Further Unpacking Odell Beckham Jr. Conversation With Bill Belichick

It provided us with insight into how each sees the Patriots' situation

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Los Angeles Rams receiver Odell Beckham acknowledged Monday during Super Bowl LVI Opening Night festivities that he was very close to signing with the New England Patriots midway through the season, after being released by the Cleveland Browns.

Beckham, obviously, chose the bright lights in Los Angeles instead of head coach Bill Belichick and the dark winters in New England. It’s clearly paid off as Beckham and the Rams now are one win away from Super Bowl LVI, and will have the chance to claim it Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.

We’ve shared why Beckham chose the Rams over the Packers, Chiefs and Patriots. We’ve also expressed how Beckham’s conversation with Belichick, which the wideout provided insight into, makes it easier to envision a Patriots pursuit this offseason, as he’ll be a free agent.

There are a few thoughts that remain given Beckham’s transparency into the conversation with Belichick. And it provided us with a bit of insight into how each thinks about the Patriots’ situation.

From the Belichick standpoint, the conversation with Beckham seems to prove the Patriots coach knows the team needs more from its receivers. Belichick speaking with Beckham, while some will think it was just doing due diligence, serves as an indication that he knows the roster that led to a first-round exit needs more from the pass-catching group.

That should be viewed as a good thing for Patriots fans. Sure, New England spent on Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne along with tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith, but they were still lacking a big-play threat. They have chain-movers in Jakobi Meyers, too, but continue to lack a wideout that dictates what the defense does. Agholor’s speed and Bourne’s ability, while complementary, are not suited to be that of a No. 1 wide receiver.

Additionally, a snippet from Beckham’s comments Monday further confirm, if it wasn’t confirmed already, that the recruiting role Tom Brady played during his two decades in New England is in the past. Beckham flat out indicated how it would have been a different decision if Brady still was in New England.

Rookie quarterback Mac Jones may get there one day — his sense of humor depicted at the Pro Bowl on Sunday could help — but he’s not there yet from a recruiting perspective. Receivers who are free agents or looking for a trade away from their current situation, who are in win-now mode, are always looking at the quarterback position. They’re looking for the best player they could catch touchdowns from. The Patriots currently don’t have the advantage other AFC teams like the Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, perhaps even the Baltimore Ravens have.

That’s not a slight on Jones, but it is the reality that Beckham indicated.

NESN’s big game coverage is presented by Berkshire Bank.

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