Rams have left a light on, and locker ready, for Odell Beckham Jr.
They’ve given his number to Cam Akers. But not his locker.
As receiver Odell Beckham Jr. continues to be unsigned by any team, the Rams are ready to bring him back, at a moment’s notice. Via Jourdan Rodrique of TheAthletic.com, the Rams have left a locker for Beckham, complete with name plate, at the team’s training facility.
It’s the kind of gesture that may keep Beckham from accepting an offer to sign with another team, if another team makes him a fair offer before the Rams do. With Beckham tearing an ACL in the Super Bowl, he’s not yet ready to go. The Rams could have signed him while he rehabbed, giving him some certainty and security. But they didn’t.
The locker operates as a wink and a nod that, when he’s ready, he’ll have the job. Of course, he may not have the money, at least not until he proves he’s healthy.
Last year, the Rams wisely tied his incentives to team achievements, and he maxed out his earnings when the team won the Super Bowl. A similar deal will make sense this year. Incentives for receivers based on catches can lead to frustrations, if/when the player isn’t getting the looks he craves, in order to increase his pay.
It’s still somewhat surprising that no one else has made a play for OBJ. Multiple teams need receivers, and Beckham (if and when healthy) would become a key component for a contending team. Why not bring him in, get him ready, and unleash him at the right moment?
There’s a real benefit to Beckham of waiting, or as the case may be of being made to wait. There may be another team that he thinks is better suited to do what the Rams did last year, or there could be a team wracked by injuries at the position -- guaranteeing that he’ll be more than a role player.
He definitely has not been relegated to that status. He seemed to be the centerpiece of the game plan in Super Bowl LVI, and he arguably was on track to be the game’s MVP before his ACL gave out, without contact.
Next up, eventually, a contract. And while the Rams may think that gimmicks like a dedicated locker in the practice facility will help them hold dibs, Beckham may decide to take a more strategic approach to his next NFL arrangement.