New England Patriots

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 25:  Wide receiver Odell Beckham of the New York Giants reacts before taking on the Philadelphia Eagles  at Lincoln Financial Field.  (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

PHILADELPHIA, PA – NOVEMBER 25: Wide receiver Odell Beckham of the New York Giants reacts before taking on the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Early last offseason, Odell Beckham Jr. launched into rampant trade rumors. A year later, he’s right back at the center of those talks once again, whether real or fantasy. But when a player of his caliber enters that arena, every team should at least take a seat and survey the situation.

Welcome to the sequel. Hopefully this year’s Beckham rumors are closer to Terminator 2 than Speed 2: Cruise Control.

If Jay Glazer’s bold prediction at The Athletic is remotely plausible – that the New York Giants would trade Beckham this offseason, before his new five-year extension even kicks in – then would the Patriots be among the teams making the first calls?

Glazer’s prediction is, by definition, deliberately daring and improbable. But he’s also Jay Glazer so the specter of truth should hang over shoulders when he puts something like this out there.

It’s got to be worth at least five minutes of Bill Belichick’s time. See if Dave Gettleman is even considering such a move. And if Beckham is on the table, he’s still going to be expensive – but maybe more valuable than it appears.

Odell Beckham of the New York Giants makes a catch against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on December 4, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Odell Beckham of the New York Giants makes a catch against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on December 4, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

But that’s why a trade still seems unlikely. The Giants have paid Beckham his $20 million signing bonus. So trading him a year after that would be so fiscally irresponsible it would have to set off alarm bells on how little the organization wanted to deal with him.

Even so, the Patriots would have to nuzzle Beckham’s $17 million salary/bonuses into the budget and absorb his $21 million cap hit. The question is how willing they’d be to immediately make him their highest-salaried player, or perhaps their second-highest if they gave Tom Brady a raise. Not to mention their highest-paid pass-catcher ever – he’d be owed $77 million in total cash at a $15.4 million AAV (per Spotrac) over the next five seasons.

As it always does with wide receivers in the Brady-Belichick era, it would ultimately come down to Beckham’s ability to fully grasp the playbook and build a strong rapport with the quarterback. And if he can avoid off-field controversies and embrace the Patriots’ culture of consistency, competitively hard work, and a powerful love for football and his teammates?

It should go without saying that Brady would have one of the most explosive weapons of his career. Plays like this, only in nautical blue:

via GIPHY

Beckham would be a safer bet to catch over the middle, snag the ball in traffic, and make plays in the short-to-intermediate areas than Brandin Cooks was ever going to be. The Pats do need an outside receiver this offseason and while it does seem incredibly unlikely Belichick would wheelbarrow his eggs into the Beckham basket at that position, it could be the best possible investment of that nature.

Looming over the whole thing is what Belichick would have to load into that wheelbarrow. After he traded a first for Cooks two years ago, then Amari Cooper went to the Cowboys for a first in the middle of the 2018 season, then a deal for Beckham would have to start at that and grow from there.

Ultimately, it’s more likely the Patriots explore more frugal deals in the trade market, much like the draft pick swap that brought Cordarrelle Patterson over from the Raiders last offseason. Expect at least 2-3 new faces who might add up to less than Beckham’s $17 million next season.

But Beckham is as dynamic as it gets in the NFL. So if he’s on the market, he’s a name worth discussing and debating in New England.

Matt Dolloff is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.