For years, Von Miller was the centerpiece of the Odell Beckham Jr. universe.
If you wanted to know where Beckham’s head was when things fell apart with the New York Giants or never really reunited with the Cleveland Browns, the people in Beckham’s closest circle were mostly of the same opinion: They may not know exactly what Beckham is. was thinking, but there was little doubt who was doing it.
Listen to Von Miller.
The suggestion was simple. Even if Miller wasn’t willing to break the trust of the two friends and tell them exactly what was going on, he would almost certainly give a hint from time to time. No doubt no other NFL player has consistently been closer to Beckham over the course of his career. The two talk regularly. They have exercised and rehabilitated together during the off-season. Their families are close. And they finally achieved a long-held dream in the 2021 season, playing and winning a Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams, then putting the icing on the cake by teaming up with Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald to actually do it. help design the giant world championship rings that followed.
That’s why, when Miller surprisingly left the Rams off-season while free agency, those who knew the pair best couldn’t help but be skeptical that Beckham was a linchpin to return to Los Angeles back then. his surgically repaired knee was rehabilitated for the second half of the 2022 season. As much as the Rams wanted Odell back and were confident he would lead it this season, the people in the circle with Beckham and Miller remained a seemingly unlikely door break open. After all, Miller has always been a trusted and sometimes convincing friend in Beckham’s life and vice versa. So much so, that there was even a point in the summer of 2020 when Miller suggested the idea of coming up with a way to join Beckham in Cleveland. Beckham pushed back hard on that, perhaps anticipating the implosion that ultimately resulted in his release from the franchise last season.
But as soon as Miller was traded to the Rams in early November, those within Beckham’s circle began to repeat that age-old message: Listen to Von Miller.
Buffalo’s Von Miller could be a great recruiter for the Bills in a potential takeover of free agent WR Odell Beckham Jr. (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)
There was little doubt that he was already recruiting Beckham, and he did it just as the wideout tried to force his way out of Cleveland’s roster. Within two weeks, they both had exactly what they wanted. The Browns relented and agreed to release Beckham, and Miller and Ramsey immediately rolled out the red carpet between California and Ohio.
All this, of course, is more a matter of history than secret. The friendship and influence that the two players have on each other has been described before. But it’s an important piece of history in the coming days, as Beckham’s free agency is expected to warm up in November. And despite the torn ACL that happened in February’s Super Bowl win, it’s going to be a busy venue calling out. Not only because of what Beckham showed during his short loan spell with the Rams last season, but also because the league’s mid-tier is bursting with teams that need an adrenaline rush. Many good teams could use a talented wideout who had such a dramatic impact in the red zone last season.
The Rams can certainly use him. So are the Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens, and a handful of other offenses taking on a 2022 roller coaster ride with their best quarterbacks. And you can bet that Beckham is keeping an eye on them all too. He admitted this on Twitter on Thursday, during an exchange with former NFL player Marcus Spears.
In the exchange, Beckham asked Spears to remove the Dallas Cowboys franchise that Spears played for and offer his top five destinations. Spears replied with (you could have guessed it), the Chiefs, Packers, Rams, Buffalo Bills and Ravens. Beckham replied “we see eye to eye” with a pair of laughing emojis high-fiveting each other.
(You have to love social media for the free agency theater.)
While this was an important little tip from Beckham, there may have been another that was more telling. And that was when Miller told reporters on Wednesday that he likes the Beckham-Bills match, and already believes he knows where Odell is probably headed.
“I probably talk to him every week,” Miller told reporters. “I’m contacting him, keeping in touch with him. OBJ, he’s also a vet in this league. He understands teams and also the way teams are built. I’m sure when he looks at our team, he puts himself in can see our team fit. He’s going on tour now. He’s going [the] The Giants training facility, and the Saints, Tampa and all that stuff, what you should do. You should go around, see the competition and get the love.
“He’s still on the Super Bowl tour. He’s done just about everything in this league. You want to go around and get the love. I personally, as I like to think, I think when it’s time to chop the block, I think when it’s time to go down [to] business, we already know where he will be. In my eyes I think I know where he will be.”
Odell Beckham Jr. shares a moment with Tom Brady on September 18 in New Orleans. Could his Super Bowl tour include a visit to Tampa? (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)
Miller isn’t sitting there talking to reporters about Beckham because he thinks he’ll end up with the Rams again or enlist with one of Buffalo’s top competitors. He says it because he thinks – or knows – that Buffalo is the destination. He basically says, “I want Odell to go out and enjoy the courtship and attention, but I also know he’ll come home at the end of the night. And home is in Buffalo.”
That’s the classic von Miller bellwether moment. And it makes sense because the bills are not a tough sell at this stage. They have one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL in Josh Allen who can improvise in huge game-breaking plays and he also represents an upgrade over Matthew Stafford. The Bills have a poor defense and a dominant No. 1 wideout, guaranteeing Beckham won’t sign up to become the focal point of the defense. They have a coaching staff and a fan base who have a deep connection with the players. They also have the option to add a piece on the trade deadline and take an already top-notch shot to win the Super Bowl.
Oh, and let’s not forget, they also arguably have Beckham’s best friend in the NFL, Von Miller, leading the recruiting.
This union may not be an absolute lock at the beginning of October – after all, there’s still a lot of time ahead and a lot could go wrong in the next month – but it’s about as close as you can get. Respect what history tells you about this situation and watch the clock. The recruitment of Odell Beckham Jr. will no doubt be fun. But it can also be over before it starts.