The Los Angeles Rams have discussed using Odell Beckham Jr. as an occasional punt returner Monday night as part of a package of plays designed for the star wide receiver, sources told ESPN.
Beckham, who joined Los Angeles on an incentive-laden deal this past Thursday, is expected to make his Rams debut Monday night versus the division-rival 49ers.
Beckham was used as a punt returner early in his career with the Giants, but he has returned only one punt since 2019 in his two-plus seasons with the Browns. Star receiver Cooper Kupp sometimes has been the Rams’ “safe” punt returner, fielding punts deep in their own territory.
Beckham could be used there, as well as in other spots, and Monday night will be the first glimpse of whether the Rams decide to deploy the idea.
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The chances of returning punts is one of the ideas the Rams have pondered since signing Beckham to a one-year, $4.5 million deal that is heavy on team-driven postseason incentives.
The Rams joined the free-agent bidding for Beckham this past Tuesday once he cleared waivers after being released by the Browns.
The Rams felt they had a strong chance to land Beckham after head coach Sean McVay had a long and direct conversation with the receiver about how he would be used in Los Angeles.
Beckham made it clear that he was looking for three things: a good coach, a good quarterback and a team that would win this season.
The Packers, Chiefs, Saints and Seahawks showed varying levels of interest, but the Rams fit all the criteria and also could offer Beckham something no other franchise could — Los Angeles as a location.
The conversation between McVay and Beckham was the first of several that the three-time Pro Bowler had with members of the Rams organization over the next two days. He also spoke with his friends Von Miller and Jalen Ramsey, with each player pitching to Beckham the merits of playing in Los Angeles.
The Rams plan to attempt to re-sign both Beckham and Miller, who is in the final year of his contract, in the offseason, sources told ESPN. Although they added Beckham and Miller to make a Super Bowl run this season, the Rams see their relationships with both players potentially lasting beyond 2021.
Los Angeles also would receive compensatory draft picks if either player leaves in free agency.
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