There was no force on earth that would’ve stopped the Buffalo Bills from dragging the New England Patriots up and down the field during that 47-17 Wild-Card beatdown. But maybe that’s not the Patriots’ first-round opponent if they were able to land Odell Beckham Jr. after he was released by the Cleveland Browns in November.
At the time, some of the favorites to sign him were his hometown New Orleans Saints and the Patriots. After the deal was completed, ESPN’s Mike Reiss reported that Beckham ultimately decided to sign with the Los Angeles Rams because they had more cap space and a more proven quarterback situation.
Beckham opened up on Monday about the Patriots’ interest in him when asked how close he was to signing with them. It sounds like if a certain quarterback, who is well over 40 years old, was still in Foxboro, Beckham would’ve been excited at the thought of playing alongside that person.
“Very. very, very [close],” Beckham said. “I don’t think I joked with [Belichick about it] on the phone but I was like, ‘ya know if this was three years ago it would’ve been ideal.’”
It is clear that he has great admiration for Belichick and the recently retired Tom Brady. Beckham went on for almost another minute about how much he admires Brady’s competitive spirit — even though he wishes that some of the tantrums from early in his career were looked upon as favorably as the tablet smashing Brady — and was also extremely complimentary of Belichick, saying he was thrilled to talk football over the phone with him.
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When Beckham discussed why he picked the Rams, he said that it felt more like home. Regardless of what it felt like, it was the right call. When joining a team midseason, especially when that someone is on a one-year deal and will turn 30 next season, it’s best to join a team that in every possible way is all in.
The Rams traded for a veteran quarterback and brought in one of the best pass rushers of the last 10 years onto a team that has been a perennial playoff contender. The Patriots started a rookie quarterback and are working to rebuild a team that was clearly running out of gas during Brady’s last season with them in 2019.
Greats want to work with the greats, so it’s reasonable to entertain thoughts of playing for Belichick, arguably the greatest coach in the history of professional football. As great as that sounds, take the 80 degree weather and the championship-ready roster. Prior to this season, Beckham had played in one career playoff game which turned into a week he and the entire tri-state area would like to forget ever existed with the boat party and the loss to the Green Bay Packers.
Beckham just caught nine passes for 113 yards in the biggest game of his professional life. While Cooper Kupp has been the star at wide receiver, Beckham has made enough big plays late in the season and in the playoffs to show that he is most certainly worthy of another No. 1 wide receiver contract.
A championship and money. Beckham couldn’t have made a better choice in November, even if he could have gotten the Patriots out of that first-round matchup with the Bills somehow.