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Odell Beckham Jr.'s best move would be to play in 2022, forget about 2023

Mike Florio and Chris Simms unpack why Jerry Jones’ concerns about whether Odell Beckham Jr. can play this season will greatly hurt the Cowboys’ chances of landing the WR.

Free-agent receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has been trying to use the vague promise of helping a team win in 2022 to secure a significant payday that extends into 2023. That’s fine, but it doesn’t seem to be working.

Who is going to commit major dollars to Beckham without knowing that he can play? The fact that OBJ wasn’t willing to work out for teams during his recent visits to the Bills, Giants, and Cowboys does nothing to create confidence that he’s ready or able to play.

One possible strategy would be to wait until the offseason, and to sign with a team then. Another approach would consist of taking a deal for the balance of the current season and proving himself now, setting himself up for a contract in March.

He may not be interested in doing that again, given that he was burned by a non-contact ACL suffered in Super Bowl LVI, at a time when he was on the brink of heading to free agency and getting a potentially significant contract. It’s unfortunate. It’s unfair. But it’s also unrealistic to think that anyone would sign Beckham for anything other than what he can currently do.

He needs to show what he can do. No one is going to pay him based on the past or on possibility. His best move is to play now, or as soon as he can.

He needs to pick a contender, one that most likely will be playing deep into January, and maybe beyond. One that will give him a chance to show that he’s healthy, and that he can be effective.

Yes, he has visited the Bills, Giants, and Cowboys. But if he decides to sign a deal for the balance of the season, he may want to consider the Chiefs or the Eagles -- teams that are likely to be playing well into January. Teams with enough talented receivers to ensure he’ll get favorable matchups. Teams with coaches smart enough to get him wide open. Teams with quarterbacks who are good enough to get him the ball.

This may be the only way to get the kind of contract he wants in 2023. Currently, it doesn’t look like anyone will give him anything that works out to $20 million per year until he shows that he can play.

So that’s the situation Beckham faces. He may not like it, but it may be his best option. Play now. Play well. Get paid later.