No team is more all-in on the 2021 NFL season than the Los Angeles Rams. Trading future draft picks without hesitation and acquiring the biggest names available, L.A. is building a Super Bowl LVI contender, no matter the cost.

The latest example of Los Angeles’ aggressiveness came Thursday with the news that the team was signing Odell Beckham Jr. Beckham had been linked to a half-dozen other possible destinations, but the Rams swooped in and surprisingly picked up the three-time Pro Bowl receiver.

Wide receiver is far from an area of need for Los Angeles. Cooper Kupp leads the NFL with 74 receptions for 1,019 yards and 10 touchdowns. Robert Woods is on pace for a 1,000-yard season. Van Jefferson has stepped up nicely as a third option with 433 receiving yards of his own.

But the chance to add a playmaker as talented as Beckham was too good for the Rams to pass up, even though Los Angeles’ receiving corps has allowed Matthew Stafford to lead all quarterbacks in passing yards and passer rating.

Because Beckham was released by the Cleveland Browns and cleared waivers, all it cost the Rams to land the receiver was money. Beckham’s new deal is worth up to $4.25 million, according to NFL Network, including a $500,000 signing bonus and $750,000 in salary.

 

 

 

During his time with the New York Giants, Beckham was among the league’s most productive players, at any position, averaging 92.8 yards per game. The 29-year-old wasn’t nearly as good in 29 games with the Browns, with whom he averaged 54.7 yards per contest.

Beckham is the second multiple-time Pro Bowl player the Rams have added in November. Los Angeles sent a 2022 second-round pick and a 2022 third-rounder to the Denver Broncos in exchange for pass rusher Von Miller. 

Miller has 4.5 sacks in seven games this season. The Super Bowl 50 MVP joins a defense that leads the league in sacks and was the NFL’s top-ranked overall unit a season ago. Aaron Donald has been named Defensive Player of the Year in three of the last four seasons with the Rams.

The Rams traded their first-round pick in the upcoming draft earlier this year when they acquired Stafford. Los Angeles also sent the Detroit Lions their 2023 first-rounder in the deal. That means L.A. doesn’t own a first-round pick until 2024. 

Los Angeles didn’t have a first-round pick this year or in 2020 because of the trade it made to acquire cornerback Jalen Ramsey in 2019. In fact, the Rams have not made a first-round selection since 2016 when they moved up to take Jared Goff first overall.

Goff went to Detroit in the Stafford trade after one trip to the Super Bowl and no championships in five seasons as Los Angeles' quarterback.

If the Rams manage to win the Super Bowl, their approach will be vindicated. It’s a significant risk, given what their lack of draft capital could mean for their roster in the coming years.

With a 7-2 record through nine games, Los Angeles is among the championship favorites. L.A. is one game behind the Arizona Cardinals for first place in the NFC West and the No. 1 seed.

The Rams’ Super Bowl odds improved in light of the Miller trade. Adding Beckham didn’t cause any change.

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay congratulates quarterback Matthew Stafford during the team's victory over Tampa Bay on Sunday Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay congratulates quarterback Matthew Stafford during the team's victory over Tampa Bay on Sunday Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Katelyn Mulcahy