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Late for Work 5/16: Odell Beckham Jr. Came Very Close to Playing for Jets, Says Sauce Gardner

WR Odell Beckham Jr.

Odell Beckham Jr. Wanted to Play for Jets, Had Jersey Number Picked, Sauce Gardner Says

Before Odell Beckham Jr. agreed to sign with the Ravens on Easter Sunday, he was reportedly set to visit the New York Jets that night. The Jets were believed to have been Beckham's top choice, and it was reported that he gave them an opportunity to match the Ravens' offer.

So just how close was Beckham to signing with the Jets before General Manager Eric DeCosta and the Ravens swooped in? Pretty darn close, according to Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner, who was actively recruiting the three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver.

"Odell, he wanted to play here," Gardner told Sports Illustrated’s Conor Orr. "It was to the point where he was picking his jersey. He was telling me, like, 'Hey, ask so-and-so if I can get the jersey [number I want].' He was going to wear number 7."

Beckham's one-year deal with Baltimore is reportedly for $15 million with performance bonuses that could reach $18 million. That's believed to be significantly more than any other team offered the 30-year-old receiver, who has had two ACL surgeries on his left knee and hasn't played since winning Super Bowl LVI with the Los Angeles Rams in February of last year.

It seems as if DeCosta made good on something he said after the 2020 season when asked how the run-heavy Ravens could attract high-profile free-agent wide receivers.

"I'll just call on a line from 'The Godfather'. 'I'll make him an offer he can't refuse,'" DeCosta said.

It certainly puts to rest the notion that the Ravens are "cheap," as has been previously suggested by some media members. Baltimore hasn't opened the checkbook much for receivers in recent years, but that changed to land Beckham.

"I think it's just agenda. People just want to be controversial," DeCosta said on the Adam Jones podcast last week. "A lot of times what we see is it really isn't based in fact; it's based in fiction, hyperbole, agenda. It could be working with agents, it could be trying to make a name for yourself. In the end, we try to drown all of that out. We have a conviction based in fact, evidence, data, relationships. We try to stick to that."

Marcus Peters Reportedly Visited Raiders

Head Coach John Harbaugh said earlier this month that signing cornerback Rock Ya-Sin doesn't mean the Ravens are closing the door on adding another veteran cornerback, specifically mentioning Marcus Peters, who spent the past three-plus seasons in Baltimore.

Meanwhile, the Las Vegas Raiders, whom Ya-Sin played for last season, opened their doors to Peters yesterday for a free-agent visit, according to The Athletic's Vic Tafur.

Peters, 30, admitted he was more hesitant last season after a torn ACL cost him the entire 2021 campaign. He had a career-low one interception in 13 starts.

In addition to Marlon Humphrey and Ya-Sin, cornerbacks on the Ravens' roster include second-year players Jalyn Armour-Davis and Pepe Williams, fifth-round pick Kyu Blu Kelly, Daryl Worley, Kevon Seymour, and Trayvon Mullen.

Ravens Named a Good Fit for Ndamukong Suh

The Ravens were named as one of three teams who would be a good fit for free-agent defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh by NFL Network's Bucky Brooks.

"The star power that they collected on offense, but they need someone on defense to kind of bring them up a notch," Brooks said “NFL Total Access.”

The Ravens could be in the market for a veteran run-stopper to replace Calais Campbell, who signed with the Atlanta Falcons this offseason.

Don't expect Suh to decide on his next team anytime soon. The 35-year-old three-time first-team All-Pro didn't sign with the Eagles until mid-November of last year.

"I have no desire to be in a training camp," Suh said yesterday on "NFL Total Access." "I will come in and watch and look and give some advice, but when Week 1 happens, I'll be ready."

Suh has played in three of the past five Super Bowls as a member of the Los Angeles Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Philadelphia Eagles.

On a side note, Suh was asked to name his top five toughest quarterbacks to sack. Lamar Jackson did not make the list, but there's a good reason for his omission.

"I've got a lot of respect for Lamar, and I think everybody in this league fully respects his speed and his elusiveness, but I can't put him on the list because I haven't gone against him," Suh said.

Lamar Jackson Is Ranked No. 6 Among Top 10 Quarterback MVP Candidates

Sessler noted that Jackson has the best corps of wide receivers in his career in Beckham, first-round pick Zay Flowers, Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernay, Nelson Agholor, and others, but said staying healthy is the key for the 2019 MVP.

"Lamar's path toward a second MVP requires that he display heightened durability after missing 10 games over the past two seasons," Sessler wrote. "Who on this list has more to prove out of the gate?"

The five quarterbacks Sessler ranked ahead of Jackson were: Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts, Joe Burrow, Josh Allen, and Aaron Rodgers.

ESPN Predicts Ravens Will Sign Teddy Bridgewater

The Ravens continue to be linked to free agent Teddy Bridgewater, with ESPN's Bill Barnwell the latest pundit to predict the veteran quarterback will sign with Baltimore to serve as Jackson's primary backup.

"It's a bit of a surprise to approach June and see one of the league's best backup quarterbacks still on the open market," Barnwell wrote. "Bridgewater didn't have his best season with the Dolphins while backing up Tua Tagovailoa in 2022, but the Louisville product did average a career-high 8.6 yards per attempt. Bridgewater's 54.2 QBR since entering the league in 2014 is right in line with players like Jared Goff and Derek Carr, both of whom are entrenched as starters with significant paychecks. The taste of that disappointing 2020 season with the Panthers might have soured teams on Bridgewater, but he has otherwise gone 29-21 as a starter."

Barnwell noted that bringing in Bridgewater would allow the Ravens to hold onto the fourth-round compensatory pick they're set to receive for losing guard Ben Powers in free agency.

It's been reported that the Ravens were in the market for a veteran quarterback and attempted to acquire Baker Mayfield earlier this offseason before he signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, that was before Jackson signed his extension. Tyler Huntley has also since signed his restricted free-agent tender, putting him under contract for 2023.

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