Odell Beckham Jr. remains unsigned, and the clues point us toward the Dallas Cowboys as a possible destination.
We’re a week into November, and Odell Beckham Jr. is still unsigned. With the NFL trade deadline behind us, Beckham is now the most talented player available for teams to upgrade their roster.
The Dallas Cowboys only just recently became a team mentioned in connection with OBJ, but if we look a little further, we can see that the clues are there to build a narrative around OBJ joining Dallas. No, they haven’t been tied to OBJ in the narrative from the start like other teams — the Rams, Packers, Bills — have, but the Cowboys could use him just as much. At just over 200 receiving yards per game, they are one of the bottom-7 teams in the NFL in this statistic.
One hint dropped by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones prior to the deadline continues to parallel a Beckham addition: Deion Sanders. Though this is far from iron-clad proof that the Cowboys and Beckham are going to be pairing up for this season and beyond, it is interesting to draw the connections.
Jerry Jones dropped Deion Sanders hints before the trade deadline
Prior to the trade deadline, Jerry Jones hinted at his desire to make a Super Bowl swing if such an opportunity presented itself. He made reference to when the team added Deion Sanders in 1995 and the team subsequently won its third championship of the decade in the same conversation where he said this:
“If I have the chance to do something that can be interpreted as a real meat-on-the-bone going for it then I will do it,” he added. “I feel that good about our chances. I will do that. I will give up some future currency to go for it.”
Then, news came out after the deadline that the Cowboys do have Beckham on their radar.
And on Monday, Mike McCarthy dropped a hint. And the next morning, Jones all-but confirmed that it’s in play:
It’s not confirmed, and the Cowboys aren’t moving quietly, but these are super loud signals on the connection between the two.
Deion Sanders was a free agent acquisition, not a trade. Just like Odell Beckham Jr.
In retrospect, maybe we should have realized the Cowboys wouldn’t make a move at the trade deadline when Jones made a reference to Sanders. Sanders was not a trade acquisition, so bringing him up when discussing possible upgrades to the team is a bit curious.
Maybe Jones was making reference to a free agent upgrade all along, not necessarily a trade.
OBJ race looks a lot like the “Deion Sweepstakes”
The “Deion Sweepstakes” of the mid-90s had a little bit more luster than the OBJ race. But overall, the characteristics are similar: Multiple teams vying for a larger-than-life but freakishy-talented athlete.
At this point, any of these teams could be in the running for OBJ:
Weeks ago, it was rumored to be Bills and Chiefs. The Chiefs have added Kadarius Toney via trade, though, which limits their need at WR, and the Cowboys are getting more and more traction.
Deion Sanders was delayed making Cowboys debut due to an injury, as is Odell Beckham Jr.
Sanders, the year he was acquired by the Cowboys, signed his contract with the team and making them winners of the “Deion Sweepstakes” in Week 2. He didn’t make his debut until Week 9, though, since he was recovering from injury.
This parallels Beckham, who has been recovering from an ACL tear that he sustained during last year’s Super Bowl. It seems as if Beckham would be able to play relatively quickly once signed, but there would be a need to get up to speed. A major reason he has not yet signed is due to his injury recovery.
Yet another parallel between the Sanders signing and a hypothetical Beckham signing.
Deion Sanders was looking for a long-term deal to place some roots. Odell Beckham Jr. just recently revealed he desires that, too
In 1995, high-up on Sanders wish list was somewhere he could place some roots. According to a New York Times article from then:
“A couple of weeks ago, Sanders said that he was interested in a long-term deal, because his next football contract would be his last.”
Just recently, here’s what Beckham said about what he wants in his next deal:
“Whether it’s Buffalo, whether it was Green Bay calling, Cowboys, whether reunion with the Giants, like, I want to be able to spill like my last — you know, not saying I only got three or four left — these next three or four years into somewhere where I could buy a home, like I could call this place home.”
Admittedly, it’s not exactly the same. Beckham is clear that he doesn’t necessarily want this to be his last contract. But it does track with the idea that he wants a multiyear deal and some stability, just like Sanders did.
The Cowboys rumor dynamic is interesting and a lot different than other teams in the league. Jerry Jones knows how to pull the strings and politicize things to generate hype. Maybe we’re reading way too deep into this Deion Sanders-Beckham parallel. But maybe there’s more than meets the eye.
The last parallel Cowboys fans will want to see: A Super Bowl the season of the signing, just like when they won the first season with Sanders on the roster.