Receiver Odell Beckham Jr. exploded onto the scene as a rookie in 2014. In recent years, he has fizzled.
And so it’s fair to ask whether he’s still capable of high-end performances. Whether, ultimately, it’s the circumstance in Cleveland that held him back or a reduction in his skills, due to age and injuries.
He’s now 29. His career high in receiving yards and touchdowns came six years ago, with 1,450 and 13, respectively. In 2018 and 2019, he had 1,000-yard receiving seasons, but just barely with 1,052 and 1,035.
A torn ACL suffered in Week Seven of 2020 ended a season in which he was on pace for 903 receiving yards. This year, he had 232 receiving yards in six games.
So what’s left in the tank? It’s hard to tell. He had indeed gotten open on a regular basis in 2021. But, as Simms has said on PFT Live, defenses don’t blanket Beckham like they once did.
Then there’s the lingering question regarding his demeanor. Earlier this week, Mike Garafolo of NFL Media quoted an unnamed teammates as saying this regarding Beckham: “He does nothing. He talks to no one. He’s just got a malcontent attitude.”
Frankly, it’s hard to fault Beckham for that, now that we know that he’d been asking to be traded and that the Browns had instead insisted on paying him at a rate of $14.5 million to not be as involved as he could have been or should have been. Maybe the circumstances made him malcontented.
A fresh start will help. A clean slate could help him thrive again.
It’s also important that he land with a team that will take full advantage of his skills and abilities. The Cleveland offense had evolved to a point where it didn’t need him. Hopefully, whoever acquires Beckham will need him and want him and ultimately use him.