Odell Beckham Jr. suiting up for the Packers would have been flashy, but a massive salary cap mistake.
Sure, Odell Beckham Jr. suiting up for the Green Bay Packers would have been fun. But in life, there are wants, and there are needs. OBJ was a want for the Packers, not a need.
Ultimately, Beckham was telegraphed as a Jets signing and a possible Aaron Rodgers teammate-to-be, but in a surprise move, he agreed to a deal with the Baltimore Ravens that was at least partially motivated by the recruiting of Lamar Jackson, who desperately needs some receivers in his life.
That contract is, in a word, pricy. It can move up to $18 million after incentives, and the one-year deal is going to clock in at at least $15 million. That’s exactly what OBJ was looking for in free agency, ironic considering the Ravens continually refuse to give Lamar Jackson what he’s been looking for in terms of salary.
So, why does that matter for the Packers?
Packers are being much more savvy with salary cap allocation
As Bill Huber pointed out, the Packers are giving their entire receiving staff far less than OBJ will make.
“According to OverTheCap.com, the Packers have dedicated about $5.53 million of cap space to their enter receiver corps. That makes it the least-expensive group in the NFL, though that number is sure to grow with only five receivers under contract: 2022 draft picks Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Samori Toure and Bo Melton and first-year player Jeff Cotton.”
Yes, that’ll change as the staff fills out, but signing Beckham would have been a frivolous use of cap space, not a smart use. The Packers, in their post-Aaron Rodgers era, need to be smart with their salary cap.
The only case for doling out that much money for Beckham would be the culture and veteran presence aspect. Beckham is a three-time Pro Bowl receiver and a Super Bowl champion. The Packers are about to get younger in key areas, and some veteran wisdom could be a justifiable reason to spend. In particular, the Packers would have been able to rationalize getting Jordan Love a nice receiving piece to have in his toolbelt for his first season as the full-time starter.
But even from that perspective, would OBJ have filled that need? Coming off of an ACL tear and an entirely missed 2022 season, what Beckham will be in 2023 is a mystery to some degree. If they were going to spend for a veteran, Beckham might not have been the receiver to go to.