The Denver Broncos are invited to sign free agent WR Odell Beckham Jr.
Following the ACL’s season-ending injury to starting wide receiver Tim Patrick, all eyes are on Denver Broncos headquarters to see if the team could look off the roster for possible substitutes.
If Denver were to look off the list, the first name that comes to mind, for many, is Odell Beckham Jr. A vast swath of Country Broncos beats the table for Denver to reach out to Beckham and fire the tires.
There’s just one problem with the OBJ-to-Denver thesis: he’s not healthy. Beckham suffered a torn ACL himself as a member of the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI. It was in February.
While a desperate team like the Indianapolis Colts might be inclined to roll the dice on a still-recovering Beckham, the Broncos are in no such position, even in the wake of Patrick’s injury. The Broncos are still blessed with a very deep and talented large receiving corps.
With former top draft picks like Courtland Sutton (2019 Pro Bowler), Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler on the field, the Broncos are pretty well positioned to weather the loss of Patrick. You hate to see such a calamity befall a reliable player like Patrick, and a team leader to boot, but the Broncos are doing fine.
This team doesn’t need Beckham, despite his three Pro Bowl nominations and two All-Pro selections. Not only are the Broncos three deep at the top of the depth chart, but there are a handful of worthy depth players who could flourish and fill the void created by Patrick’s absence.
Then there is Russell Wilson.
Wilson produced nine Pro Bowl nods himself during his decade-long stint in Seattle, mostly pitching to a collection of former undrafted guys and midfielders. It wasn’t until Seattle drafted DK Metcalf that Wilson received a first-round investment at his former team’s wide receiver.
Much like Peyton Manning did in Indy and Denver, Wilson is the caliber of quarterback that lifts everyone around him. Whether it’s an (undrafted) Doug Baldwin earning a few Pro Bowl selections and a big second contract, or (undrafted) Jermaine Kearse becoming a household name among fantasy football owners, and even a former third-rounder as Tyler Lockett winning first-Team All-Pro honors, Wilson is adept at taking NFL relative lemons and turning them into lemonade.
Wilson deserves a commission check from Golden Tate for the five-year, $31 million contract he received in the Detroit Lions free agent market after making a splash on the Super Bowl XLVIII-winning team from Seattle. Wilson doesn’t have to start with All-Pros in every position – he can craft them if he has the raw materials.
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And the Broncos have most certainly given Wilson those materials, even in Patrick’s absence this season. Keep an eye out for young players on the Broncos’ roster who are dying to move up the depth chart and catch Wilson’s passes, like Tyrie Cleveland, Seth Williams, Brandon Johnson, Montrell Washington and Kendall Hinton.
If a franchise quarterback is the tide that lifts all ships, let Wilson lift the boats around him. And what wonderful ships three of them are already.
Going into the 2022 season with a starting trio of Sutton/Jeudy/Hamler, Wilson will enter a regular-season campaign with easily the most talented receiving corps he’s ever had. And that’s without Patrick.
Anyone behind those three who steps in by then will be the icing on the cake. Apparently, the Colts’ talks with Beckham are “heating up.”
Let another team waste money on what is likely to be a seasonal lemon from Beckham. He’s coming out of that ACL, and there’s no guarantee he’ll even be able to play football in 2022, let alone at a high enough level to replace a capable starter like Patrick.
Remember, Sutton tore an ACL in Week 2 of the 2020 campaign, and although he returned for training camp 2021, he wore a knee brace all season and never quite looked like the pre-injury version of himself. He looks a lot more comfortable now catching passes from Wilson, but we’re approaching the two-year mark since his injury.
Anyone who thinks Beckham will recover from his ACL tear in time to make an impact on an NFL team in 2022 is sadly mistaken. Even if it sucks for Patrick, the Broncos will be fine.
Follow Chad on Twitter @ChadNJensen.
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