Analysis: Where 49ers stand in sweepstakes for star receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
Despite the NFL trade deadline having passed, with the San Francisco 49ers being active players in it this season, there is one high-profile name that many teams around the league still have their eyes on: Odell Beckham Jr.
After winning the Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams last season, Beckham has not played in an NFL game this year since his contract with LA expired. He tore his ACL at some point during the last season and the injury reached its tipping point during the Super Bowl. But it seems there’s a possibility the 49ers could very well be his next stop.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch were each asked over the past week about that possibility. Their respective answers struck a balance between expressing how they’d obviously love to have the wideout on the team, but also explaining that the offense is not in any dire need of his help.
“We’re open to discussions with everybody. We look into everything,” Shanahan told KNBR Nov. 1. “You don’t have to worry about the trade deadline with him because he’s out there and he’s available. I’ve always been a fan of Odell, like I feel like most people are. He’s that good of a player.”
“Look, we never say no,” Lynch told NBC Sports Bay Area. “We’re always looking to get better. And it’s a rarity when you have a player of that ilk and some other names out there that still might be available. And we always will look.”
“We like our team as it’s constructed right now,” he added. He also quipped: “How many footballs are we going to play with?”
While the Niners offense is clearly well-established, offensive needs shouldn’t be a primary factor here (though every 49ers fan is likely salivating at the thought of a receiving corps featuring OBJ, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk). Instead, the Niners could be motivated to acquire Beckham because it would prevent their competitors from improving by signing him. The team has some indirect experience with this in regard to the Christian McCaffrey trade.
This brings us to an interview Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones gave to a local radio station Tuesday.
“Odell is someone that we have all the appreciation in the world for what he is as a competitor,” Jones said. “I know the Cowboys star on that helmet when he puts it on could look pretty good.”
This statement comes just a couple of days after Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer reported that teams that “can go win a ring right now” will be in a bidding war for OBJ. With nearly half of the season already gone, it’s clear who falls into that camp and who doesn’t. The Niners, through roster additions and some divine source of willpower, have made it into the former group, according to Glazer, along with the Buffalo Bills and the aforementioned Cowboys.
The roster has turned what looked to be a rather mediocre season into one where they’ll likely be playing postseason football. If the McCaffrey trade showed that the front office was serious in turning around the year in the short-term, then a Beckham signing would show that they’re going all-in on championship aspirations. This would not only push the Niners into arguably the most dangerous team in the league offensively, but it would keep other teams from making the same leap. (Notice how the defense is never mentioned as needing improvement in San Francisco.)
Beckham is reportedly aiming to return to the field mid-November. If the Niners want to put their gut-wrenching exit from last year’s playoffs behind them, this would be a way to do it.