After much drama surrounding Odell Beckham’s decision he finally selected the Rams yesterday and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport has the details.
The #Rams gave WR Odell Beckham Jr a 1-year deal worth up to $4.25M, source said.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 12, 2021
— $500K signing bonus
— $750K for the rest of the season
— Another $3M available in team-based incentives for how they finish the regular season and the postseason.
Since we have discussed so much about Beckham’s decision to turn down money and leave the Browns I thought it would be good to look at the pros and cons of this contract for him and the Rams.
I’ll start with the Rams. When the news came out yesterday there was a rash of “all in” comments about the Rams. I’m not sure why that was the case. This differed greatly from the Von Miller move. No draft picks were given to the Browns to acquire Beckham. In fact this opens the door for the Rams to receive a draft pick down the line if Beckham plays well and signs as a free agent elsewhere, though the Rams typical approach would be to re-sign a player like Beckham if he plays well. Financially they really gave up nothing. When the Rams made the decision to release Desean Jackson they freed up just over $1 million in per game bonuses that were due to Jackson. The cap charge for Beckham’s contract is worth $1.25 million, so basically a wash. If he does earn those incentives the $3 million would impact the 2022 salary cap.
I was a little surprised that the Rams made the decision to sign him because it seems more like an insurance signing than anything else. I would guess the biggest benefit comes to the Rams if Cooper Kupp or Robert Woods were to go down as this gives them the depth to replace one of them. The secondary benefit is that he does not land on a team they may have to play in the playoffs such as the Packers or Saints, two of the teams that were rumored to be interested.
With the new contract Beckham will have an opportunity to earn back what he gave up in salary from the Browns. Though widely reported that Beckham gave up $3 million, the actual number is $3.805 million because Beckham also gave up a 17th game check by renegotiating his contract with the Browns. So he can get above that number if he were to earn all his incentives. That is probably one of the reasons why he took this contract over other offers. It is also notable that the base value of the contract is the same as Desean Jacksons recent deal with the Raiders but worth slightly more in cash due to the structure.
Rapoport mentioned that $500,000 is tied to winning the Super Bowl and that probably gives an idea of what the incentives in the contract are. My assumption would be that there are bonuses for making the playoffs, winning (or getting a bye in) the wildcard round, winning the divisional round, winning the conference championship, and finally the Super Bowl win. I dont know these for certain just that this would be my guess. Obviously each level would be harder and harder to reach so outside of making the playoffs I am not sure how likely one would consider these but at least there is a chance.
It was reported that there is no performance related to the incentives but I do find it hard to believe that the Rams did not include a playtime condition for each round. Most teams would have a 35% conditional playtime to earn each bonus. If they have that in there that does give them a level of control over the incentives depending on how much of a role he does or does not have in the offense. The Rams use three receivers very often (Kupp and Woods are both around 92% playtime while Van Jefferson is at 78%) but havent really used a 4th with Jackson having been around 20% playtime. So he will need to eat into some snaps, Jefferson’s being most likely, if there is a condition on playtime. If he does not fit in and there is no condition I would expect the team to release him before any incentives could be earned.
It is an interesting choice for Beckham. Rightly or wrongly there are opinions about Beckham’s negative impact on a team. The Rams are 7-2, are 5th in the NFL in scoring, have an MVP candidate in Matt Stafford and have a wide receiver in Kupp having a dominant season. If things go south he is going to get the blame even if he has nothing to do with it. Other teams may have been a safer bet for his future but if they do win, even if he doesnt have a big role, it will at least show that he can be a part of a winning team.
This is a better contract than I thought Beckham would have received. I am not sure many teams would have added an incentive package like this at this stage of the season as even Antonio Brown last year had an incentive package that maxed out at $1.5 million. At the least Beckham will earn $5.5 million between the Browns and the Rams and keep his termination pay benefit for the future if he only earns that $1.25 million from the Rams.
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.