The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are considered one of the “most likely” destinations for arguably the top wide receiver available on the market.
As the Buccaneers continue to look for ways to improve following a sluggish 2-2 start, the answer may come in the form of a star free agent wide receiver. According to CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin, Tampa Bay is one of several likely destinations for Odell Beckham Jr.
As noted by Benjamin, the Buccaneers are listed at No. 3 on his list for “most likely” destinations for the three-time Pro Bowl receiver.
“Tom Brady can — and will — recruit anyone as de facto general manager in Tampa, and his supporting cast has been dinged up all year,” says Benjamin. “That’s especially the case out wide, where Chris Godwin, Russell Gage and Breshad Perriman have all battled injuries, and Julio Jones has proven wholly unreliable with his own durability issues. The Bucs are all in as long as TB12 is under center, and Beckham would surely relish the chance to play with such a legendary QB.”
Beckham Proved to Be X-Factor in Rams’ Run to Super Bowl
The 29-year-old receiver is still recovering from a torn ACL, but he’s expected to return in October or November, as previously reported by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (via Bleacher Report’s Timothy Rapp) back in June.
“But Beckham could take his time here because talking to teams, they don’t expect Beckham to be healthy until October or maybe even November, as far as ‘full-go’ back from that ACL,” Fowler said. “So 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 veteran receiver will be a highly-coveted free agent when he’s healthy. After a disappointing tenure with the Cleveland Browns, Beckham bounced back in a major way after signing with the Los Angeles Rams last season. Not only did Beckham win a Super Bowl, he played a major role in the team’s road to victory. The star receiver caught nine passes for 117 yards in the team’s NFC Championship Game victory over the San Francisco 49ers. Prior to suffering his ACL tear, Beckham caught a touchdown pass in the Super Bowl victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.
According to Pro Football Focus, Beckham posted an 85.7 offensive grade during the Rams’ run in the postseason. For perspective, Beckham ranked fourth among all receivers in offensive grade in last years’ postseason. That grade would have also ranked him fourth among all wide receivers during the 2021 regular season.
Will Signing Beckham Deliver Bucs to the Next Level?
The question is, will signing Beckham really lift Tampa Bay to the next level?
The team already features a loaded and accomplished group of receivers in Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Julio Jones, Russell Gage and Cole Beasley. That’s not even adding that the reserve receivers are Breshad Perriman and Scotty Miller.
While the offense has been off to a slow start this season, they showed their potential in a 31-point outburst versus the Kansas City Chiefs. It was the first game all season in which the Buccaneers entered the game with a full slate of healthy receivers.
While Beckham could certainly be an X-factor type of player the way he was for the Rams last season, Tampa Bay has other issues at hand. Outside of the fact that their run defense was gashed by a Kansas City Chiefs rushing attack that isn’t elite by any means — 5.1 yards per carry and 189 yards rushing — their offensive line continues to be an issue.
According to PFF, the Buccaneers’ pass-blocking grade (58.5) ranks 22nd in the league. A large part of that is due to the fact that Tampa Bay is replacing three of their five starters from last season.
If Tampa Bay has an opportunity to sign Beckham, they will do so. But it may not necessarily be what the Buccaneers need in order to chase another Super Bowl this season.