Patriots

Patriots reportedly had talks with Odell Beckham Jr. prior to DeVante Parker trade

Beckham nearly signed with the Patriots when he was a free agent in November.

Odell Beckham Jr. was on the Patriots' radar before they traded for DeVante Parker.

The Patriots made their biggest splash of the offseason on Saturday, reportedly trading for Dolphins receiver DeVante Parker.

But Parker wasn’t the only notable receiver the Patriots had their eye on this offseason. New England “exhausted” its options at receiver and even had exploratory talks with free agent Odell Beckham Jr. and other available receivers prior to Saturday’s trade, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported.

The Patriots’ reported interest in Beckham shouldn’t be much of a surprise. When the Browns released the star receiver in November, the Patriots tried to lure him to come to New England. Beckham even shared he was “very” close to signing with the Patriots.

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“I was (thinking), ‘You know, if this was three years ago, it would’ve been ideal, because Tom (Brady) is one of my favorites,'” Beckham said of possibly going to New England. “I know I posted a video a long time (ago) of just the passion and the fire that Tom has, and there’s a bunch of clips cutting to me doing similar things. And mine gets misconstrued for something else, and his is something else, and it’s just like, actually I love football that much that I’ll punch a water cooler. Like, I care that much for this game.

” … And for a guy, a coach like Bill Belichick, who I’ve admired for years and I’ve seen, and, just, always was like, ‘Man, someday I’m gonna play for Bill Belichick.’ … For him to call me; to be able to just sit down on the phone and talk football — I mean, it’s like, what more could you ask for? So, I was very close (to joining Patriots). That’s one of the teams that was in there.

Beckham ended up going to Los Angeles and wound up winning a Super Bowl with the Rams.

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But Beckham suffered a torn ACL in the Rams’ Super Bowl LVI win, complicating his value in free agency after a resurgence in Los Angeles. On Friday’s “NFL Live,” Fowler said that Beckham and the Patriots were “in no real rush” to get a contract done.

It’s unclear if the Patriots would still have interest in Beckham after trading for Parker. New England has nine receivers on its roster following Saturday’s trade and has other pressing needs to fill, but none of the receivers currently on the roster have the star pedigree Beckham has – so signing him could still make sense. He’s also reportedly not expected to return to the field until November, which could make him an insurance signing for the 2022 season.

The Patriots could also add a receiver in the draft. They hold the No. 21 overall pick, which is in the range of where Alabama’s Jameson Williams, Ohio State’s Chris Olave, Arkansas’s Treylon Burks, and Penn State’s Jahan Dotson are all projected to be picked.

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