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Odell Beckham Jr. targets mid-November return

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Chris Simms has more faith in Justin Herbert to win a game than Jacoby Brissett, but Mike Florio believes the Cleveland Browns will pull off the upset in Week 5.

For the second straight year, receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will have a chance to pick a potentially winning horse roughly halfway through the race.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that Beckham is targeting a mid-November return to play. The questions becomes, as it was a year ago, where he’ll play.

Last year, he finagled a release from the Browns in early November, sparked by a social-media receipts-driven attack by his father on former Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield. With various teams interested, the Rams came out of nowhere to close the deal.

This time around, it’s regarded as almost a given that the Rams will sign him again. He has a locker in the team facility. He was present for the night they raised a banner and passed around a trophy.

But there’s a vague sense that other teams could be in play. For Beckham, other teams should be in play. His goal should be to pick a team where: (1) he can make a major impact on the offense; and (2) the team has a strong chance of playing deep into January.

Last year, it was the Rams -- and it worked. But for the non-contact ACL tear that he suffered during the Super Bowl, Beckham would have been in line for a solid, and possibly spectacular, contract on the open market. Especially since he was on track to become the Super Bowl MVP.

Via Rapoport, Beckham has been cleared for all non-contact work. His knee supposedly is “much healthier than it was” when he signed with the Rams last November. That’s a significant nugget, given that Beckham had actually been playing for the Browns before he was released and joined the Rams.

The Rams continue to be regarded as the clear favorites to bring Beckham back. However, as recently noted by Josina Anderson of CBS Sports, Beckham can be influenced by a team that shows him the love. Last year, the Rams did just that. Even though the contract was so-so, the pursuit was aggressive. They wanted him, and they made sure he knew it.

Is there a team this year that is plotting to unleash a similar effort at the right time? Is there a team that Beckham will regard by next month as a much more viable contender than the Rams? The Bills, the Chiefs, and the Packers are all obvious candidates. The Buccaneers, who have plenty of receivers but multiple of them injured at any given time, could potentially use him, too.

There could be another team, especially if that team is doing well. The Cowboys could use him. He’d be an intriguing addition to the Eagles.

And all it takes is one injury to a key player to change everything.

Time is on Beckham’s side. Whatever his decision, he’ll have more clarity when November rolls around. Eventually, he’ll have a team. And we’ll find out in time whether he picked the right horse for the second straight year.