through incentives, though, the Packers could be enticed.

There are three different types of incentives that could make sense for Beckham on his next contract: playtime, performance and playoff finish. The first two will be the most important for the Packers given he is coming off his second ACL tear since late 2020, but Beckham might not have a problem with shooting for the moon on those given he would have a legitimate shot at becoming their new No. 1 receiver whenever he was cleared to play again. The real question is whether the Packers are willing to take a risk on a half-season (or less) of Beckham before seeing much of their new receiver room.

The Packers won’t have much more cap space than last year once they have signed all of their draft picks and their practice squad for the 2022 season, but there are ways for them to find room for an incentive-laden deal with Beckham on the books.

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