Buffalo Bills fans may recall a time, all the way back in November, when the front page story for the entire NFL was the Odell Beckham Jr. sweepstakes. “OBJ To _____ Confirmed” was a running joke that far overstayed its welcome. It dominated the national media, and every day unearthed a new rumour. He expected to sign a contract by the end of the month, and be playing by December. His implied return to the L.A. Rams was soured, and his shortlist of teams varied from the limelight Dallas Cowboys to the darling Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills.
It was all for nothing. It’s been five months since then, and OBJ has yet to sign anywhere. Free agency will be flooded with receivers in under a week; He’s missed his opportunity to set that market with a major deal. So, what happened?
The Odell Beckham Jr. Sweepstakes
When OBJ made headlines with his supposedly-imminent return, several Super Bowl contenders were primed to make their best offers. Fans thought he wanted a one-year deal with a contender, and the chance to hit the market in the spring. He made it apparent that wasn’t the case. Beckham wanted money, and a long-term deal. It’s a tough sell coming off an ACL tear, but he was excellent prior to it.
A lot of teams wanted OBJ, but were too cap-tied to take the risk on him. Perhaps the need wasn’t high enough to justify the investment. The shortlist became the Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, and New York Giants. He made his visits, but a wayward day in Dallas turned the market right off.
OBJ said that he wasn’t planning on playing until the playoffs. It fit his ACL recovery timeline very well. In fact, it would have been no revelation if not for the reports of his supposed healthy status. The market petered out as he wasn’t receiving the offers he felt acceptable, and teams couldn’t risk it when he wouldn’t take snaps until the postseason. Wild Card Weekend is too late to start building chemistry.
None of this was helped by an incident with OBJ on a plane during his sweepstakes tour. He had to be removed from the plane, and with the limited information about his mental and physical state, it cast his signing into further doubt.
So the market died, and the two-month long charade came to a close. The NFL postseason passed without mention of him, and now it’s as though it never happened at all.
“OBJ To _______ Confirmed”
Which leaves us here. Odell Beckham Jr. is still a free agent. He’s arguably the best WR on the market, and is all but guaranteed to sign a large multi-year contract this offseason. The question is still the same. Where?
The Dallas Cowboys still maintain interest, and the Buffalo Bills are in need of both veteran and youth at WR. He can fill one of those needs, and will most definitely be on their free agent target list.
Per Spotrac, his calculated market value is a two-year deal worth roughly $13.1M annually. He may be expecting more cheddar, and there may be teams out there willing to give it to him. Unfortunately for OBJ, the unabated pursuit of his talents in the winter stemmed not from his talent, but the lack of other available talent.
He is no longer priority #1 for every contending NFL franchise. They have other things to focus on now, namely other free agents and draft prospects.
Regardless of where he signs, OBJ has become something of a spectacle in the NFL media. There’s no doubt that when he eventually signs a contract, it’ll be the talk of the town. Would you want that team to be the Buffalo Bills?
Like this piece? Check out the previous Buffalo Bulletin on a potential return for Robert Woods.
The Buffalo Bulletin on Buffalo Fanatics is a weekly editorial by Iestyn Harris. Check back regularly for hot topics, riveting discussion, and, occasionally, some actual insight.
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