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Odell Beckham Jr, New England Patriots had ‘exploratory’ talks and mutual interest

Matt Johnson

Odell Beckham Jr. is one of the top NFL free agents remaining and it seems the receiver-needy New England Patriots could be interested in making a deal happen.

Beckham Jr. is currently in the early stages of rehabilitating the torn ACL he suffered in Super Bowl LVI. The star wide receiver is tentatively expected back at some point in November. However, the timetable to recover is far from a guarantee since this is the second torn ACL in Beckham’s NFL career.

  • Odell Beckham Jr stats (2021): 44 receptions, 537 receiving yards, five touchdowns (14 games)

Turning 30 years old on Nov. 5, the 5-foot-11 receiver is still viewed as a priority target for the Los Angeles Rams. However, head coach Sean McVay and quarterback Matthew Stafford are reportedly facing some competition.

According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Beckham Jr. and the Patriots have had exploratory talks early in free agency. While a contract isn’t close, the mutual interest between the two sides and New England’s prior run at the star receiver make it a possibility.

Fitting Beckham Jr. under the NFL salary cap would be a bit of a tight fit for New England. The Patriots currently have just $5.05 million in cap room, per OvertheCap.com, funds they need to sign their 2022 NFL Draft class.

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However, the first-round pick from the 2014 NFL Draft is seeking a one-year contract. A prove-it deal would allow him to return late in the 2022 season, stepping in as the Patriots’ No. 1 receiver and helping quarterback Mac Jones.

  • Odell Beckham Jr career stats: 531 receptions, 73,67 receiving yards, 56 touchdowns

There’s also important history to consider. Beckham Jr. has offered extensive praise for Bill Belichick in the past, even suggesting he almost signed with the Patriots because of Belichick after the Browns released him. Long before that, he also opened up about his respect for the future Hall of Fame coach.

“Going against Bill Belichick, this is somebody who I have much respect for. Probably talk to him before and after the game. He tells me the same thing every time, he’s like: ‘I hope you enjoy today because there’s not going to be much for you.’ That’s what he’s told me and that’s what he does every single time. It’s just tough. He’s going to coach it up and they’re going to be ready and prepared.”

Odell Beckham Jr on New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick in 2019, via Jake Trotter

If Beckham Jr. remains a free agent after the NFL Draft – a likely outcome given he remains unsigned – don’t be surprised if the Patriots upgrade at receiver with the player Belichick coveted for years.