Stockpiling for Super Bowl run, Rams add marquee receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

Former Browns receiver Odell Beckham Jr. runs.
Odell Beckham Jr. is a big addition to a Rams squad already flush with great receivers.
(Ron Schwane / Associated Press)

The recruiting effort climaxed Thursday, shortly before the Rams took the field for a midday practice.

Star cornerback Jalen Ramsey got Odell Beckham Jr. on the phone, and Rams players took turns pitching the star free-agent receiver on why L.A. was the place.

“Pretty much just receiver to receiver,” Robert Woods said. “Telling him what’s it like here in this offense … come and be a part of our team.”

Receiver Cooper Kupp also pushed.

“We were really just telling him — obviously he’s an incredible football player — so just to have the opportunity to take the field with someone like that, to have someone like that around here would be incredible.


“We expressed some of that.”

And then general manager Les Snead — never shy about making blockbuster moves — did it again.

The Rams agreed to terms on a one-year contract with Beckham, adding another marquee player to a 7-2 team in boom-or-bust mode.

It’s seemed devastating at the time when Rams cornerback Darious Williams was sidelined with an injury, but that gave talented youngsters the opportunity to grow in his place.

Nov. 10, 2021

Super Bowl LVI will be played in February at $5-billion SoFi Stadium, and Rams owner Stan Kroenke and team executives are sparing no expense to make sure Kroenke is the owner representing the NFC in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl on Feb. 13.

Last week, the Rams traded for eight-time Pro Bowl linebacker Von Miller, who could make his debut against the 49ers.

But now Beckham will be the talk of “Monday Night Football,” the latest in a galaxy of Los Angeles stars.


“Welcome to LA my brother @obj! It’s GO TIME!!” tweeted Lakers superstar LeBron James.

Beckham, 29, was the 12th player chosen in the 2014 NFL draft, one pick ahead of Rams star defensive tackle Aaron Donald.

He starred for the New York Giants for five seasons — earning pro Bowl recognition in each of his first three.

The Rams made inquiries about trading for Beckham before the 2018 season, when they were gearing up for a Super Bowl run. But the Giants did not trade him until March 2019, when they dealt him to the Cleveland Browns.

But it did not work out for Beckham or the Browns.

Beckham caught only 17 passes for 232 yards this season before he and the Browns agreed to part ways last week. Beckham cleared waivers and became a free agent.

Beckham, who has 504 career receptions — 51 for touchdowns — joins a Rams team that invested heavily in a Super Bowl run.

The Times’ Sam Farmer analyzes each matchup and predicts the winners of Week 10 of the 2021 NFL season.

Nov. 11, 2021

Quarterback Matthew Stafford, acquired from the Detroit Lions in a January trade for quarterback Jared Goff and two first-round draft picks, was the biggest piece. The 13th-year pro has mostly played like an MVP candidate, and welcomed the opportunity to add another weapon.

“He’s outstanding when the ball is in the air, going up and making catches,” Stafford said of Beckham, who he teamed with in the 2015 Pro Bowl. “He’s really good after the catch as well when he can stay grounded and catch and run.

“He’s obviously a very, very talented player. Excited about getting the opportunity to work with him and what he can bring to our team.”

It’s a far cry from his Lions experience, but Stafford is getting accustomed to the Rams’ all-in mentality.

“Nothing really surprises me anymore to tell you the truth,” Stafford said. “I know that this is an enticing city to play in. This is an enticing an organization to come play for.”

The Rams are optimistic that the Beckham addition works out better than their experience with DeSean Jackson.

Then a Cleveland Brown.  wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. warms up before a game against the Chicago Bears.
Odell Beckham Jr. and the Cleveland Browns parted ways last week after the receiver caught only 17 passes for 232 yards this season.
(David Dermer / Associated Press)

“It’s obviously not foolproof ... I think he’s going to fit in just fine.”

— Cooper Kupp, on new Rams receiver Odell Beckham Jr., above

Before this season, the Rams signed Jackson to provide Stafford with a deep threat. But Jackson grew frustrated with his limited role behind Kupp, Woods and second-year pro Van Jefferson and asked to be traded.

Jackson was released the day after the trade deadline. He has since signed with the Las Vegas Raiders.

Kupp and Woods said they expect Beckham will fit in well.

“It’s obviously not foolproof, but I think in our room, what we’re about in our receiver room, the way that we handle our business, you step into our room, you’ve got to be about what we’re about,” Kupp said. “For him to step into that place and what he’s put on tape before and what he’s done, I think he’s going to fit in just fine.

Said Woods: “We’re all working toward the same goal — winning, grinding. I don’t think it should be anything disruptive.”

How McVay works Beckham into the offense remains to be seen.

Kupp leads the NFL in nearly every receiving category. He has been targeted 103 times, has 74 receptions, 1,019 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns.

Woods has been targeted 69 times and has 45 catches for 556 yards and four touchdowns.

Second-year pro Jefferson has been targeted 46 times. He has 27 catches for 433 yards and three touchdowns.

Now, add Beckham to the mix.

Rams receiver Cooper Kupp is having a record season, which has caused his father’s fantasy football foes to say he no longer gets a free pass in draft.

Nov. 9, 2021

“He’s a great player,” Jefferson said of Beckham. “Someone I can learn from, someone that I can get some tools from so I think we’re all excited to have him.”

No one, perhaps, more than McVay.

Before the signing was official, McVay’s smile belied what was going on behind the scenes.

Asked before practice if the Rams had reached out to Beckham, McVay grinned.

“We’re just focused on the Niners right now,” McVay said. “That’s kind of where my focus is.”

Later in the media session, when asked if Snead was still possibly pursuing Beckham, McVay smiled again.

“Les is always doing work behind the scenes,” McVay said.

As it turns out, so were Rams players.