The Baltimore Ravens had a wild offseason, and it’s not even over yet. Most of the drama centered around the Lamar Jackson contract situation, but that single issue caused a ripple effect throughout the organization. It forced the team to take some big swings, and if they miss, there could be problems in Baltimore. So, what was the riskiest move? The Odell Beckham Jr. Ravens free agent signing is the biggest risk the team took in the 2023 NFL offseason.

Why the Odell Beckham Jr. Ravens' free agent signing is the riskiest move of the 2023 NFL offseason

Let’s start the discussion of why the Odell Beckham Jr. Ravens free agent signing is the biggest risk the team took in the 2023 NFL offseason by saying that just because it is a risky move doesn’t make it a bad move by any means.

In fact, with what happened to the Ravens this NFL offseason, it was a risk well worth taking.

Beckham Jr. has been one of the best wide receivers in the league over the course of his eight-year NFL career. He has three Pro Bowl appearances, 531 catches, 7,367 yards, 56 touchdowns, and a Super Bowl ring.

An NFL team can win it all with Beckham Jr. catching passes, as the Los Angeles Rams proved at the end of the 2021 season.

Plus, Beckham Jr. will automatically become the best wide receiver Lamar Jackson has ever played with. And with all due respect to John Brown, Willie Snead, Michael Crabtree, Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, Rashod Bateman, and Devin Duvernay, it’s not all that close.

Plus, signing a big name this offseason, like Odell Beckham Jr. was a necessary olive branch the team needed to extend to Jackson. In addition to the money he wanted, there had to be a feeling from the QB that the franchise hasn’t supported him as much as they could have, especially when it came to wide receivers.

So, on the one hand, taking a calculated risk on Beckham Jr. was something that the Ravens almost had to do in order to get their franchise QB back in the fold. But it is still a risk, and here’s why.

The money itself isn’t bad long-term. The Odell Beckham Jr. Ravens contract is for one year and $15 million. That doesn’t hurt Baltimore from a cap perspective (for now). It does do two things, though.

One is it is a lot of money for an important offensive weapon if said player doesn’t play. Beckham Jr. blew out his knee in the 2021 Super Bowl and missed the entire 2022 NFL season. The talented wideout will turn 33 on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023, the same Sunday the Ravens play their Week 9 game vs. the Seattle Seahawks.

At that age, with the injury he suffered, there is a chance that Beckham Jr. will never come back and be the explosive playmaker he once was. And if the WR is a shell of himself, paying $15 million for that next season could hurt the team’s overall chances.

On the flip side, if he plays well, $15 million is a high starting point for negotiations next NFL offseason. If the Ravens want to keep Beckham Jr. coming off a hypothetical 100-catch, 1,000-plus-yard season, they’re probably looking at one of the highest-paid WRs in the league.

Beckham Jr. is a little risky from a money perspective, but overall it is a high but reasonable deal if he comes back at even 80% of what he once was.

The biggest risk involved in the Odell Beckham Jr. Ravens free agent signing this NFL offseason isn’t on the team’s balance sheet, though. It’s in the locker room and on the sidelines.

Right now, it’s a love-fest between OBJ and Lamar Jackson. The two are the best of buddies looking to do damage in the AFC North this season. But what happens when Jackson bounces or sails a few passes? What happens when he takes off out of the pocket with Beckham Jr. open, or worse yet, goes to tight end Mark Andrews 10 times in a game to Beckham’s three targets?

We’ve seen this show before.

Back in 2018, during his final season with the New York Giants, the team had to fine Beckham Jr. for his comments to the media about his team, saying they don’t play with the same “heart and energy” that he does (h/t Bleacher Report).

He saved his harshest comments (and slyest digs) for Eli Manning, saying, “He's not going to get out of the pocket. We know Eli's not going to run it. Can he still throw it? Yeah. It's cool catching it shallow and trying to take it, but I want to go over the top of somebody.”

And that paled in comparison to the savage 11-minute Instagram video OBJ’s father posted of Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield missing his son being open.

Right now, this doesn’t seem like it could ever happen between Beckham Jr. and Jackson, but it can, and that’s what makes this situation so risky.