Odell Beckham Jr., the mercurial but talented New York Giants receiver, was almost traded to the New England Patriots last year.
Can you imagine Odell Beckham Jr. catching passes from Tom Brady?
That’s almost what happened last year, believe it or not. According to a new report from Chris Simms on “PFT Live,” the New York Giants were extremely close to dealing their superstar receiver to the New England Patriots. Ultimately, the team had a change of heart and elected instead to keep Beckham around, signing him to a five-year, $95 million contract extension last August with $41 million fully-guaranteed.
If that seems like a rapid about-face to you, you’re probably not alone. Anyone who’s seen Beckham play on the field over the past five seasons since he entered the NFL can understand why any team would want Beckham on their roster. He has arguably the best hands among all professional football players, regularly making circus-like catches a part of his athletic routine (both before and during actual competitive games).
Unfortunately, Beckham is every bit as drama-prone as he is talented and productive. Numerous on and off-field incidents have called his character into question, and some league executives probably feel the potential doesn’t outweigh the headache he presents in the locker room.
If Simms is to be believed, the Giants might have been part of that line of thinking at some point last offseason. Perhaps it was concern over Beckham’s volatility that led them to listen to New England’s trade offers seriously, and to almost pull the trigger on what would have been a titanic personnel shift.
As salivating as it is to imagine what could have been with OBJ filling in as the Patriots’ X receiver instead of Josh Gordon (or no one) last year, it’s also worth mentioning that he just as likely may have been more trouble than he was worth. Bill Belichick preaches a no-nonsense ideology in the New England locker room where no one player is more important than the team; it’s easy to see that culture, dubbed “The Patriot Way” over the past two decades, being incompatible with Beckham based off his demonstrated behavior and personal belief systems.
Whatever your opinion of Beckham is as a member of a team, it’s hard to argue against the upside he brings with him onto the field, though. In other words – we won’t stop you from daydreaming about an alternate reality where Brady and OBJ teamed up to absolutely obliterate opposing defenses, Madden-style, all last year.