Sean Payton: Saints Were 'Close' to Signing Odell Beckham Jr. After Browns Release

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVNovember 18, 2021

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (3) jogs on the field during the first half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, Nov. 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
AP Photo/Tony Avelar

Odell Beckham Jr. played college football in Louisiana for LSU and was apparently "close" to playing there professionally for the New Orleans Saints.

"I would say close," Saints head coach Sean Payton said during an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show while discussing if the team approached signing the wide receiver. "The question was all along if L.A. had an opportunity, that's where he was going to go. I would say [Los Angeles wasn't involved] until midway through the process."

Beckham ultimately signed with the Los Angeles Rams after he was released by the Cleveland Browns.

His debut with the Rams didn't go as hoped, and he finished with two catches for 18 yards in a 31-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football.

It was another development in what has turned into a disappointing season for Beckham. The LSU product has 19 catches for 250 yards and is yet to score in seven games for Cleveland and Los Angeles.

Beckham's split with the Browns wasn't exactly the cleanest either considering his father made headlines by posting a video on Instagram of Baker Mayfield missing the wide receiver on open routes. The team also dismissed him from multiple practices.

The 29-year-old played just seven games last season and has not resembled the dominant playmaker he was for the New York Giants since he surpassed 1,000 receiving yards in his first year with Cleveland in 2019.

Even then he scored just four touchdowns, which stands in stark contrast to the double-digit touchdown totals he posted in each of his first three seasons in the league from 2014 through 2016.

Perhaps it shouldn't be surprising the Saints were interested since Michael Thomas is sidelined with an injury and they are missing a true No. 1 option in the aerial attack. While Beckham hasn't put up numbers like a top wide receiver of late, he has that track record to fall back on and is theoretically still in his prime.

Alas, it will be the Rams who hope he rediscovers his form down the stretch run of the season as they chase an NFC West crown and playoff berth.