All last offseason, there was a ton of trade speculation surrounding starting New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Players around the league were recruiting Beckham, who had a poor relationship with the Giants at the time, and for a while it seemed like he would never play for New York again.
Instead, the Giants hung onto him, Beckham and the owner apparently mended some fences, and he stuck around for another year in East Rutherford, N.J. According to a report from Chris Simms, however, the Giants came very close to dealing Beckham to a team that was not mentioned during last offseason's discussions, which mostly centered on the Los Angeles Rams and Cleveland Browns. Simms says the team that went hardest after Beckham was actually the eventual Super Bowl champions: the New England Patriots.
"This is something that I found out, you know, through the course of the season. I don't think that everybody realizes -- and I didn't realize this -- how close Odell Beckham Jr. was to being traded last year," Simms said. "I mean, it was really close ... But here's the big thing that I found out towards the end of the year, really, more than anything with Odell Beckham Jr.: The Giants were going to trade him, and I think they were really looking and listening to all offers. You know what really stopped it? And I think this is going to shock people.
"This is from everything I know with multiple sources, the thing that stopped the trade conversation with Odell Beckham Jr. is because the team that was most aggressive in pursuing him was the New England Patriots. The New England Patriots were trying to get Odell Beckham Jr. all last offseason. And I think the Giants got cold feet and said, 'Wait ... New England wants him? Uh-oh, maybe he's better than we thought. Maybe we should just keep him on our own instead of it being thrown in our face and him going to win a Super Bowl with the Pats.'"
It makes sense that the Patriots would have been one of the teams interested in Beckham, considering their lack of depth at wide receiver after trading Brandin Cooks to the Rams. (They did eventually trade for Josh Gordon to help shore things up but Gordon violated the league's drug policy again.) But it makes even more sense that the fact that the Patriots were interested in Beckham would convince the Giants to pull him back from the trade market. If the Patriots are interested in one of your players, there's probably a damned good reason. It should not really take the Patriots being interested to know that Odell Beckham is too good to trade, but there are worse ways to realize you've made a mistake by putting a player on the market, I suppose.