29-year-old Odell Beckham Jr. is a Super Bowl winner for the first time. It had been a long time coming for the wide receiver, who has been a part of the NFL since becoming Offensive Rookie of the Year with the New York Giants in 2014. The excitement of lifting the Lombardi Trophy for the first time was tempered by the disappointment of sustaining a serious knee injury midway through the game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Beckham Jr. was part of the Rams’ historic Super Bow LVI success, prior to sustaining his season-ending anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) knee injury. Ahead of Super Bowl LVI, the Rams’ wide receiver was one of the main talking points among the analysts seeking value for their NFL picks in the moneyline, point spread, and prop bet markets. He was heavily tipped to make the first LA Rams reception in the game, given his notoriety as a fast, aggressive starter.
The Rams were narrowly ahead 13-10 around the time of Beckham Jr.’s injury blow. It was reported that Beckham Jr. will be sidelined until December 2022, but the Baton Rouge-born star has since confirmed his ACL surgery was a great success and that he was on track to make a full recovery. In even brighter news, Beckham Jr. has also become a father for the first time. Alongside his girlfriend, Lauren Wood, Beckham Jr. welcomed baby Zydn into the world, a moment that Beckham Jr. described as “the biggest blessing” of his life so far.
What does the future hold for Beckham Jr. in the NFL?
The next step for Beckham Jr. is to return to full fitness. This will be a long and arduous battle, but analysts expect him to be ready to report to an NFL team before the end of this year. As of now, he is back on free agency, with his 2021 contract expiring with the Rams.
Having been drafted in ahead of Game Week 10 of the 2021 season, Beckham Jr. saw his short-term contract loaded with incentives. He was given a modest basic salary of $1.25 million, with the remaining $3 million based on team performance. Just for reaching the Super Bowl LVI, Beckham Jr. had bagged himself an additional $2 million, but defeating the Bengals saw him rake in a further $1 million. Beckham Jr. bet big on the Rams’ postseason form and got lucky.
There is still a chance that the Rams will retain him on their books. In fact, journalist Chris Mortensen described the Rams as being “very optimistic” about the prospects of retaining Beckham Jr. Mortensen said the club’s hierarchy felt he was an “ideal fit” for the roster and his “explosive” nature gave them an extra offensive dimension.
Almost certainly any future contract that the Rams could offer Beckham Jr. would contain a string of conditional clauses. These stipulations would be designed to financially protect the Rams team if Beckham Jr. cannot return to full speed or power, or is struggling to recover in what the Rams would deem a necessary timeframe. The reality is that any other NFL franchise keen to sign Beckham Jr. would almost certainly attempt to include the same clauses in their contract negotiations. It’s something that Beckham Jr. may have to “suck up” for the coming season, battle to prove his fitness and form, and earn himself a much more lucrative deal with the Rams in time for 2023.
Although the Rams may be desperate to keep Beckham Jr. for next season, finances may dictate otherwise. They are over their salary cap by $13 million ahead of the 2022 season. Rams head coach Sean McVay has certainly given Beckham Jr. a glowing reference wherever he ends up. Although he has been considered as something of a maverick in recent years, he remains a mercurial talent that would enhance most NFL rosters. Choosing a home that already has strong team spirit and leadership would be vital to keep Beckham Jr. on the straight and narrow. An above-average quarterback wouldn’t go amiss either.