Odell Beckham Jr. may shun the chance to play for the New York Giants a second time. If he does, the team’s problem at wide receiver will still be there once the 2022 NFL season is in the books.
Beckham remains on the market after tearing his left ACL as a member of the Los Angeles Rams in the 2022 Super Bowl. Despite his injury history, the 30-year-old is arguably a more dynamic option than the wideouts set to free agents in 2023.
The only exception might be a member of the New England Patriots who could be a better fit for what the Giants need in the passing game. Especially if Big Blue re-signs quarterback Daniel Jones.
Patriots Catch Machine Worth Monitoring for Giants
Beckham will visit with the Giants, the Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills to begin December, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Meanwhile, Josina Anderson of CBS Sports added the Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs to the mix.
In a look at the pros and cons of the Giants signing OBJ, The Athletic’s Charlotte Carroll considered the upcoming free-agent class at the position: “The Giants will have free agents of their own at the position in Shepard and Slayton. But some of the top names to monitor are Jakobi Meyers, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Allen Lazard. These are good players, to be sure, but probably not difference-makers.”
The first of those names is intriguing on many levels. Jakobi Meyers will never match Beckham’s explosive speed or flair for the big play, but the Pats catch machine has attributes the Giants need.
Meyers has emerged from relative obscurity to become New England’s chief receiving threat in the post-Tom Brady era. He’s done it through toughness, intelligence, sure hands and a willingness to work the middle of the field.
As Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus detailed, Meyers has established a nice for making contested catches. He’s also developed an all-round game that makes up for his lack of vertical quickness:
Versatility has helped Meyers make 44 catches for 509 yards and three touchdowns this season. Those numbers represent a strong follow-up to the 83-catch campaign Meyers enjoyed in 2021.
The 26-year-old’s statistics are a more than handsome return for a player the Patriots signed as an undrafted free agent from North Carolina State in 2019. If there’s one area where he needs to improve it’s getting into the end zone.
What he lacks in points Meyers has made up for with reliability and durability. Those are two qualities the Giants need more of from their wideouts.
Daniel Jones Needs a Trusty Safety Valve
Jones still has his doubters, but he’s led a rebuilding team to a 7-4 record. Given how difficult it can be to find even competent quarterbacks at the pro level, the Giants are unlikely to walk away from Jones this offseason.
A new contract, even a short-term deal, makes sense for the sixth player drafted three years ago. Jones will also need the Giants to sign a trusty safety valve to help his development.
Meyers fits the bill, after making 47 receptions from 62 targets, according to Pro Football Reference. His catch percentage of 75.8 this season is bettered only by Richie James among Giants’ receivers, and the latter has made just 28 catches.
James has been trying to adopt the role as Jones’ go-to target over the middle after Sterling Shepard and rookie Wan’Dale Robinson both suffered torn ACLs. As Carroll pointed out, Shepard is a free agent next year, along with Darius Slayton, but it makes sense to bring back the latter because he’s the closest thing the Giants have to a natural deep threat.
Meyers would make Jones a better QB, having proved himself trustworthy catching passes from Cam Newton, Brian Hoyer, Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe.
Beckham has the star power, but Meyers is four years younger, on the rise and would likely be cheaper. OBJ is “expected to be seeking a deal that would pay on a prorated basis, like the contracts Chris Godwin and Mike Williams signed last offseason (three years, $60 million),” per Carroll.
The Giants would find a deal on that scale difficult to accommodate when they’re also trying to keep Jones and running back Saquon Barkley off the market.