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ESPN grades Ravens’ signing of Odell Beckham Jr.

Do you agree with the grade?

NFL: Super Bowl LVI-Los Angeles Rams at Cincinnati Bengals Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens made their first splash of the offseason with their signing of veteran wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr to a one-year deal worth up to $18 million. The Ravens desperately needed help at the receiver position and are clearly confident that the 30-year-old Beckham can provide a substantial boost to their offense despite missing all of last season and coming off of a torn ACL.

ESPN’s Seth Walder gave Baltimore a ‘B’ grade for the acquisition.

“With Lamar Jackson or without Lamar Jackson, the Ravens needed a wide receiver this offseason,” Walder wrote. “Prior to signing Beckham, the group was led by Nelson Agholor and the promising but entirely unproven Rashod Bateman, a first-round pick in 2021. Even if Jackson comes back and plays on the franchise tag in 2023, Baltimore has to improve its passing efficiency and can’t rely only on Mark Andrews as a receiving threat.”

By signing with the Ravens, Beckham will reunite with offensive coordinator Todd Monken, who served as his offensive coordinator in 2019 with the Cleveland Browns.

“From 2018 through 2021, Beckham’s yards per route run dropped from 2.3 to 1.9 to 1.9 to 1.6, including the playoffs,” Walder wrote. “Even in 2021, he was clearly not the player he was with the Giants, though there was one positive sign: an 86 Open Score in his Receiver Tracking Metrics. Again, that was before his latest injury.”

It is true that the once superstar receiver’s career has been on a decline since leaving New York. The last time Beckham topped 1,000 receiving yards for a season was in 2019 and he has dealt with multiple injuries since then. Still, Beckham was a pivotal component to the Los Angeles RamsSuper Bowl run in 2021 and appeared poised for an impressive outing in Super Bowl LVI before going down with a torn ACL early in the contest.

“I’m somewhat torn on the grade here,” Walder wrote. “This is more money than I thought OBJ would get once it became clear the receiver market was cheap. Paying $15 million guaranteed seems questionable when Jakobi Meyers was available for comparable guarantees and more years. On the other hand, the Ravens are, at least with Jackson, perennial Super Bowl hopefuls. It’s hard to be that without better wide receivers — and there weren’t many options out there. Plus, could this help persuade Jackson to remain with the Ravens long-term? I sort of doubted it, but then Jackson’s Instagram reaction made me think ... it can’t hurt?”