Odell Beckham Jr.’s recruiting is about to heat up for NFL teams. One already has a significant advantage.

For years at the center of the Odell Beckham Jr.. universe, Von Miller has been the benchmark.

If you wanted to know where Beckham’s head was at when things were falling apart with the New York Giants or he never really came together with the Cleveland Browns, people in Beckham’s inner circle were generally of the same opinion: They may not know. exactly what Beckham was. thinking, but there was little doubt who did it.

Listen to Von Miller.

The suggestion was simple. Even if Miller wasn’t about to violate the trust the two friends shared and say exactly what was going on, he would almost certainly drop a hint from time to time. Arguably no other NFL player has been consistently closer to Beckham throughout his career. The two talk regularly. They have worked and rehabbed together in the off seasons. Their families are close. And they finally achieved a longstanding dream in the 2021 season, playing and winning a Super Bowl alongside the Los Angeles Rams, and then capping it all off by partnering with Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald to help design the gigantic world. championship rings that followed.

Which is why when Miller surprisingly left the Rams in the offseason during free agency, the people who knew the pair best couldn’t help but be skeptical that Beckham was insurance to return to Los Angeles when his surgically repaired knee was rehabilitated for the second half. of the 2022 season. As much as the Rams wanted Odell back and hoped he would this season, the people inside the circle with Beckham and Miller kept opening a seemingly unlikely door. After all, Miller has always been a reliable and sometimes persuasive friend in Beckham’s life and vice versa. So much so that there was even a point in the summer of 2020 where Miller broached the idea of ​​finding a way to join Beckham in Cleveland. Beckham pushed hard on that, perhaps anticipating the implosion that ultimately resulted in his departure from the franchise last season.

But as soon as Miller was traded to the Rams in early November, Beckham’s inner circle began to reiterate that old message: Listen to Von Miller.

September 8, 2022;  Inglewood, California, United States;  Buffalo Bills linebacker Von Miller (40) walks off the field after defeating the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo’s Von Miller could be a top recruiter for the Bills in a possible acquisition of free agent WR Odell Beckham Jr. (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

There was little doubt that he was already drafting Beckham, and he was doing so at the very moment the wide receiver was trying to force his way off Cleveland’s roster. Within two weeks, they both had exactly what they wanted. The Browns relented and agreed to release Beckham, and Miller and Ramsey immediately rolled out the red carpet between California and Ohio.

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All this is more a matter of history than secrecy, of course. The friendship and influence the two players have on each other has been chronicled above. But it’s an important part of the story in the coming days, because Beckham’s free agency is expected to heat up heading into November. And despite the ACL tear that occurred in February’s Super Bowl victory, it will be a roomful of people calling. Not only because of what Beckham showed in his brief stint as a mercenary with the Rams last season, but also because the league’s mid-ranks are full of teams that need a shot of adrenaline. Much from good teams could use a talented wide receiver who had such a dramatic impact in the red zone last season.

The Rams could certainly use him. So could the Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens and a handful of other offenses experiencing a roller coaster ride in 2022 with their top-tier quarterbacks. And you can be sure that Beckham is keeping an eye on them all too. He already admitted as much on Twitter on Thursday, during an exchange with former NFL player Marcus Spears.

In the exchange, Beckham asked Spears to drop the Dallas Cowboys franchise Spears used to play for and offer her top five destinations. Spears countered with (you might have guessed it), the Chiefs, Packers, Rams, Buffalo Bills and Ravens. Beckham responded, “we agree” with a pair of high-five smiley emojis.

(You have to love social media for free agency theater.)

While this was an important bit of advice from Beckham, there may be another that was more revealing. And that’s when Miller told reporters Wednesday that he liked the combination between Beckham and the Bills, and that he already thinks he knows where Odell is probably headed.

“I talk to him probably every week,” Miller told reporters. “I communicate with him, I keep in touch with him. OBJ, he’s also a veteran in this league. He understands teams and the way they’re built too. I’m sure when you look at our team you can see fitting into our team. He now he goes on tour. He goes to [the] The practice facility for the Giants, and the Saints, Tampa and all that stuff, which you should. You should take a walk, see the league and get the love.

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“He’s still on the Super Bowl tour. He’s done pretty much everything in this league. You want to go around and get the love. Me personally, the way I like to think, I think when it’s time to start cutting the block, I think when it’s time to get down to business, we already know where it’s going to be. In my opinion, I think I know where it’s going to be.”

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) talks with Odell Beckham Jr. before an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, in New Orleans.  (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)

Odell Beckham Jr. shares a moment with Tom Brady on September 18 in New Orleans. Could his Super Bowl tour include a visit to Tampa? (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)

Miller isn’t sitting there with reporters talking about Beckham because he thinks he’ll end up back with the Rams or sign up with one of Buffalo’s top competitors. He says it because he believes, or knows, that Buffalo is destiny. He is effectively saying, “I want Odell to go out and enjoy the courtship and the attention, but I also know that he will be coming home at the end of the night. And my home is in Buffalo.”

That’s the classic Von Miller landmark moment. And it makes sense because the Bills aren’t a hard sell at this stage. They have one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL in Josh Allen, who can improvise on massive game-breaking plays and also represents an upgrade over Matthew Stafford. The Bills have a sick defense and a dominant No. 1 wide receiver, ensuring that Beckham doesn’t sign up to become the focal point of defenses. They have a coaching staff and fan base that connect deeply with the players. They also have the ability to add a piece at the trade deadline and cement a first-rate chance to win the Super Bowl.

Oh, and lest we forget, they also have possibly Beckham’s closest friend in the NFL, Von Miller, leading the draft.

This union may not be an outright lockdown in early October; after all, there’s a lot of time left on the schedule and a lot can go wrong in the next month, but it’s as close as it gets. Respect what the story tells you about this situation and pay attention to the referent. The Odell Beckham Jr. recruiting is sure to be fun. But it could also end before he begins.

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