Don’t take the bait, Joe Douglas: Steer clear of OBJ and stick with Elijah Moore
Rumors of Odell Beckham Jr. potentially heading to the New York Jets are swirling around the NFL world. The Jets attended Beckham’s workout last week, which reportedly went very well.
Since then, Beckham has been rumored to be on the Jets’ radar in free agency. Beckham was included on the apparent wishlist given to the team by Aaron Rodgers, although Rodgers shot down the idea that he made a “wishlist” on The Pat McAfee Show. Still, Rodgers said, “who wouldn’t want Odell on their team?”.
To top it all off, Beckham has hinted at a potential Jets connection through multiple posts on his Twitter account.
Should the Jets bring in Beckham to continue their construction of an A-list cast that would be fit for Broadway?
In my opinion… no.
And here’s the main reason why: Elijah Moore.
In Elijah Moore, the Jets already have a star-caliber talent beside Garrett Wilson
We know the Jets have Garrett Wilson to lead the way as the No. 1 weapon, and recently-signed receiver Allen Lazard is set to be a complementary piece. Beckham would figure to be the No. 2 receiver alongside Wilson.
But Moore is already a tremendous piece to have in that No. 2 spot.
Casual fans may balk at Moore’s talent because of his uninspiring numbers: In 16 games last season, he averaged 2.3 receptions for 27.9 yards while scoring a grand total of one touchdown. However, Moore’s film (the only thing that truly matters) shows a much different player than his box-score stats.
This reel features some of the most blatant examples of Moore being missed by his quarterback in 2022. It lasts over two minutes. Yes, every receiver gets missed by his quarterback occasionally, but to be missed this often is nothing short of extraordinary.
On film, Moore’s route-running was exceptional. He created separation on a consistent basis and got open often enough to create the chance to produce some very good numbers.
Unfortunately, the Jets had the worst quarterback room in football, and as a result, there were an inordinate number of plays in which Moore got himself open for a big play but did not get the football. Sometimes it was due to the quarterback making a poor read and throwing the ball elsewhere, and sometimes it was due to an inaccurate throw.
Moore deserved to produce far better statistics than he actually did. According to PlayerProfiler, Moore’s 44.2% route win rate ranked 25th-best out of over 100 qualified wide receivers. In other words, he was in the top quartile at his position when it came to winning his matchup and creating the opportunity for a big play to happen.
Despite his top-quartile route running skills, Moore ended up with a target rate of 14.1% – which ranked 100th at the position.
That disparity sums up Moore’s unfortunate season. Moore ran routes better than three-quarters of the league’s wide receivers but was targeted less frequently than nearly all of them.
And when Moore actually did get opportunities to catch the football, he showed how talented of a playmaker he is. It’s not as if he blew his opportunities.
According to Pro Football Focus, Moore had zero drops in 2022. Moore’s elusiveness after the catch was similarly fantastic. He forced 11 missed tackles on just 37 receptions, placing him second-best out of 88 qualified wide receivers with 0.297 missed tackles forced per reception.
It makes no sense to give up on this player.
With a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers at the helm, Moore will be rewarded for his successful routes at a normal rate, and it will lead to a strong level of statistical production that New York will be very happy to get from its No. 2 receiver.
Not to mention, Moore is only 22 years old (he’ll be 23 by the end of March) and remains on a cheap, team-controlled contract. The Jets can use the money that would otherwise go to Beckham on a position of greater need, like offensive tackle or safety.
If the Jets trade Moore to make room for Beckham, they would be creating a new hole, filling it with Beckham, and leaving themselves without the surplus money to fill other holes on the team.
Speaking of Beckham, I’m not even sure he will be a better player than Moore in 2023.
Is OBJ really worth spending top dollar on?
It’s important for the Jets to avoid being distracted by the sparkling allure that comes with Beckham’s name and be honest with themselves about who he is at this point of his career. Beckham will be 31 in November, is coming off his second ACL tear since 2020, and has not posted over 1,000 yards in a season since 2019. In fact, he hasn’t even posted over 537 yards in a season since then.
In his most recent season, Beckham averaged only 38.4 receiving yards per game. This is hardly better than Moore’s career average (36.4), and that’s despite spending half of the year in a pristine environment with Sean McVay and Matthew Stafford. Beckham only averaged 38.1 yards per game in his seven regular season games with the Rams, and he caught just 56.1% of his targets.
Even in 2020, before Beckham suffered his first ACL tear, he was showing signs of decline. In seven games prior to the injury, Beckham had then-career-lows of 3.3 receptions per game, 45.6 receiving yards per game, and a 53.5% catch rate.
Yes, Beckham did play very well in the Rams’ four-game playoff run that culminated in a championship. He averaged 5.3 receptions for 72.0 yards per game with two touchdowns, and that’s despite missing about half of the Super Bowl.
But that’s only four games. Beckham’s entire body of work since 2020 simply isn’t anything to write home about. Here are his numbers over 25 regular season and playoff games since 2020:
- 151 targets
- 86 receptions (3.4 per game / 58 per 17 games)
- 1,144 yards (45.8 per game / 779 per 17 games)
- 10 touchdowns (0.40 per game / 7 per 17 games)
- 7.6 yards per target (For reference: 2022 NFL average for WRs was 8.0)
- 57.0% catch rate (For reference: 2022 NFL average for WRs was 63.3%)
And this is all before suffering a second ACL tear and turning 30 years old.
If I were Joe Douglas, I’d pass on Beckham and trust Moore to break out with better quarterback play.