For anyone who listened to Pete Carroll rave about the guy and his connection to Russell Wilson, it was hard not to be convinced.
“They have communicated and been together at a couple of different things that they connect at a very high level, he said,” the Seahawks coach said. “He’s just on a high level. So we are very fortunate to have him. I think he will make a very fast transition.
“I don’t think there is any ceiling we should put on their ability to get together. I’m really excited about that.”
Odell Beckham Jr.? Well, um, no.
That’s what Carroll said after signing free agent TE Greg Olsen in February 2020.
How did that work out after the Seahawks signed the one-time Seattle nemesis to a one-year contract worth $7 million?
Olsen played in 11 games, starting eight, and caught 24 passes on 37 attempts for 239 yards and one touchdown. As a blocking tight end, he was a good broadcaster, a position to which he has since retired.
So the club’s optimism was unwarranted, a view that will surprise no one who’s followed the Seahawks for more than a half-hour.
Wilson, in his informal role as player personnel director without portfolio, lobbied hard to get him. And Wilson, who is expected to start Sunday in Green Bay after a fast comeback from finger surgery, is reported to be lobbying hard for Beckham, a three-time All-Pro wide receiver when he was with the New York Giants.
Of course, there was a big difference between the two — Olsen was 35 in his final career year, and Beckham is 29. But NFL actuarial tables suggest that wide receivers tend to age like dog years, at least in terms of speed and quickness.
And an actuarial table is unneeded to establish that Beckham is nowhere close to where he was in his first five NFL years with the Giants in New York, where he was roasted almost as often as he was toasted. In 2021, his second year with Cleveland, Beckham has had six starts that included 17 catches in 34 targets for 232 yards and no touchdowns.
So much so that the Browns saw no further need for Beckham’s services. After re-working his contract, they put him on waivers, which he cleared at 1 p.m. Tuesday. He’s now a free agent. His exit was virtually assured when his father, Odell Sr., released last week an 11-minute video showing how Browns QB BakerMayfield was ignoring his son, even when open.
In terms of heartwarming father-son sports moments, it is unlikely to supplant Griffeys Senior and Junior taking to the same Mariners outfield.
Whether by Wilson’s urging or their own curiosity, the Seahawks have interest. They were listed by various media reports as among the likeliest destinations, although one report Tuesday said the Packers, who host the Seahawks Sunday in Green Bay, were the front-runners, owing to their 7-2 record and the anticipated presence of covid-positive, unvaccinated Aaron Rodgers, should he decide to replace his tin-foil hat with a football helmet.
After the first post-bye practice Monday, Carroll, without saying yes or no, did little to discourage speculation about Seattle’s interest.
“He’s a really good football player,” he said. “He’s as talented as you could be in the years past. You’re always looking for guys that can do special stuff. I’ve forever shared with you guys that we’re looking for uniqueness and people that are different than other people and give you different dimensions to their play.
“So that’s what we’re trying to figure out and investigate and see if it makes sense.”
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Tuesday afternoon that Beckham was unlikely to make an immediate decision among suitors. As a free agent without an inherited contract, he figures to be affordable for a nine-game season, and the Seahawks have the fourth-most dollars available under the salary cap ($13 million).
The Seahawks have needed a quality third receiver behind DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, and drafted for the spot, spending a second-round pick on Dee Eskridge. But only this week is Eskridge returning to practice following a week-1 concussion.
So the Seahawks have a need and the money, as well as Carroll in the job as the NFL’s Father Flanagan, taking into shelter the misunderstood and abandoned. In this case, in exchange for three things: Playing the decoy, the occasional fingertip catch, and talking Dad into holding off his film-making career until after the first of the year.
So the relatively minimal risk is probably worth the reward. Should Beckham join the Seahawks, however, the wise consumer should look at the ingredients on the box, not the enthusiasm in the advertising, where no mention is made of Greg Olsen.