Patriots Were Close to Signing Former All-Pro

Getty Bill Belichick

The New England Patriots threw their hat in the ring when LA Rams WR Odell Beckham Jr. was a free agent briefly during the season, but how close was the former All-Pro WR to signing with Bill Belichick?

According to Beckham, it was pretty close. Beckham expounded on his recruitment after the Cleveland Browns released him as he answered a question from the Boston Herald’s Andrew Callahan. Here is a look at the entire answer:

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After Beckham was congratulated on his success in 2021, the former All-Pro was asked if he was ever close to coming to New England, Beckham said: “very, very, very. I don’t think I joked with him on the phone. I said, ya know, if this was three years ago it would have been ideal. Cause Tom is one of my favorites. I posted a video a long time ago of just the passion and the fire that Tom has, and then there are cuts of me doing similar things. Mine gets misconstrued for something else, and his is something else. It’s just like, bro, I actually love football that much that I’ll…punch a water cooler. I care that much for this game. I’ve tried to explain this to people. I hate losing. I care this much for the game. For a guy, a coach like Bill Belichick, whom I’ve admired for years and I’ve seen, and been like ‘one day I’m going to play for Bill Belichick,’ For him to call me, to be able to just sit down on the phone and just talk football, what more could you ask for? So, I was very close. That was one of the teams that was in there, but I felt like this was home (L.A.).”

Beckham has proven he still has something left in the tank. Since joining the Rams, he played in 8 regular season games, starting 7 of them. In the regular season, Beckham made 27 receptions for 305 yards and 5 TDs.

Those totals were for just 8 games, but if he were a member of the Patriots, those stats would have been good for sixth in receptions, fifth in yards and tied for second in TDs among receivers and tight ends.

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In 3 postseason games, Beckham has added 19 receptions for 236 yards and a TD.

Would Signing Beckham Had Worked Out For the Patriots?

No one can definitively answer that question, but there is no question that adding a talent like Beckham to the Patriots’ modest receiving corps had the potential to make a serious impact.

Beckham might have been a little frustrated by how little the Patriots threw the ball (535) in comparison to the Rams (607), but if the team was winning, chances are things would work themselves out.

Is there a chance we will get to see this union at some point?

Patriots-Beckham Union Could Still Happen

It is hard to determine what kind of contract Beckham will be able to command in 2022, but chances are he might still be in the budget range we know the Patriots like to live in when it comes to free-agent WR.

Nelson Agholor had a base salary of $9 million in 2021 and that was by far the most the team has paid a WR–even proportionately–in years. Barring a herculean effort from Beckham in the Super Bowl against the Cincinnati Bengals, it would be a shock if he garners a contract that is bigger than the 2-year, $22 million deal New England gave to Agholor last offseason.

It might simply come down to whether the Rams want Beckham back and if they are willing to pay as much as the Patriots might be willing to fork over. After all, as dynamic and well-known as Beckham still is, he will turn 30 years old in November and he’s had his share of injuries.

There is only so much a player with his age and injury profile can garner considering he is also 2 years removed from his last 1,000-yard receiving season. Keep your eyes open this offseason for this player-team angle to re-emerge.

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