Bucs Could Still Acquire 3-Time Pro Bowler

Tom Brady Byron Leftwich

Getty Tom Brady and Byron Leftwich converse during a 2021 game.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers still have another chance to add star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to its offensive arsenal in free agency.

Beckham remains unsigned after winning a Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams. He could give the Bucs wide receiver depth for a playoff run, and he has a strong relationship with quarterback Tom Brady.

Both Brady and Beckham have expressed interest in playing on the same team according to ESPN’s Jeff Darlington during the 2021 offseason. Beckham has high regard for Brady as expressed in an interview with Pro Football Talk’s Chris Simms in January.

“He’s somebody who’s given me great insight,” Beckham told Simms about Brady. “You know, whenever we wanted to chat, he’s been there as a mentor, as a big brother… I’ve literally felt like whether I know it or not, like I as much as he was the guy that I watched all the time and no, I didn’t use to like him because he was always winning.”

Bucs’ Haunting Results of Passing on O.B.J.

Tampa Bay passed on Beckham during the 2021 season after the Cleveland Browns released him. Then Bucs head coach Bruce Arians said his team didn’t have a need at the time.

“No. Too many letters. We’ve already got A.B. [Antonio Brown], we don’t need O.B.J.,” Arians told the media via ESPN’s Jenna Laine.

The alphabet mix worked better for the Rams than the Bucs in 2021. Los Angeles found a productive receiver for a playoff run while the Bucs thinned out at wide receiver amid injuries and Brown’s exit.

Beckham tallied 27 receptions for 305 yards and five touchdowns in eight regular season games for the Rams. He picked it up in the playoffs with 21 catches for 288 yards and two touchdowns in four games.

His six receptions for 69 yards helped the Rams in the Divisional Round against the Bucs. He then looked like a potential Super Bowl MVP with two catches for 52 yards and a touchdown,  but he tore his ACL and left the game.

O.B.J.’s Availability After ACL Surgery

Beckham’s surgery went well according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport via “The Pat McAfee Show”, and it corrected an issue from a previous ACL tear. Beckham tore his ACL in 2020 with the Browns, but that surgery “didn’t go particularly well” problems lingered, Rapoport reported.

Based on the 6-9 month recovery time frame for ACL tears, Beckham won’t return to the field until November. He wouldn’t solve the Bucs’ need for a third receiver until Chris Godwin returns from his ACL, but Beckham could provide depth for a playoff run — something the Bucs painfully needed last season.

Despite Beckham’s unavailability to play, a contender such as the Bucs may not have long to wait to sign him before another contender does. Beckham recently put his Ohio house up for sale according to WKYC. That could nix any rumor of him returning to Cleveland, which CBS Sports reported in March. The Rams could still re-sign Beckham as quarterback Matthew Stafford has been in contact with him.

“I’ve been in contact with him, both checking on his knee, his new addition to his family, and just letting him know that we’d love to still have him,” Stafford told ESPN.

The Bucs could still have Beckham, too.

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