Lun. May 27th, 2024

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MIAMI — Is there another wide receiver room in the NFL with more star power than the Miami Dolphins’?

A source told ESPN on Friday that the team has agreed to a one-year deal with wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., adding him to a position group that already features five-time All-Pro Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, who has posted three straight 1,000-yard seasons to start his NFL career. The source said the deal is worth $3 million with incentives that can push its max value to $8.25 million.

Beckham’s deal with Miami is hugely different from the one-year, $15 million contract he signed to join the Baltimore Ravens last season, but the three-time Pro Bowler represents a far better fit on an offense that will throw the ball often.

What exactly does this move mean for Beckham and the Dolphins?


Why did the Dolphins sign him?

Hill and Waddle have been the most productive wide receiver tandem in the NFL since joining forces in 2022, but no wide receiver behind them has eclipsed 32 catches in either of the past two seasons. Miami’s reliance on its star duo became apparent late last season, when both Hill and Waddle battled through injuries.

Beckham’s 4,122 yards remain the third most in league history in a player’s first three seasons of their career, but injuries have slowed down what was on track to be a historic NFL career. He missed the entire 2022 season after tearing his ACL in Super Bowl LVI, and has just 1,421 combined receiving yards since 2020.

He may not be the same caliber player that he was early in his career with the New York Giants, but he is talented enough to operate as a third option on a team loaded with playmakers. If he can stay healthy, there is opportunity for the taking as defenses focus their attention on Hill, Waddle, and running backs Raheem Mostert and De’Von Achane.


How does Beckham fit in Miami?

Because the Dolphins have so many options, the «No. 3 receiver» is more of a concept than an actual position.

Depending on the matchup, some weeks it could be tight end Jonnu Smith, or Mostert and Achane out of the backfield. If Beckham can beat out fellow wideouts Braxton Berrios, River Cracraft, Erik Ezukanma and rookies Malik Washington and Tahj Washington, he will be firmly in that «No. 3 receiver» rotation.

He also brings a certain sense of celebrity to the Dolphins’ locker room. However, so did Hill and Jalen Ramsey — none of whom have caused any locker room disruption thus far.


Does Beckham still have gas in the tank?

Do not take our word for it. Here is what Beckham had to say on the matter.

«If there is anything I felt about myself — regardless of anybody’s opinion or anything like that — is that I know that I can still play football, and I know that I still have [s—] in the tank,» he said after the Ravens’ 17-10 home playoff loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in late January.

He finished last season with 565 yards and three touchdowns on 35 catches, which is not necessarily eye-popping considering his price tag in 2023. But that’s still better production than what Miami’s receivers offered last season behind Waddle and Hill. No other Miami pass-catcher had more than 35 catches or more than 366 yards for the Dolphins last season (tight end Durham Smythe).

According to ESPN Stats & Information, Beckham’s 565 receiving yards were second most among any NFL player last season who had 35 or fewer receptions. His 27 first downs on 35 catches were the most of any player who had 35 or fewer receptions.

Beckham also had the eighth-most yards per catch of any receiver last season.


What is the risk?

You saw the dollar amount, right?

If Beckham fails to meet expectations, the Dolphins are out $3 million. If he does hit his incentives, Miami still only pays out $8.25 million, with the added bonus of the production he would have brought to the field.

Miami did just spend two draft picks on wide receivers last week, and adding Beckham to the mix likely will stall their playing time, if either of them make the 53-man roster. However, adding a veteran who has achieved both individual and team success in the NFL — he won a Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams following the 2021 season — is never a terrible thing when you are trying to develop young players at their position.

Dolphins GM Chris Grier deserves applause for this deal; it is about as low-risk, high-reward as it gets.

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