Odell Beckham Jr. Spurns Giants for AFC North Team

Odell Beckham Jr.

Getty Images Odell Beckham Jr. won't be joining the Giants this offseason, after all.

Odell Beckham Jr. won’t be wearing New York Giants blue in 2023 after all.

The Baltimore Ravens announced April 9 that they were signing Beckham, a former superstar with the Giants, to a one-year deal. He’ll receive $18 million with $15 million in guaranteed money, according to multiple sources.

Beckham’s decision ends the possibility of a Big Blue reunion this season. Rumors of a Giants return were stoked for months, with players openly recruiting the three-time Pro Bowler, comments about “unfinished business” in New York, and, most recently, ownership’s green-lighting a potential OBJ comeback.

In the end, though, New York’s other team was closer to landing Beckham 

Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, he was scheduled for a free agent visit and a physical with the New York Jets on April 10. But the Ravens swooped in to sign Beckham, Rapoport tweeted. 

Now comes the hard part of resurrecting his career. Beckham Jr. all of last season and hasn’t played since tearing his ACL with the Los Angeles Rams in the 2022 Super Bowl. 

Here’s what else you need to know about OBJ’s decision — and how it impacts the Giants’ offseason plans.

Giants Were Always Considered a ‘Long Shot’ for Odell Beckham Jr. 

Beckham wanted a Giants reunion more than the Giants wanted a Beckham Jr. reunion.

On December 8, he claimed he had “unfinished business” with running Back Saquon Barkley on a special Thursday Night Football episode of “The Shop: Uninterrupted.” 

“I’ll say this, but it doesn’t mean anything. It’s just words,” the receiver said. “I don’t feel like Saquon Barkley and I got to do what we were supposed to do. There’s something that feels special. That’s all I’m going to say.”

But OBJ wasn’t quiet for long. Later in the offseason, he tweeted for Barkley to tell Giants general manager Joe Schoen to call his agent. Giants players like Xavier McKinney were open with their recruitment efforts on Twitter, too.

Here’s the thing: OBJ’s angling nearly worked as he’d hoped.

Big Blue hosted him on a free agent visit in December 2022. At the League Meetings in March, head coach Brian Daboll told reporters he’s kept up tabs on OBJ with “a few” texts over the offseason.

Reporters were also told the door wasn’t “closed” on a potential reunion by the man who signs Daboll’s paychecks. 

“We certainly haven’t closed that door [on an Odell Beckham Jr. reunion],” team owner John Mara said. “That’s going to be up to Joe Schoen and Dabs. I certainly would be in favor of that if they can make it work.”

They couldn’t make it work, though. A potential reunion always carried “slim to none” odds because the contract Beckham was asking for and ultimately received, according to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan.

The Giants were unwilling to pay what the Ravens paid — $15 million guaranteed  — after adding receivers like Parris Campbell, Jamison Crowder, Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton this offseason.

What Should the Giants Do After Odell Beckham Jr.’s Decision?

New York’s interest in OBJ underscored their desire to add a true top receiver. 

But that alpha pass-catcher is more likely to come in the upcoming NFL draft, per Raanan. 

The draft is a far more likely solution because that is a more economical and long-term solution at the position,” Raanan said. “Daboll and Schoen have been traveling the country . . . assessing the wide receiver [prospect] landscape.”

The next Odell could be out there for New York. So the Giants’ braintrust has met and dined with prospects like TCU’s Quentin Johnston, Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Boston College’s Zay Flowers. 

They’ve also scheduled Flowers, USC’s Jordan Addison, Oklahoma’s Marvin Mims Jr, and Nebraska’s Trey Palmer for top 30 pre-draft visits, according to CBS Sports’ pre-draft visit tracker. 

Those visits could be telling. Schoen hosted both defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux and offensive tackle Evan Neal before selecting them in last year’s first round, according to NJ.com’s former Giants beat reporter Zach Rosenblatt. It’s likely he’ll want to do the same with his next first-rounder, too. 

A potential first-round rookie will come with a much more team-friendly price tag than the one just placed on OBJ. The Giants pick 25th overall in the draft; last season’s 25th overall pick, Iowa center Brian Linderbaum, will make $14 million over his first four seasons with the Ravens, per Spotrac.

Beckham will make more than that in his first year with the same team.

With those savings, Raanan thinks Schoen and Co. are “much more likely” to pursue longer-term moves for the Giants. Contract extensions for both defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence and offensive tackle Andrew Thomas could be next on the team’s checklist. 

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