Odell Beckham Jr. quietly played through most of the 2023 NFL season suiting up for 14 games with the Baltimore Ravens. It wasn’t the most productive campaign for Beckham but after missing the previous year entirely, it was good to see him stay primarily healthy throughout. With that said, it looks and feels like OBJ is entering the twilight of his career.
Considering the positive aspect of Beckham’s year in Baltimore, we’ve got to talk about the flipside and what was produced on the field. Beckham caught 35 balls as a Raven (64 targets) which is the lowest total of his career when playing in at least 12 games. He added 565 yards and three touchdowns which isn’t bad but it’s unlikely Baltimore will shell out another $16 million for that level of production.
OBJ signed a $15 million one-year contract last offseason with included incentives that bumped him up to $16 million total this past season. Beckham, 31, proved he can still play football but not at the level we once saw. Injuries robbed Beckham of what should’ve been some of his best years. Now it looks like he’s going to float around year to year, team to team for a while before he hangs up the cleats for good.
Beckham won’t be the first or last receiver to follow this same path. After fading out in Dallas, Terrell Owens had stops in Buffalo and Cincinnati in consecutive years before retiring. Owens probably could’ve played another year or two because he did catch 72 passes in 2010 with the Bengals. The league just happened to make the decision for him to retire.
Luckily for Beckham, he’s been a well-liked individual in NFL locker rooms for the most part. There was a little bit of animus toward the end in Cleveland with Baker Mayfield but like most people in this generation of sports it was handled in a passive-aggressive manner, so nobody’s feelings were hurt in person. So, Beckham will be on the field next year just not in Baltimore unless he’s willing to take a deal for less.
The days of OBJ being the focal point for a contender are in the rearview. He’s still more than good enough to get a roster spot on most of the 32 NFL teams. Where he falls on the depth chart from two to five will depend on the team. It’s simply a matter of him going over that hill we call “30″ and the fact that so many leg injuries have slowed him down. So, Beckham isn’t done but anyone waiting for him to get back to where he once was among NFL wideouts is waiting for a miracle at this stage.