Odell Beckham Jr. is targeting a mid-November return to the field as he continues to recover from a torn ACL suffered during Super Bowl LVI.
That's got to be music to several teams' ears, considering the free agent could theoretically be available to help provide a boost after the league's Nov. 1 trade deadline, similar to what he did in 2021. Released by the Browns after last season's deadline, Beckham signed with the Rams in November and was instrumental in helping the franchise secure its second Super Bowl title.
The 29-year-old wide receiver could provide a team with that same kind of spark in 2022 once healthy. Here are the four best team fits for Beckham as I see them:
The Rams seem to have been pining for OBJ to return for months now. As of early September, they were keeping his locker (and nameplate) open in their Thousand Oaks, California, facility. Multiple voices in the organization -- including chief operating officer Kevin Demoff, coach Sean McVay, receiver Cooper Kupp, you name it -- were clear about wanting him back over the summer. OBJ knows this team and was on his way to revitalizing his career with the Rams in 2021, logging 48 catches, 593 receiving yards and seven receiving touchdowns in 12 games with L.A. (including the playoffs).
Had Beckham not been injured, it's easy to envision him having signed a multi-year extension to stay with the Rams, in which case the team would be rolling right now. Instead, the Rams sit at 2-3 and rank 29th in the NFL in scoring, 26th in total yards, 18th in passing yards and dead last in rushing yards. The Rams have scored only 80 points this season, the fifth-fewest by a reigning Super Bowl champion in the first five games of a season.
Offseason signee Allen Robinson hasn't had the impact on this offense we all expected, logging just 23 targets, 12 catches and 107 receiving yards in five games. Kupp's production (64 targets, 49 catches, 527 receiving yards, four scoring grab) dwarfs that of all other Rams receivers this season. As we saw in 2021, OBJ's skill set makes him the perfect complement to Kupp. Bringing him back would give McVay another real downfield option to open up the pass game and take significant pressure off a struggling Matthew Stafford.
The Bills already boast the league's No. 1 total offense, so imagine if Von Miller was actually right when he said last month that his former Rams teammate told him he was "going to go" join the winner of this season's kickoff game between the Bills and Rams. In case you forgot, Buffalo won that game. Miller, who also joined the Rams last season before signing with Buffalo this offseason, proceeded to say on Richard Sherman's podcast just last week that he knows where Beckham will land.
Teaming up with MVP front-runner Josh Allen alongside Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis and Isaiah McKenzie, Beckham would feast on second- and third-tier defenders -- much like he did with the Rams in 2021. If I was Odell, signing with Buffalo would be a no-brainer.
Through five weeks of the season, we still don't have a real answer as to who might replace Davante Adams as the Packers' No. 1 receiver following Adams' offseason trade to Las Vegas. Three wide receivers each have registered at least 25 targets, but none has more than 29. The lack of a big-time playmaker has this unit, which is led by a generational quarterback, stuck in a dink-and-dunk approach. Beckham would instantly gain the confidence of Aaron Rodgers, given his skill set and experience, immediately becoming Rodgers' top target. With Green Bay sitting at its worst record through five games since 2018 and its offense sputtering early in the season, it is in the most desperate spot of these four teams to make a move for Beckham. The Packers must make this happen.
Beckham landing in Baltimore feels a little like a pipe dream compared to the rest of the teams here, but after Sunday night's win over Cincinnati, the Ravens sure seem like a good spot for the free agent. Rashod Bateman, the Ravens' top receiver and deep threat this season, did not play with a foot injury, and the leading wide receiver was Devin Duvernay with 54 yards. Beckham would add some much-needed depth at the position and give Lamar Jackson a reliable weapon in the deep passing game (an area where he struggled without Bateman on Sunday).
This pairing has the potential to turn combustible, given the way receivers have been used in Baltimore lately. Since Jackson entered the NFL in 2018, the Ravens rank last in the NFL in receiver targets (1,119) and receiver catches (683); don't forget that Marquise Brown requested a trade out of Baltimore to a system that would be friendlier to his skill set. And, of course, questions about Beckham's usage by the Browns accompanied him on his way out of Cleveland last year. But if Beckham can deal with Baltimore's offense running through Lamar first, it could be just the recipe needed to get the team over the hump in January. Jackson also seems to be on board.
Top 15 Offensive Players
Each week in the 2022 campaign, former No. 1 overall pick and NFL Network analyst David Carr will take a look at all offensive players and rank his top 15. Rankings are based solely on this season's efforts. The Week 6 pecking order is below.
NOTE: Arrows reflect changes from last week's rankings.
I expected the Bills' defense to ruin Kenny Pickett's NFL debut. I didn't expect the Steelers' defense to no-show against Allen and Co. The Bills QB dominated with 348 passing yards and four touchdowns in the first half; it was the second-most passing yards in a first half since 1991, when play-by-play data began to be tracked. Allen has this unit firing on all cylinders, and it seems like it is more than ready to take on Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs next week.
The Raiders did a good job early putting pressure on Mahomes and limiting the Chiefs' offense. But Mahomes didn't become a league MVP and Super Bowl champion because of luck. He put the team on his back late in the first half and for the remainder of the contest, avoiding pressure and connecting with nine different targets in the Chiefs' comeback win. Good news for Chiefs fans: The last two times Kansas City started 4-1, it went to the Super Bowl.
The Ravens beat division foe Cincinnati despite Jackson throwing for just 174 yards and rushing for another 58, thanks to a well-executed, seven-play, 50-yard, game-winning drive that ended in an incredibly accurate Justin Tucker field goal to give the Ravens their first home victory of the season. Jackson's performance was far from perfect, but it's drives like this that makes him one of the best in the league at the position.
The Rams' offense doesn't have that much going for it right now -- with the exception of Kupp. With the help of a monster 75-yard touchdown (he gained 72 yards after the catch) in Sunday's loss to Dallas, Kupp has had 100-plus receiving yards in four of the team's five games this season (most in the NFL).
Chubb amassed 134 rushing yards and two touchdowns, including a tackle-breaking, 41-yard touchdown run to open the scoring, on 17 carries in Sunday's loss. I can't say enough about Chubb's effort through the first five weeks of the season, as he leads the league in rushing yards (593), rushing TDs (seven) and big plays (20; that includes carries of 10-plus yards or receptions of 20-plus yards).
The Vikings' offense was clicking in Week 5. Kirk Cousins started the game with a franchise record 17 completions for 176 yards and a TD, and the unit scored on all four of its red-zone drives and converted 12 of 15 third-down attempts. Jefferson was a big part of that success, hauling in eight of those 17 early Cousins completions for 122 yards. The third-year wideout finished the day with 12 catches (a career high) for 154 yards, which was more receiving yards than all Chicago receivers combined (100) in the game.
Kelce posted a career-high four receiving touchdowns in Monday night's win over Las Vegas. It's odd, because it wasn't like he was dicing up the defense all over the field, as he was held to seven catches for 25 yards. Rather, a few blown assignments in the red zone led to Kelce's four-TD outing, which brings his season total to seven.
Barkley is a HUGE reason the Giants are 4-1 after spoiling the Green Bay Packers' first trip to London. The star running back compiled 106 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in the win and kept him ahead of his Offensive Rookie of the Year pace.
Rodgers had the Packers cruising in the first half in London, but the offense stalled in the second half and didn't capitalize on the few chances it did have, including on fourth-and-1 with 1:05 left on the clock, when Rodgers' pass was batted down. It's odd watching the Packers' offense be so inconsistent, but like I said in the intro of this article, without a big-time playmaker in Green Bay, this is what we're going to get.
The Eagles improved to 5-0 ahead of next week's prime-time tilt with the Dallas Cowboys thanks to a big performance on the ground by Hurts. He had a pair of 1-yard TD runs in the first half, proving why he's the center of Philly's rushing attack in short-yardage situations. But it was most encouraging to see Hurts lead the Eagles' final drive with the score tied at 17. The Eagles put together a 17-play, 70-yard drive that lasted nearly 8 minutes and resulted in a go-ahead field goal by Cameron Dicker. This Eagles team convinces me each week that they belong at the top of the NFC.
Adams was brought to Las Vegas for games like Monday night. He had a pair of deep touchdown receptions, including a 58-yarder on fourth down and a 48-yard TD that brought the Raiders to within one point in the fourth quarter. Adams finished the game with 124 receiving yards and two TDs on three catches, and he even left a few out there -- an overturned catch in the fourth quarter and on a failed fourth-down attempt that ended the game. (We'll see if Adams faces discipline after shoving a credentialed worker following the loss to the Chiefs.)
Diggs led the Bills with eight receptions and had 102 yards and a 15-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter. It was Diggs' third game with 100-plus receiving yards and at least one receiving TD this season (tied for the most in the NFL).
The Dolphins were working with seventh-round rookie quarterback Skylar Thompson under center after Teddy Bridgewater exited with a head injury on the first snap of Sunday's loss to the Jets. The offense looked out of rhythm for much of the game due to a stout Jets defense, with Hill finishing with 47 yards on seven receptions and adding 13 yards on the ground. It was quite underwhelming.
Herbert played well against the Browns in completing 64.7 percent of his pass attempts for 228 yards and a touchdown. Operating without Keenan Allen for the fourth straight week, Herbert leaned on Mike Williams, who finished with a career-high 10 receptions and season-high 134 receiving yards. This offense is becoming more balanced by the week, and the Chargers are succeeding because of it.
Brady might not be playing the best football of his career. Or is he? He has seven pass TDs against just one INT this season. The only seasons in his career that he's had a better TD-to-INT ratio were his 2010 MVP season (36:4) and the 2016 Super Bowl-winning season (28:2). OK, so he's not actually at a 2010 or 2016 level right now, but he's finding different ways to win, week in and week out. Sunday against the Falcons, that consisted of throwing the ball 52 times.
JUST MISSED: Jonathan Taylor, RB, Colts; Ja'Marr Chase, WR, Bengals; A.J. Brown, WR, Eagles, Derrick Henry, RB, Titans.