Keidel: Pros And Cons Of Jets Trading For Odell Beckham Jr.

Wide Receiver Reportedly Welcomes New York Return

Jason Keidel
February 21, 2020 - 1:23 pm

There are two ways to look at the NFL. You can view it from a frothing fan's eyes, live and die with each week, win, and loss. Or you can view it as a business, and as the top-ranked TV show on four networks. 

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Likewise, there are two ways to view the idea of Odell Beckham Jr. returning to the Big Apple, and play for the Jets. You can consider his value as a football player and his ability to help Gang Green win games. Or you can measure his celebrity footprint, and his inherent value as a superstar on a weekly TV show.

In that vein, his name beams from the marquee. He would instantly be the Jets best offensive player, and easily the team's most famous person. He would bring Page Six sizzle while giving Sam Darnold a deep threat he doesn't really have now. And there's no doubting the impact Beckham would have on merchandising, his jersey flooding the Meadowlands swamp. 

Jets fans that want no part of Beckham will say we've seen this before. He landed like a Big Blue asteroid his rookie year, scorching defenders and making breathtaking catches that turned into viral replays, his acrobatics celebrated from East Rutherford to West Hollywood. For his entire athletic splendor, however, Beckham was an increasing headache for the Giants, who courted a kicking net, randomly cried on the sideline, fled the team to get fluids before halftime, and started a cage fight with Josh Norman.

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) reacts as he leaves the field following the game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

For those of us who watch the Jets but don't love the Jets, having Beckham back at MetLife would be a blast. He makes for great copy, occasional comedy, and endless drama. He's in his prime years and still a major threat to opposing defenses. If we put a sunny spin on things we could say Beckham never had a chance to flourish in Cleveland, where they've had a conga line of coaches, mutiny in management, and a quarterback (Baker Mayfield) who got too famous too fast, and was in more insurance commercials than in winning football games.

Or perhaps this is just how it goes with the electric, eccentric wideout. He was happy to be a Giant just long enough to bag a $95 million deal. Then he does bizarre interviews with Lil Wayne at his side, and a growing itch to play somewhere else. Then he lands in Cleveland, his dream gig, with a young QB and his BFF Jarvis Landry just a few feet down the line of scrimmage. But as his production shrunk and the losses mounted, Beckham became opaque over his devotion to the Browns.    

And now there are reports that Beckham would be good with a MetLife redux, taking a turn with the other team in the building. But what would the Jets have to give up to get Beckham? And which one would the Jets be getting? Is he the bold-ink baller who scored 13 touchdowns in 2015? Or is he the brooding diva who scored 13 TDs over the last three years combined? At 27, he's coming off his worst full season as a pro, with 74 receptions and four touchdown catches, while averaging 64.7 yards per game. Would a new team revive his game or just recycle his issues?

Odell Beckham Jr.
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The Jets are just now getting their footing, and don't have the historical stability to absorb an outsized ego like Beckham's. Coming off a 7-9 season, with Sam Darnold ready to take over the team, they are still too delicate to take on a corporeal hand grenade like No. 13, no matter how gifted he is. 

And if you think there's a real chance he's changed his mercurial ways, consider his performance at the Superdome, when LSU toppled Clemson for the national championship.

Instead of mixing into the crowd as just another gleeful alumnus, a maniacal Beckham stuffed stacks of $100 bills into the pads of LSU players. He paraded around the stands, ripping instruments from band members, grabbing megaphones and barking at the crowd. His Magnum Opus came in the LSU locker room, when he slapped a Superdome cop on the backside. 

If the Jets are candid, they know they're more than a wide receiver away from winning the AFC East. Most good NFL teams build from the inside out, not from the outside in, and definitely not with an outsider who has already blown up one NFL team from the Meadowlands. 

Follow Jason on Twitter: @JasonKeidel