Beckham’s historic early-career production provides hope for what might be possible if he returns to health and recaptures his early form. It does not create a realistic expectation. Beyond Beckham’s more recent production, which is more helpful, the salary Baltimore is paying him should speak loudest.
The $15 million average per year (APY) for Beckham ties him with Denver’s Courtland Sutton for 22nd in the NFL at the position.
In setting expectations for Beckham, I charted production for receivers ranked 20th through 24th in APY over each of the past 10 seasons.
These 47 receivers played in 15 games with 14 starts on average. They averaged 58 receptions for 714 yards and five touchdowns, which works out to 53.0 yards per game. They were slightly above-average yardage producers for starting wideouts.
The risk for Baltimore is that Beckham played only 20 games over the 2020 and 2021 seasons before missing 2022 entirely. Not since 2019 has Beckham in a single season met the 58-714-5 production benchmark for receivers ranked 20th through 24th in salary over the previous decade.
The Ravens could be looking for an offseason morale boost as they navigate a tricky stalemate with quarterback Lamar Jackson. Perhaps Beckham’s arrival will make it easier for Jackson to report to the team without a long-term contract extension, and in time for Jackson to learn the team’s new offense.
If that is the case, Beckham won’t need to hit those relatively modest average production benchmarks to provide value to the Ravens.
Frankly, I was shocked to see Baltimore make an “un-Raven” kind of move at a price that would be mocked anywhere else. Shocked. There’s little doubting this was an overpay with some hints of desperation, but the Ravens altering their general approach at wide receiver isn’t a bad thing.
If you weren’t already anticipating Lamar Jackson remaining a Raven for 2023, it’s difficult to look at his prompt social media response to Beckham’s addition and not believe he’s very likely to stay put for now. At the very least, his trade request sure isn’t looking like a contentious demand.
There’s no denying this being one of the bigger boom-or-bust moves in franchise history after watching Eric DeCosta make many free-agent additions regarded as low risk and moderate reward. This could appease Jackson and work beautifully or be DeCosta’s worst signing since Earl Thomas, which was much tougher to predict.
After criticizing the Ravens’ approach at wide receiver over the years, it’d be disingenuous if I didn’t applaud them for taking a major swing at a free-agent wide receiver to try to fix an obvious weakness. If it doesn’t work, I just hope they don’t turtle up there again.
Five Things to Know About Odell Beckham Jr. - Clifton Brown
Working the red zone will be a key for Beckham.
Beckham’s career was revived after he was traded from Cleveland to the Rams during the 2021 season. In Los Angeles, Head Coach Sean McVay unlocked the key to using Beckham’s talents in the red zone.
In eight regular-season games with the Rams, Beckham caught five touchdown passes, then had two touchdown catches in four playoff games while helping Los Angeles win a Super Bowl.
In Los Angeles, Beckham proved he could still make big plays and dominate in the red zone.
What makes [Rashee] Rice’s hold on the top spot for most yards after the catch all the more impressive is that he’s 61 yards ahead of [Quentin] Johnston despite playing two fewer games, as Johnston’s TCU team made the College Football Playoff.
Oklahoma’s Marvin Mims averaged 8.1 yards after the catch per reception and recorded the deepest average depth of target (17.0) among the receivers on this list, which contributes mightily to his 20.0 yards per reception — tops in this draft class among players on the big board.
Early: Georgia’s Kelee Ringo
After his pick-six to clinch the 2021 national championship, Ringo was expected to be a top-10 pick when he entered the draft. However, a somewhat disappointing redshirt sophomore season, in which he allowed 13 catches of 15-plus yards, according to Pro Football Focus, caused him to slip down the media consensus draft board.
His fall could be the Ravens’ gain. The 6-foot-2, 207-pound Ringo is one of the fastest players in the entire draft, running the 40-yard dash in a blistering 4.36 seconds. According to PFF, he had an approximate speed of 23.5 mph during one of his predraft workouts, faster than any ball carrier in the NFL this past season. His explosion and agility metrics are not nearly as outstanding, but in terms of straight-line speed, Ringo is unmatched.
Where he struggles, analysts say, is anticipating routes and keeping up with shiftier receivers. He also committed nine penalties in 2022, according to PFF, and had trouble tracking the ball in the air. He simply hasn’t shown an ability to blanket receivers; PFF notes that Ringo got a hand on fewer than 10% of the passes thrown his way.
Where he might appeal to the Ravens is obvious. Besides the rare combination of size and speed, Ringo is only 20 years old, has two years of experience at the top level of college football and is excellent at fighting through blocks and defending the run. That physicality would be a welcome addition to any defense, particularly in Baltimore.
If the Ravens trust their coaching staff to fix Ringo’s deficiencies, he has the traits to grow into a standout player.
Who could be available in the first?
Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech
Lukas Van Ness, Iowa
Nolan Smith, Georgia
Myles Murphy, Clemson
I could see all four players going in the top 15 picks. I also envision a scenario in which any of the four are still available. Smith is skyrocketing up draft boards with impressive workouts at the combine and his pro day. Wilson and Murphy are freakishly athletic and can make an impact immediately. Van Ness is a bit raw, which we heard about Oweh as well.
Who are their third- and fourth-round options?
Tyrique Stevenson, Miami
DJ Turner, Michigan
Darius Rush, South Carolina
Jakorian Bennett, Maryland
Jaylon Jones, Texas A&M