The Cowboys and Giants retreat from Odell Beckham Jr. In free agency because he misread his “value”
In early October, when Odell Beckham Jr. was no longer in the mood to be vague about his disappointment with the Los Angeles Rams and their “inferior” 2022 contract, a source from the team asked a question that resonated louder than ever this month. At the time, Beckham was still months away from being viable on the football field due to his ACL tear last season, but the Rams were trying their best to stay in his good graces.
Then Beckham Tweeted on Oct. 12 that the Rams had not offered him “anything,” and that while the free agent wide knew his “worth,” the deal offered by the Rams “didn’t reflect that.”
“What is his value and who gives it to him?” a Ramez source asked a few days after Beckham’s tweet. “This is everyone’s market, right?”
They weren’t trying to be dismissive, the source added, and reiterated that the Rams wanted to reunite with Beckham after he helped them win the Super Bowl in February. But they also repeated a warning three members of the Rams braintrust gave when I visited training camp in August: Beckham wouldn’t be ready to play until late in the season. By then, conditions could have changed for both sides. Regarding the Rams, that was absolutely true. Everything seemed to go wrong, taking the team out of postseason contention and making the pursuit of Beckham a moot point.
But for Beckham?
The circumstances surrounding his contract outlook are still all too familiar. He thinks he knows his worth. And as of Dec. 13—two months since his complaints with the Rams—Beckham still doesn’t have an NFL team willing to give it to him. Not the Dallas Cowboys. Not the New York Giants. Not buffalo bills. And not any of the other Super Bowl contenders who could have lined up with him this week, but oddly enough, they didn’t even try. All of this makes many teams wrong about Odell’s value, or he may be sailing with the free agency map upside down.
To underscore this fact, let’s consider a line from one of the founding fathers of day trading, Jesse Livermore. As the 20th century stock market scientist put it, “Markets are never wrong, opinions are often.”
In this case, Beckham’s opinion of its value is clearly wrong. If not, he’d be on an NFL roster right now. Instead, veteran players like TY Hilton and Cole Beasley signed with the Cowboys and Bills, respectively. Meanwhile, no one in the NFL seems quite sure what Beckham looks like running the field after his second ACL surgery, since he refused to practice for any of his free agency visits earlier this month.
While they may not be in a rush to say it publicly, this was an issue for the teams who were most willing to sign him. Meanwhile, Hilton worked in Dallas on Monday morning and had a contract by the afternoon. and paisley? He agreed to sign a coaching staff deal that could make him a week-to-week roster decision for the team.
It all comes just days after Beckham publicly stated that he saw no point in playing in the regular season. Which is, if we’re being real here, in the same zip code as a team that doesn’t see the point of signing a player who doesn’t want to play in the regular season.
Different opinions. different resolutions. Beckham is still not signed. Hilton and Paisley do not. This is market talk.
Of course, it is not because of a problem with exercise. Beckham doesn’t want a short-term deal like the one he signed with the Rams last off-season. He bet himself in 2021 that he wouldn’t get injured and lose. It’s understandable why he wouldn’t want to make that bet again. Instead, he went into the final season wanting a safety. A one-year deal won’t entice him, especially when you give him only a widow to sink or swim in a few games – which might only be enough to get injured again but not enough to ramp up his free agent market.
It was clear from talking to the Rams in the preseason that Beckham was looking for a long-term deal. He wanted something substantial from the team, since he helped them win the Super Bowl and expected some loyalty in return. When that didn’t happen, he was upset. But his contractual position has not changed. If he does sign somewhere, it will be for some long-term security and it will be for the kind of money that has made him—at worst—the No. 1 mid-range in terms of salary wide.
What teams have in mind for him is something different. In fact, the Cowboys offered roughly what Beckham would have looked at in terms of contract structure with the team. Hilton earned $600,000 for the remaining four games this season and will receive $50,000 in bonuses for each game he is on the team’s active roster during those four games. Aside from that, Hilton could also get up to $700,000 in post-season incentives.
A source on the team told Yahoo Sports that the Cowboys were willing to offer Beckham more money if the deal was discussed. However, it would have been highly motivating and short-term in nature. Unfortunately for Dallas, this is the kind of structure that Beckham is no interested in it. This may be the market, but it still isn’t the market inside Beckham’s head.
At some point, one of the parties has to give here. And the time is very short. Either Beckham will get closer to the team’s short-term outlook, or the franchise will tip the team’s long-term hopes.
As of Tuesday night, it looks like a major settlement is dead. And until something changes, that’s the best way to describe the state of Beckham’s 2022 season.
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