John Harbaugh explains team decision to move on from Odell Beckham Jr., discusses J.K. Dobbins return

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Moving on from Odell Beckham was an easy decision for the Baltimore Ravens, given that it had little to do with performance. Even though the performance justified not paying Beckham.

The Ravens knew they were going to have to let free agents leave. Head coach John Harbaugh admitted Beckham became part of a numbers crunch.


“I just think it was more … I think it was just more financial,” Harbaugh said at the NFL Annual Meetings Monday. “I think it has more to do with that … I’m sure … I wasn’t involved in any of that, but I’m sure that he [Odell Beckham Jr.] and [Executive Vice President & General Manager] Eric [DeCosta] talked, and it just wasn’t going to work out – just from a numbers standpoint.

“It probably has much [to do with] where we’re at – we’re in a tight cap-type situation – and it kind of was a mutual understanding, I think, that way.”

The Ravens already allowed Geno Stone, Patrick Queen, Tyler Huntley, Kevin Zeitler, and Gus Edwards to leave in free agency. Given Baltimore has just $13.9 million in available cap space after the $24.5 million per year commitment to Justin Madubuike, the Ravens had to allocate their money wisely.

Beckham’s making his 2023 salary ($15 million) in 2024 wasn’t going to cut it. Not after a season which he had 35 catches for 565 yards and three touchdowns (16.1 yards per catch).

Where could the Ravens allocate the available money they have? After signing Derrick Henry, J.K. Dobbins and Dalvin Cook remain free agents. Baltimore likes to use its running backs, and the Ravens aren’t opposed to bringing either back.

“We’re just going to see how that shakes out,” Harbaugh said. “There are some moving pieces to that part, and I’ll just let Eric [DeCosta] handle that. If we bring someone back.

“If we bring one of those two guys back, I’d be happy to do it. If we’re not able to do it, we’ll find some young guys.”

Jadeveon Clowney and Kyle Van Noy could also come back as well. Harbaugh appeared to be leaning toward having both back on the defense in 2024.

“There is [optimism]. About ‘JD’ [Clowney] and also about Kyle [Van Noy]. There’s optimism with both,” Harbaugh said. “I’ve been texting with both ‘JD’ and Kyle here and there over the last couple weeks. So, yes, I’m hopeful we get one or both of them back.”

There’s still some money to spend in Baltimore. While it may not be used for Beckham, plenty of other contributors appear to be returning.

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