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49ers among five finalists to sign Odell Beckham Jr. [report]



© Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Odell Beckham Jr. sweepstakes are firmly underway. Beckham Jr., a free agent, has been recovering from a torn ACL suffered in the Super Bowl and over the last several months, has taken multiple visits around the league.

It’s little surprise that even after a devastating knee injury, there is significant interest to sign him. And the San Francisco 49ers are firmly in the mix.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Beckham Jr. has five teams left on his list, and intends to
“whittle down” that list imminently and decide where to sign by the end of this month.

Before Beckham Jr. was traded to the Rams last year, the 49ers expressed interest, but were 3-5. He obviously made the correct choice, winning a first career Super Bowl.

Sunday night’s matchup with the Chargers is substantial not just for the team’s playoff hopes, but in potentially signing Beckham Jr. John Lynch said last season that he understood why Beckham Jr. opted to go elsewhere, because the 49ers hadn’t proven they were contenders at that point in the season.

A win on Sunday, to put San Francisco at 5-4 and a half-game back behind the Seattle Seahawks for the NFC West lead (and with a tiebreaker over the Rams, who play the Cardinals), would clearly show them as contenders.

While the 49ers have Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and Jauan Jennings, Beckham Jr. would be an obvious upgrade over Jennings, and would enter the picture as the No. 3 receiver.

Beckham Jr. has had interest in the 49ers before. He recalled last year on KNBR that, in the video below, he told John Lynch, “Get me here, get me here,” encouraging Lynch to trade for him.

A major factor, obviously, is the finances.

Schefter’s report says the following on the expected contract:

“League sources are predicting that his eventual compensation package could be similar on a prorated basis to some of the free agent deals signed last offseason by fellow wide receivers such as Chris Godwin and Mike Williams, each of whom makes an average of $20 million per year…

If Beckham were to play the final quarter of the season at similar prorated pay to Godwin or Williams, he could make about $5 million for the remainder of this season.

Teams also believe Beckham is looking for a multiyear deal, which could potentially give them additional flexibility in structuring a deal that would work for both the free agent receiver and his new club.”

Of the teams on Beckham’s list, only the Cowboys have more cap space available to them than the 49ers. The NFLPA’s figures give the 49ers about $5 million in current space, and $6.9 million for Dallas.

That said, if it is a multi-year deal, much of the money could be offset to next season. The Giants have $59 million in expected cap space, per OverTheCap, a very weak receiving corps, and the nostalgia factor of being where he started his career.

The next-highest team on the list is the Chiefs, at $28.4 million. The 49ers are expected to have about $14.5 million in space

Both the Cowboys and Giants are in the winningest division in the NFL, though, with the 8-0 Philadelphia Eagles atop it. It all depends on what Beckham Jr.’s preferences.

Would he want to come in as an immediate No. 1 or No. 2? Or would he rather have have his burden eased by an already-stacked offense in a very winnable division? That’s the 49ers’ pitch, but it’s only a compelling one if they win on Sunday.