Now that he’s getting closer to 100% health, the pitches for free agent Odell Beckham Jr. have begun.
The Dallas Cowboys have put their name in the hat. Jerry Jones said the Cowboys logo would look good on the receiver, while Micah Parsons recently tweeted to Beckham, telling him to “talk to me.”
But one of Beckham’s former teammates may have a recruiting advantage.
“I don’t have to tweet at him” New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley told reporters Friday.
Beckham and Barkley only spent one year (2018) as teammates in New York. After Barkley’s rookie season, the Giants traded Beckham to the Cleveland Browns after he completed the first year of a five-year deal. Despite playing in just 12 games together, the pair have remained close friends.
Beckham became an overnight sensation with the Giants. After his one-handed catch against the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football, he quickly reached superstar status and became one of the top receivers in the NFL.
Injuries and poor quarterback play plagued him from 2017 to 2021 until he was released by the Browns. He looked like his vintage self en route to winning a Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams. Had he not torn his ACL in that game, he might have been the game’s MVP.
“Like I’ve said before, he’s a heck of a player. I’m more just not saying words, more focused on him just continuing to attack his rehab, get ready. He’s a special player, and he’s still got a lot left in the tank,” Barkley said. “I know how he is already with his mindset, going at this rehab. And when he’s able to come back, he’s gonna show his skill set.
“When he’s healthy, he’s one of the best players in the league. So why wouldn’t anybody want him on their team.”
Beckham stirred controversy with his antics in New York and was hated by some Giants fans just as much as he was beloved by others. But now that he’s matured and gotten some winning under his belt, Barkley thinks Beckham returning could have a happy ending.
“I feel like there’s not really a sales pitch. It’s New York. It’s the Giants,” Barkley said. “Obviously, he has familiar faces within this facility and the locker room, and, personally, I think it would be a great story to come back to a place that you were at before and continue to help build success.”
Barkley and the Giants have been a pleasant surprise in the NFL with their 6-2 record. This comes despite plenty of injuries to an already questionable receiving core. Kenny Golladay has been a huge disappointment when he’s been on the field. They also lost Sterling Shepard to a torn ACL. After injuries continued to hinder him, they traded second-year receiver Kadarius Toney to the Kansas City Chiefs.
The former second overall pick also struggled in recent years with myriad injuries. But, this season, Barkley has looked like his 2018 and 2019 self. He’s on pace for 1,655 rushing yards, which would shatter his career-high of 1,307 his rookie season. His 779 rushing yards so far are the second-most he’s had during any eight-game stretch in one season.
Considering Barkley’s play combined with the new coaching staff putting Daniel Jones in a place to succeed and a fine defense, it would be disappointment to fans if the Giants failed to reach the playoffs. It’s another reason why Beckham might look good in East Rutherford.
In 12 games with the Rams, including the playoffs, last season, Beckham had 48 catches for 593 yards and seven touchdowns. But it was in the playoffs where he truly showed his value.
In those four games, he had 21 receptions for 288 yards and two scores. In the NFC championship game, he had nine catches for 113 yards. And before he tore his ACL in the second quarter of the Super Bowl, he had two catches for 52 yards and the game’s first touchdown.
The Giants will host the 1-6-1 Houston Texans Sunday afternoon.