One NFC East team will have a lot to be thankful for in the very near future.
The Cowboys and Giants meet on Thanksgiving Day, with more than bragging rights on the line. Both teams are angling for playoff appearances, but both teams are also seemingly playing for the services of one Odell Beckham Jr.
Beckham has been cleared to return from an ACL injury he suffered in Super Bowl 56, and while his market was at one point hefty, it looks like both the Giants and Cowboys have emerged as favorites to sign the star wide receiver, at least according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
It’s not just about 2022, though. Beckham’s next seven-game stretch is going to set him up for the 2023 season, if things work out well with whoever signs him.
But if it’s down to just the Cowboys and the Giants, who has the upper hand?
Odell Beckham Jr.’s best fits
The case for the Cowboys
The Cowboys’ offense is OK. Dallas ranks in the middle of the pack in just about every offensive passing category:
- 16th in passing yards (2,094)
- 16th in passing touchdowns (13)
- 11th in yards per attempt (6.4)
As a predominantly run-first team, Dallas could use more help out wide to pair with CeeDee Lamb. The team has had trouble replicating the successes of Amari Cooper in the offense, with Noah Brown and Michael Gallup getting snaps out wide but not exactly lighting it up (the two have 595 receiving yards and two touchdowns combined).
That said, it won’t be the opportunity to play in Mike McCarthy’s offense that appeals to Beckham the most — it’s about who’s playing in Dan Quinn’s defense.
Dallas’ D posts the league’s best pass-rush grade (84.2) as well as the league’s fifth-highest coverage grade (79.6) per PFF. The eye test should tell you that the team is, like, really good at playing defense.
That whole “defense wins championships” thing is still legitimate, and Dallas’ top-tier D should entice Beckham if he’s ring chasing once again. While they’ll be chasing the Eagles in the NFC East the remainder of the season, they have an opportunity to put a little distance between themselves and the Giants on Turkey Day.
The case for the Giants
The Giants can still make a run at the playoffs — they’re just a game behind the Cowboys, too — but the remainder of their schedule isn’t easy. That said, there’s still good reason for Beckham to want a Big Apple reunion.
Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley have carried (literally carried) the Giants’ offense for the majority of the season as they’ve navigated all sorts of issues out wide: Their 2021 first-round pick, Kadarius Toney, was traded prior to the deadline.
Prized free-agent wide receiver Kenny Golladay has more drops (three) than he does touchdown receptions (zero) in his Giants tenure. Wan’Dale Robinson, a promising rookie, is out for the year after suffering an ACL injury. Sterling Shepard faced the same fate earlier in the season.
The Giants’ wide receiver room now consists of Darius Slayton, Richie James and one randomly selected fan prior to every home game at MetLife Stadium. (Well, two out of three ain’t bad. Up to you to determine which is which.)
While the Giants didn’t do anything to add at the trade deadline, if they’re looking to keep their playoff hopes alive in a surprising first year for Brian Daboll and Joe Schoen, they’ll need to add to the wide receiver room and soon. Beckham is the most impactful player on the market and would instantly add more explosiveness to the offense.
Ultimately, it comes down to what Beckham wants (and why he’s being chased, and not the one chasing).
If he’s looking for volume and a chance to set himself up for one last, big payday beyond the 2022 season, then a reunion with the Giants makes sense. Their wide receiver room is thin, and adding Beckham to a passing offense that’s among the worst in the NFL gives him an opportunity to eat.
If he’s looking for another Super Bowl ring with the opportunity to latch onto a contender, then Dallas might be his best bet. The Cowboys’ defense is much too good right now, and getting to play with a top-10 quarterback such as Dak Prescott might be too good of any opportunity to pass up.
Either way, Beckham will get whatever it is he’s looking for — and someone is going to be very disappointed in the very near future.