For years at the center of the Odell Beckham Jr. universe, Von Miller was the Baron.
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, people in Beckham’s inner circle generally had the same opinion: they may not have known exactly what Beckham was. think, but there was little doubt who did.
Listen to Von Miller.
The proposal was simple. While Miller wasn’t willing to breach the trust the two friends shared and say exactly what was going on, he would almost certainly drop a hint once in a while. Arguably, no other NFL player has been consistently closer to Beckham during his career. The two talk to each other regularly. They trained and rehabilitated together during the offseasons. Their families are close. And they finally fulfilled a long-held dream in the 2021 season, playing and winning a Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams, then putting icing on the cake by teaming up with Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald to actually help design the gargantuan world. championship rings that followed.
That’s why when Miller surprisingly left the Rams in the offseason during free agency, the people who knew the pair best couldn’t help but be skeptical that Beckham was a lock to return to Los. Angeles when his surgically repaired knee was rehabilitated for the second half. of the 2022 season. As much as the Rams wanted Odell back and remained confident he would bring him back this season, the people inside the circle with Beckham and Miller continued to open a seemingly unlikely door. After all, Miller has always been a trusted and sometimes persuasive friend in Beckham’s life and vice versa. So much so that there was even a moment in the summer of 2020 when Miller broached the idea of finding a way to join Beckham in Cleveland. Beckham strongly pushed back against 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, members of Beckham’s circle began to reiterate that age-old message: Listen to Von Miller.
There was no doubt that he was already recruiting Beckham, and he was doing so just as the wide was trying to force his way off the Cleveland roster. Within two weeks, the two 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.
This is all more history than secrecy, of course. The friendship and the influence that the two players have on each other have already been told. But it’s an important piece of the story in the coming days, as Beckham’s free agency is expected to heat up in November. And despite the torn ACL that occurred in February’s Super Bowl victory, it will be a packed house calling. Not just because of what Beckham showed during his brief mercenary stint with the Rams last season, but also because the middle tiers of the league are full of teams in need of an adrenaline rush. A lot good teams could use broad talent that had such a dramatic impact in the red zone last season.
The Rams could definitely use him. The same goes for the Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens and a handful of other offenses that would experience a rollercoaster ride in 2022 with their top-tier quarterbacks. And you can be sure Beckham is watching them all too. He already admitted it on Twitter Thursday, during an exchange with former NFL player Marcus Spears.
During the trade, Beckham asked Spears to scrap the Dallas Cowboys franchise that Spears played for and offer her top five destinations. Spears responded with (you might have guessed it) the Chiefs, Packers, Rams, Buffalo Bills and Ravens. Beckham replied, “we see eye to eye” with a pair of smiley emojis complimenting each other.
(You gotta love social media for free agency theater.)
While that was an important bit of advice from Beckham, there was perhaps another that was more telling. And that’s when Miller told reporters Wednesday that he liked the fit between Beckham and the Bills, and that he thought he already knew where Odell was probably headed.
“I talk to him probably every week,” Miller told reporters. “I check in with him, keep in touch with him. OBJ, he’s also a veteran in this league. He understands teams and how teams are built too. I’m sure when he looks at our team, he can see himself in his place in our team. He’s going on tour now. He’s going to [the] The Giants training facility, and the Saints, Tampa and all that, what you should. You should shop around, see the league, and get the love.
“He’s still on the Super Bowl tour. He’s done pretty much everything in this league. You want to go around and get the love. Me, personally, the way I like to think, I think when he it’s time to start chopping the block, I think when it’s time to get down [to] business, we already know where it’s going to be. In my eyes, I think I know where he’s going to be.
Miller isn’t sitting there with reporters talking about Beckham because he thinks he’s going to end up with the Rams or sign up with one of Buffalo’s top contenders. He says it because he thinks — or knows — Buffalo is the destination. He effectively says, “I want Odell to go out there and enjoy the courtship and the attention, but I also know he’s coming home at the end of the night. And the house is in Buffalo.
It’s the classic Von Miller moment. And that makes sense because the Bills aren’t a hard sell at this point. They have one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL in Josh Allen, who can improvise in massive breakthrough plays and he’s also an upgrade over Matthew Stafford. The Bills have a sick defense and a dominant wide No. 1, which ensures that Beckham does not commit to becoming the center point of the defenses. They have a coaching staff and a fan base that connects deeply with the players. They also have the opportunity to add a play at the trade deadline and cement an already top shot to win the Super Bowl.
Oh, and let’s not forget, they also have arguably Beckham’s closest friend in the NFL, Von Miller, running recruiting.
This union might not be an absolute lock in early October — after all, there’s plenty of time left on the calendar and a lot can go wrong next month — but it’s about as close as it gets. Respect what history tells you about this situation and pay attention to the barometer. Recruiting Odell Beckham Jr. is bound to be fun. But it could also be over before it starts.
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