Analysis

Odell Beckham Jr. adds yet another star to loaded Rams roster, but questions follow Pro Bowl WR to LA

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- At least the Rams didn't have to part ways with a draft pick for this superstar.

Under the media-provided veil of the Packers, Saints, Seahawks and Patriots, the Rams pulled a stealth acquisition out of the air like an improbable one-handed grab to land free-agent wide receiver Odell Beckham.

Beckham was waived Monday by the Cleveland Browns after his injury-marred tenure with them came to a tumultuous end, highlighted by a video released on social media by his father, that highlighted a fracture between Beckham and quarterback Baker Mayfield.

The acquisition of Beckham comes a week after the Rams traded for longtime Broncos pass rusher Von Miller -- and three years after flirting with trading for Beckham before the Giants shipped him to Cleveland instead. Los Angeles also traded former starting quarterback Jared Goff and a first-round pick to Detroit this summer for quarterback Matthew Stafford, who is in the midseason running for AP NFL Most Valuable Player.

Miller, I was told by a Rams source, played an integral role in recruiting Beckham to the Rams. Shortly after the deal was agreed upon. Miller posted to Instagram a screenshot of a video call he was having with Beckham that read: "Let's Chase This Ring Family!!!"

Just more than two hours before the news of Beckham's arrival became public, players in the Rams' locker room found out. Wideout Robert Woods said cornerback Jalen Ramsey video-conferenced Beckham and several players welcomed him to the family. Other players like Woods reached out individually to explain to him how he could fit into the offense and to speak on the camaraderie of the wide receiver room. If there was any envy or concern among wide receivers about Beckham's arrival, Woods shut that down, saying there is no reason to think the Rams would be anything but better.

Cooper Kupp said that several players did speak to Beckham about the team's culture and how everything here is team-based. In saying this about any new player to the squad, not specifically Beckham, Kupp said if a player isn't about the team and isn't about playing for the man next to him, he'll "stick out like a sore thumb."

It might not have been too hard to convince Beckham to sign with the Rams, though, as he let it be known back in 2018, when the Rams were in trade talks with the Giants about dealing for Beckham, how much he wanted to be in Los Angeles.

Maybe an hour before the news of Beckham's agreement with the 7-1 Rams broke, L.A. head coach Sean McVay said that "I am focused on the 49ers," when asked about the team's interest in OBJ. The Rams face the Niners on Monday night.

While L.A. basks in yet another sports mega-profile athlete joining its roster filled by Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, Mookie Betts, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Justin Herbert, Derwin James, Jalen Ramsey, Aaron Donald and Cooper Kupp, Beckham's arrival does come with questions.

Is he the dude who captivated the world with the highlight-film plays? Is he healthy? He had a shoulder injury in Cleveland before being released. Can he exist on a team that values chemistry and humility?

Most importantly, did the Rams really need him?

Beckham might not be the hyper-athletic, big-play stealer that he once was. We don't know. Maybe he will be now that he is playing with a big-time quarterback in Stafford and in a system in which he will be schemed open. Will he get the ball as much as he wants?

Maybe not. Kupp is the NFL's leading receiver and the Rams' offense is built on spreading the ball around. Woods is as good of a No. 2 wideout as there is in the NFL, and second-year wide receiver Van Jefferson is an emerging talent.

There is this though, and this can't be overlooked: The Rams recently parted ways with deep threat DeSean Jackson, seemingly because he couldn't find a role/couldn't be found in his role. Could Beckham find himself in a similar situation?

In not having a deep threat, the Rams' offense is easier to defend. Defensive coordinators have told me for years that if you can keep things underneath, it's easier to slow down the run and explosive plays from any area of the field. Beckham, by presence alone, will keep defenses honest.

In terms of needing him? No, the Rams didn't need Beckham.

Just like they didn't need Miller.

However, acquiring talent and lots of it over the course of a 17-game season and possibly the playoffs, the more top-end depth you can have, the better. The Rams also have very good role players and emerging young talent to accompany the lead singers of their band.

The binding glue to just about every move the Rams have made this season is this: It's winning the Super Bowl in their home SoFi Stadium.

If there is one thing leaders in this organization have learned, it's that when you have your shot to get to the Super Bowl, you shoot it.

After losing to New England, 13-3, in Super Bowl LIII after the 2018 season, the Rams didn't make the playoffs in 2019 and lost in the NFC Divisional Round to Green Bay last season.

If Beckham or Miller or Stafford puts L. A. over the top, then man, the Rams have won at winning and the process of how to build a winner. If not, there is no doubt they will be back at it again next season.

FollowSteve Wycheon Twitter.

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