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Dave Hyde: No-risk move for Odell Beckham Jr. gives Dolphins some good Plan B options

Say this for Odell Beckham Jr.: He makes everything more interesting. He gives this Miami Dolphins offense added options.

He doesn’t have the electricity of his New York Giants youth. Nor does he come with the burdened payday he had last year in Baltimore. But his no-risk signing Friday with the Dolphins provides some interesting thoughts toward solving their primary problems last season:

1. Having a Plan B against good defenses.

2. Managing Tyreek Hill’s workload so he’s healthy in December and January.

There’s Beckham Jr.’s role. There’s how he succeeds as a third receiver. There’s what he can do for no-risk rate of a $3 million contract ($8.5 million with incentives) that’s a success simply by reproducing the modest 35 catches, 565 yards and three touchdowns he did last year in Baltimore for the staggering price of $15 million.

Everyone knows Plan A for the Dolphins offense. It’s the speed of Hill and Jaylen Waddle. It’s quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s quick throws as designed by coach Mike McDaniel. No offense produced more yards last year. Only Dallas scored more points.

It was fun, even titillating, and also a bit overstated on its good days, as everyone came to realize. The Dolphins bullied non-playoff teams in scoring 35.4 points and having a 10-1 record.  They averaged 16.1 points in going 1-6 against playoff teams.

When teams took away the Dolphins’ Plan A, they had no Plan B. That’s where Beckham Jr. can help. So can free-agent signee Jonnu Smith, considering no Dolphins tight end had a touchdown last year. So might the lower-round picks in the draft, from running back Jaylen Wright to receiver Malik Washington and Tahj Washington.

The point is the Dolphins need some role-playing options to help this offense have some new wrinkles and added firepower. Take Beckham’s role as a third receiver. It’s been more an idea than an actual option the past two years in McDaniel’s offense.

They had three receivers on the field 47 percent of the time last year, third-least in the league, according to analyst Warren Sharp. Tight end Durham Smythe’s 35 catches were the most in either of the past two seasons after Hill and Waddle.

Bad defenses were outwitted with play design, then outrun by footspeed. Good defenses had the smarts and talent to stop that Plan A, even when these defenses were hurt in December like Baltimore and  Buffalo.

“We were trying to take advantage of it,’’ Hill said after losing to Baltimore. “But just like every team we play, they seem to find their way to Cover 2 (coverage).”

Kansas City cornerback L’Jarius Sneed threw Hill to the ground at the line in the playoff game. Or it had two cornerbacks at the line to rough him up.

“Jammed my ahh to Cancun,’’ Hill tweeted after the game.

McDaniel was asked the day after the season how much he’d think about those disparate numbers between playoff and non-playoff opponents.

“A fair amount,’’ he said.

Beckham is the latest thought toward that.  He’s not who he once was. But, look in the mirror, who is with a little age? Still, to repeat, did you see what the Dolphins are paying him?

Beckham Jr. or any other receiver who steps up can give this offense options while also organically taking some of the load off Hill. There’s the other way this signing works.

Hill is the focal point of the offense for obvious reason. He’s the best playmaker in the game. That’s why he was targeted 170 and 171 times the past two years. Only Vegas receiver Davante Adams had the ball thrown toward him more.

That’s also why Hill was hurting the past two Decembers when the Dolphins season needed him most.  He’s no fragile package. But he turned 30 in March and has a lot of wear and tear on his body. Taking some off his plate so he’s healthy at the end of seasons should be baked into this offense’s goals.

Enter Beckham, who is just a year older than Hill at 31. It tells how some age naturally in the NFL and some age in dog years.  This can be either a humbling or a wonderful time for a star like Beckham in the twilight of his career. And no one’s pretending this isn’t the twilight. Look at his contract. Look how he’s not just the third Dolphins receiver at best — he’s the lesser Beckham in town.

But there’s a good role waiting for him in a fun offense as he should see it. There’s a no-risk price tag as the Dolphins see it. Even if this doesn’t work exactly as planned, it should work out just fine.

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