The Odell Beckham Jr. sweepstakes continued into Wednesday after the star wideout officially hit free agency on Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET. OBJ has yet to make a decision, which means rumors are flying left and right about what his preferences are. Most link the receiver to the Packers or the Saints; the former offers the chance to play for a great quarterback with a legit shot at a title, while the latter is Beckham's hometown squad.
One team that keeps coming up is the New England Patriots. Which makes a lot of sense from the rumor mill perspective. The Pats have a well-earned reputation of scooping up talented veterans who left their last team on bad terms, maximizing their value, and letting them leave the next year to get the bag in free agency. New England was able to do this for two decades because as long as they had Tom Brady, they had a chance to win the Super Bowl.
That is obviously no longer the case. But from what the reports say, the Patriots are definitely in the running for OBJ, which basically means they're one of the 6-12 teams trying to sell him on joining their cause. This is not a surprise because New England badly needs OBJ.
He is a perfect fit for the offense. Bill Belichick threw a bunch of money around last March to fix the pass-catching deficiency in New England, but the receiving room is still extremely week. The top three options-- Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne, and Jakobi Meyers-- are all best suited as No. 2 or No. 3 options. Theoretically, that's what they were going to be for the Patriots this year behind the combination of Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry. That hasn't really worked out. Smith and Henry are good players but don't threaten the defense as the top pass-catching options.
OBJ would walk in the door and immediately become Mac Jones' favorite receiver. He can threaten the intermediate area of the defense in a way no other receiver on the roster can, not to mention the consistent separation he can gain in the deep part of the field. Josh McDaniels would have a field day scheming up different ways to get him the ball around the line of scrimmage. His mere presence would solve a lot of the issues the Pats face in the passing game halfway through the season.
But there are two parts to this equation. While OBJ would be a huge boon for the Patriots, this team isn't what he's looking for.
New England does not have a lot of money to offer him with only about $3 million in cap space, so they can't blow him away with an impressive contract. Jones hasn't had a ton of help from his receivers but struggles in the area where Beckham thrives. Maybe not as much as Baker Mayfield, but he still hasn't found his groove. Steven Ruiz over at The Ringer perfectly broke down OBJ's preferred areas of operation last week, but in summary he makes his money off intermediate routes to the middle of the field and deep throws. That is... not exactly Jones' strength, as you can see from this nifty passing chart provided by Henry McKenna of Patriots Wire.
See the yellow and the red squares 20 yards down the field? That's where OBJ thrives.
Part of Jones' struggles there are due to the fact that the Agholor/Bourne/Meyers combination can't separate from the secondary in those areas. Add that to the fact that Jones is still a rookie and improving with each week and it's not cause for concern for the team. But for Beckham? It's a big red flag.
OBJ is perfect for the Patriots. But are the Patriots perfect for him? The latter question is far more important than the former when it's an open bidding war. We'll find out the answer soon enough.