Twelve Ravens Thoughts following Odell Beckham Jr. agreement

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With the Ravens agreeing in principle on a one-year, $15 million contract with three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. Frankly, I was shocked to see Baltimore make an “un-Raven” kind of move at a price that would be mocked anywhere else. Shocked. There’s little doubting this was an overpay with some hints of desperation, but the Ravens altering their general approach at wide receiver isn’t a bad thing. 

2. If you weren’t already anticipating Lamar Jackson remaining a Raven for 2023, it’s difficult to look at his prompt social media response to Beckham’s addition and not believe he’s very likely to stay put for now. At the very least, his trade request sure isn’t looking like a contentious demand. 

3. While I don’t believe Beckham’s arrival meaningfully impacts Jackson’s long-term status, you doubt he would have signed without significant expectations of playing with the 2019 NFL MVP. Then again, fully guaranteed money goes a long way in softening demands if we’re being honest. Just ask Deshaun Watson and Cleveland. 

4. There’s no denying this being one of the bigger boom-or-bust moves in franchise history after watching Eric DeCosta make many free-agent additions regarded as low risk and moderate reward. This could appease Jackson and work beautifully or be DeCosta’s worst signing since Earl Thomas, which was much tougher to predict. 

5. After criticizing the Ravens’ approach at wide receiver over the years, it’d be disingenuous if I didn’t applaud them for taking a major swing at a free-agent wide receiver to try to fix an obvious weakness. If it doesn’t work, I just hope they don’t turtle up there again. 

6. Between Beckham and Todd Monken’s hiring, I can’t help but feel this is much more how the Ravens should have proceeded last year instead of getting worse at wide receiver and retaining Greg Roman. How Jackson plays with these new variables should be quite educational to the long-term discussion. 

7. This contract includes voidable years to make it easier on the cap and isn’t attached to the compensatory pick formula. If Beckham flops, you’d have to wonder how that negatively impacts Jackson’s future anyway. Dead money becomes less consequential if you’re facing more of a roster reset next year. 

8. Beckham has played only 21 regular-season games over the last three years and wasn’t overly impressive in his last regular season, but let’s recognize how well he performed in those 2021 playoffs. He was playing his best football in at least a couple years when we last saw him. 

9. The position group certainly looks better on paper, but a risky one-year deal for an oft-injured veteran far removed from his best seasons isn’t enough justification to shy away from drafting a receiver in the earlier rounds. You’re planning for multiple seasons — not just the upcoming fall — with any draft.

10. That said, my best bet would be taking a cornerback with the 22nd overall pick or aiming to move back to acquire additional draft choices. It’s also interesting to note the differing opinions on this wide receiver class between media and NFL talent evaluators. 

11. The Beckham signing makes the addition of Nelson Agholor more appealing knowing he wasn’t the biggest veteran move. Expectations still need to be realistic given the questions surrounding both wide receivers, but having more options and upside for your passing game is always a plus. 

12. While Beckham looking like the dynamic No. 1 receiver he used to be would be a dream, the more realistic positive outcome is the veteran forming a good duo — 1 and 1A? — with Rashod Bateman, who finally takes the next step. Of course, you’re still depending on good health for both. 

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