Yesterday was the best day I’ve had in a very long time and I had absolutely nothing to do with it.
For the first time in what feels like forever, the Baltimore Ravens — the sole determiner of my happiness — added offensive talent. Not just any talent, 30-year old, torn ACL, one-handed grab talent. That’s right, the team that everyone is talking about not having a quarterback just signed Odell Beckham Jr.
Now, if you aren’t a Ravens fan this seems idiotic and I totally get it. I mean the Ravens have had one of the most publicly humiliating offseasons since Plaxico Burress shot himself. We refused to pay the one person fully responsible for our success over the last four years and did it in the most embarrassing way possible. And now we just gave the most guaranteed money in a single season to a wide receiver coming off a possibly career-altering injury, And yes, we technically don’t have anyone that can throw him the ball. So at first glance, you’re right this seems like an outrageous signing. But as a fan, I’m fucking stoked.
Okay, before I get into why OBJ is such a good thing for the Ravens, I need to give you my input on the Lamar debacle. Both sides are wrong. Lamar is more wrong. Let me explain.
Lamar wants more guaranteed money than Deshaun Watson. That’s it, that’s all of his requirements. The Ravens don’t want to dole out $231 million dollars fully guaranteed to someone who hasn’t finished the last two seasons. Very understandable, no matter how dynamic the player is. So, they offered him $133 million dollars over 3 years fully guaranteed. That would be over $44 million dollars guaranteed per season versus Mr. Handsy’s $38 million per season. That’s more guaranteed money, but because Lamar is his own agent and scored a 13 on the Wonderlic (that’s real) he doesn’t understand that.
So, not happy with the offer or the fact his only viable target is a tight end who’s name sounds like an account, Lamar requested a trade. Not wanting to trade him, the Ravens used a non-exclusive franchise tag essentially making it so that the market would decide what Lamar is worth and if they don’t like it they get some draft picks in return. Should the Ravens have invested more into receivers for Lamar over the past few years? 100%. Should they have paid him all of the money he wanted fully guaranteed? Probably not, no one else will. Does Lamar deserve whatever he wants? Kind of, yeah. Is that contradictory? You betcha.
Okay, so after all of that, you probably stopped reading. If you didn’t, here is how Odell fits into all of this. Lamar wants weapons and money. He just got both. “But they just spent all their money on OBJ, now they can’t afford him.” Wrong. Eric DeCosta brilliantly structured the contract to be $14 million in signing bonus with a base salary of only $1 million dollars, meaning our cap is barely affected. The reason he would do this is because he is still expecting to give Lamar the bag. The hope is that this move, coupled with the fact no other team seems interested in signing him for so much guaranteed money, incentivizes Lamar to take slightly less money.
What happens next? My prediction is that Lamar and the Ravens come to some sort of compromise that sits at around $200 million fully guaranteed over five years. That would be more guaranteed money than Deshaun by year, but still less than Lamar’s original asking price. I assume that EDC structured OBJ’s contract like that to save space for Lamar in the cap. At the same time, OBJ and Lamar went to a steakhouse and clubbing last night after Odell and the Ravens reached an agreement. It would be pretty weird if Odell signed with the Ravens just hoping Lamar would come back. He has to know something we don’t.
So, yes, I’m happy about the signing. Did we overpay Odell? Definitely. Was it worth it? Also, definitely. Could it blow up in our face? Again, definitely. Odell’s contract is one season, which means if he gets injured we’re fucked. If Lamar comes back and gets injured we’re fucked. If Lamar doesn’t come back at all, we draft Stetson Bennett (maybe not as fucked?).
The biggest issue now is that even if we get Lamar back, OBJ’s deal makes us a win right now team. We have one shot. That I do not love. We have the pieces to do it (with Lamar obviously), but it’s far from a certainty. The stakes will be high, the pressure even greater. I can already see it ending in tears. But for now, all Flock Nation can do is enjoy the ride.