One positive development from the New England Patriots pursuit of OBJ

Odell Beckham Jr. #13 of the Cleveland Browns (Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images)
Odell Beckham Jr. #13 of the Cleveland Browns (Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images) /

The New England Patriots seemingly had a good shot at landing coveted free agent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. earlier this week. Yet yesterday afternoon, it was announced Beckham would be latching on with the Los Angeles Rams out west to try to help them in their pursuit of the top seed in the NFC. Beckham would have certainly helped out New England, so it was a bit tough to watch him join another contender.

By now, the Beckham rumors have been beaten into the ground. There were numerous teams in the running for the talented wideout’s services, and pretty much all of them were convinced he was going to be joining their team. He ultimately proved all those teams wrong, as the Rams emerged from out of nowhere to snatch him up. Beckham wanted to join a contender, and the Rams are arguably the top team in the league this season.

While the Patriots ultimately didn’t land their guy, some solace can be taken in the fact that they actually pursued Beckham, and were even rumored to be leading the pack for a point in time. Beckham made it known that he wanted to join a contender, and the fact that he even considered whatever New England offered showed that the rest of the league is beginning to take note of the Patriots recent turnaround.

But more importantly, the New England Patriots pursuit of Beckham showed that the team knows that they need more help at wide receiver, which can only mean good things for the future. Now this team has made it public that they are looking for help at receiver, and while they will probably have to wait until the offseason to address it now, it’s a good sign that the front office has recognized their weaknesses, and will do what they can to fix them.

The New England Patriots pursuit of Odell Beckham Jr. shows the front office gets it

Ever since the Patriots offseason spending spree, it seemed like the one group that could use some extra help was the wide receiver group. The Patriots were perilously thin at wide receiver in 2020, relying almost solely on Jakobi Meyers and Damiere Byrd for production, which is a duo that isn’t going to scare your local high school football team. They made some modest upgrades with Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne, but it still felt like another body was needed.

Through nine games, that has certainly run true. Meyers, Bourne, and Agholor are New England’s top three receivers on the season, but none of them are averaging more than 50 yards a game at this point. It’s safe to say rookie quarterback Mac Jones doesn’t necessarily have that true number one receiver he can always count on to get open, and it may just be handicapping his development.

You can make an argument that Jones doesn’t really need that number one guy because he seems so intent on spreading the ball around, which is partially true. Meyers easily has the most targets on the season with 72, but the closest behind him is Agholor with 42. The Patriots offensive gameplan may be the cause too, as the short passing game benefits Meyers a lot more than Agholor and others.

Either way, New England lacks a true number one wideout, and saw an opportunity to potentially add one when Beckham basically forced his way off the Cleveland Browns roster. Beckham probably isn’t the same player he was during his early seasons with the New York Giants, but the last season he was fully healthy resulted in a 1000+ yard output from Beckham. For what it’s worth, none of New England’s current receivers have ever had a 1000 yard season.

Beckham could have been the number one wideout who opened up the passing game for New England. Even if he’s not what he once was, teams have to monitor his big play threat, because he has the potential to breakout at any moment. The Patriots don’t currently have anyone on the roster who offers that same threat.

That’s what makes New England’s pursuit of Beckham so encouraging. They recognize that they don’t have a player at the position who can do what Beckham does, so they made a run for him. Even though they came up empty handed, it bodes well for the teams future.

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Now we know that they are actively looking for help at the position. Again, this probably doesn’t mean anything until the offseason, but aside from figuring out J.C. Jackson’s future with the team, finding Jones a top wide receiver is going to be at the top of the to-do list this offseason.

The New England Patriots may have come up short with Beckham, but that doesn’t mean the same will be true with the next star wide receiver who becomes available. Whoever that may end up being, you can count on the Patriots to be in the mix just like they were for Beckham this past week.