Tom Brady throwing to Odell Beckham Jr. is one of the ideas the Tampa Bay Buccaneers explored prior to signing Julio Jones, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. For now, Beckham remains one of the most intriguing remaining free agents despite potentially being sidelined for the first half of the NFL season as he continues to recovers from an ACL tear.
“He has continued to receive interest from several teams, contending teams,” Rapoport detailed on August 8, 2022. “I know the Bucs had some interest before they ended up signing Julio Jones.”
Ultimately, the Buccaneers opted to add Jones, but Tampa Bay should not be completely ruled out the longer Beckham remains a free agent. With Chris Godwin coming off a season-ending ACL injury, the Bucs likely preferred Jones’ immediate availability, and Beckham appears poised to sign with a team closer to when he is cleared to take the field.
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Could the Bucs Pursue OBJ as a Mid-Season Signing?
The obvious question is whether Tampa Bay would once again explore signing Beckham if he still remains unsigned in October. It would likely take another wide receiver injury for the Bucs to pursue Beckham with Evans, Jones, Godwin and Russell Gage already on the roster.
Yet, given Brady’s relationship with Beckham, the Buccaneers could be a mid-season dark horse to sign the playmaker, especially if the team looks to be one of the top Super Bowl contenders. The star receiver does not appear to be in a hurry to join a team and may wait to ink a new deal at the mid-season mark.
“It’s going to be interesting to see what his strategy here is because he’s still recovering from an ACL tear, not expected to be ready for at least the first half of the season,” Rapoport added. “Should be good to go around the second half, so does it actually make sense for Odell Beckham Jr. to sign now? Does it make sense for him to get under contract with a team just [to] know he’s someplace. Or it better for him to wait until, I don’t know, let’s say October or maybe even early November.
“Maybe another contending team suddenly has a need and there’s Odell sitting there, and he can become basically what he was for the Rams last year. The strategy here is going to be fascinating to watch. I don’t get the sense anything is imminent.”
Insider: Bucs ‘Absolutely’ a Contender to Land Beckham
Earlier this offseason, Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson labeled the Bucs a top contender to sign Beckham. It is important to note that Robinson’s comments came prior to the team signing Jones. As we saw when Tampa Bay signed Antonio Brown, the Bucs have no problem adding to a position of strength for a player with upside. Tampa Bay still has $9.4 million remaining in cap space, per Spotrac.
“If OBJ rides this out, let’s say he rides it out, he’s looking healthy, he still hasn’t signed and it’s like, ‘Hey, I’m back in the mix in November. I’m running,'” Robinson explained during a June 15 episode of the “You Pod to Win the Game” podcast. “I think if Tampa Bay is where they expect to be in November, I absolutely think that Tampa Bay is the kind of team that could say, ‘Hey man, let’s just go do this. Let’s go win this.’
“And Tom Brady and Odell Beckham Jr. are close. They have a really good relationship. Gisele and OBJ are close, they’re really good friends. And I think Tom is very influential when it comes to people that are in his circle, okay, and OBJ is in Tom’s circle.”
OBJ on Brady: ‘He’s Been There as a Mentor, as a Big Brother’
Beckham’s close relationship with Brady has been well-documented, and a recruiting pitch from the legendary quarterback may be hard to turn down. During a January 21 interview with NBC Sports’ Chris Simms, Beckham discussed his friendship with Brady ahead of the Rams-Bucs postseason matchup.
“He’s somebody whose given me great insight whenever you wanted to chat,” Beckham noted. “He’s been there as a mentor, as a big brother and like I said, I’ve literally [felt] like whether I knew it or not. Like as much as he was the guy that I watched all the time, and no, I didn’t used to like him, because he was always winning, or he would beat my team.
“The Rams was the team that I love, and he beat the Rams, and it just was like, there’s all that backstory behind it. But just to be able to sit there and, you know, we’re watching, one of a kind. Just to be able to watch him, you know, go to work.”
There will be other teams that make more sense for Beckham to sign given the Bucs’ depth at receiver. Yet, Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht taking one more aggressive shot in October should not be completely ruled out.