Odell Beckham Jr. bet on the Rams to get him paid, and it’s worked

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

OBJ is adding another $1 million if the Rams win the Super Bowl.

Odell Beckham Jr. had plenty of reasons to be optimistic about his future when he was traded to the Cleveland Browns ahead of the 2019 season. Beckham had already established himself as one of the league’s premier wide receivers during the start of his career with the New York Giants, but instability at quarterback and injury issues amounted to only one playoff appearance and zero playoff wins for himself and the team.

The Browns swung big for Beckham, trading two players (Jabrill Peppers, Kevin Zeitler), a first round pick and a third round pick for the star wide receiver and defensive end Olivier Vernon. Beckham was expected to be the final piece of an explosive offense built around Baker Mayfield, the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback the team selected with the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. The Browns already had Beckham’s college teammate Jarvis Landry installed at one receiver, and a strong running game led by Nick Chubb. It was easy to daydream about the Browns being the NFL’s next big thing.

It didn’t happen. Cleveland went only 6-10 that season despite Beckham catching 74 passes for 1,035 yards. The Browns fired head coach Freddie Kitchens, hired Kevin Stefanski, and hoped Mayfield would take a leap the next season. While the Browns did improve dramatically to 11-5, they mostly did it without Beckham after he tore his ACL in Oct.

Beckham’s recovery from the injury kept him out the first two games of this season before he re-joined the Browns. Once he came back, his displeasure with Mayfield became more and more public as losses mounted for Cleveland. The rift between the receiver and the QB peaked when Beckham’s father posted a video to social media showing all the times Mayfield missed his son open down the field. With no guaranteed dollars left on his contract after the season, Beckham and the Browns reached an agreement on a release that would save the team money and let Beckham choose a new organization in free agency.

Beckham’s decision reportedly came down to the Rams and Packers, two Super Bowl contenders in the NFC. He chose the Rams despite getting only $500K guaranteed immediately. The rest of his contract would be loaded with incentives based around team performance.

For OBJ to get paid this year, the Rams had to win deep into the playoffs. It’s happened, and Beckham is a big reason why.

Details on Rams WR Odell Beckham’s 1-year deal, per source.• $750K base for rest of the season.• $500K to sign.• $500K if Rams win WC or get a bye.• $750K for divisional round win.• $750K for NFC title win.• $500k for playing in SB *or* $1M for winning it.(1/2)

— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) November 13, 2021

Beating the 49ers earned Beckham a cool $750K in incentives. He had already earned a cool $1.25 million for their first two playoff wins. And he’s getting paid to play in the Super Bowl either way, with a $1 million bonus if the Rams win.

Beckham wanted to a chance to compete deep into the playoffs for the first time in his career. He wanted to join a veteran team with a star quarterback who wouldn’t go through the same bouts of inconsistency as Mayfield. He wanted a place that could rehab his image in the long-term and could make him attractive as an unrestricted free agent again during the offseason.

He’s found that and more with the Rams.

Odell Beckham Jr. has been a big part of the Rams’ success

The day Beckham joined the Rams, the team suffered a massive loss in the WR room when veteran target Robert Woods went down with a torn ACL. Beckham’s position on the team suddenly became much more vital. Cooper Kupp remained the top receiver on the team during a record setting campaign, but Beckham would get plenty of opportunities alongside former second round pick Van Jefferson.

Beckham made the most of his chance with the Rams, ending the regular season with 305 yards and five touchdowns in eight games. LA made the playoffs as the No. 4 seed in the NFC West after winning the division, and that’s when Beckham started to turn it up.

In the playoff opener vs. the Cardinals, Beckham caught four passes for 54 yards and a touchdown, and also threw a 40-yard bomb to Cam Akers.

throw-dell beckham jr. : #AZvsLAR on ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 : NFL app pic.twitter.com/GQNsvGxRrH

— NFL (@NFL) January 18, 2022

In the Divisional Round against the reigning champion Tampa Bay Bucs, Beckham caught eight passes for 69 yards in a tight win.
In the NFC Championship Game against the 49ers, OBJ had nine catches for 113 yards.

To put it another way:

There’s no chance the Rams are in the Super Bowl without OBJ. What a wild ride.

— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) January 31, 2022

Odell Beckham’s gamble on himself worked, with one exception

Beckham reached a settlement upon his release from the Browns, and had already made a reported $81 million in his career, so he didn’t exactly need the most guaranteed money when he looked for a new team. When he picked the Rams, he made another gamble, taking his salary in Bitcoin.

That risk hasn’t worked out so well to this point.

The amount of people applauding players changing their salary into Bitcoin as if they were heroes has been comical. Rams WR Odell Beckham Jr., at least in the moment, provides a cautionary tale. pic.twitter.com/uW0QDdJrYy

— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) January 23, 2022

Not every bet is going to hit.

Either way, Beckham should be thrilled with his decision to join the Rams. The extra wins in the playoffs have meant more money, and likely a better outlook this offseason when he’s a free agent. That’s a win-win.