Odell Beckham Jr. is a talented wide receiver who has had an up-and-down career with the Cleveland Browns, but his time in Cleveland could be coming to an end. The Browns are reportedly shopping Beckham Jr. and he may not make it to training camp this season after all.
Odell Beckham Jr.’s disappointing career with the Cleveland Browns could come to an end. The team is reportedly willing to trade him away for a draft pick, which would be the best option for both sides.
The Cleveland Browns went for the fences by acquiring Odell Beckham Jr. in a stunning trade. However, it’s fair to criticize their choice to give a large package of draft selections and players to the New York Giants in exchange for a receiver who hasn’t shown anything like to the home-run talent that made him a household name.
While the expensive deal hasn’t prevented the Browns from becoming one of the best teams in the AFC, Beckham has undoubtedly fallen short of expectations. Even though he’s under contract through 2023, his tenure in Cleveland may come to an end before then.
Cleveland’s Odell Beckham Jr. era has been a huge letdown.
Beckham started his NFL career with three straight seasons of at least 1,300 receiving yards and double-digit touchdowns, but he hasn’t been able to maintain that level of performance in the years afterwards. In fact, he’s only had 16 touchdown catches since 2017, after hauling in 35 throughout that span.
The 5-foot-11, 198-pound receiver, who was once regarded as one of the league’s most dangerous playmakers, has not had the same effect in Cleveland.
Is Beckham to blame for everything?
After all, an ACL injury in Week 7 ended his 2020 season and laid the scene for a long recovery procedure. Baker Mayfield’s inconsistency, as well as the way the Browns operate their offense, have all contributed to his lackluster statistics.
Still, it’s fair to say Beckham hasn’t given a tremendous return on Cleveland’s investment, despite earning an average of $18 million per year and costing a big fortune to acquire.
Beckham’s time with the Browns may be coming to an end.
Will the Browns release Odell Beckham Jr. after the 2021 season? | Getty Images/Stephen Maturen
Don’t be shocked if the Browns’ wide receiver depth chart in 2022 looks drastically different.
“Odell Beckham Jr. may be on the move again,” The Athletic’s Jeff Howe wrote on Thursday. “According to sources acquainted with the Cleveland Browns’ thinking, this may be the wide receiver’s last season with the club.”
Due to budgetary considerations, the soon-to-be 29-year-old wideout should stay with the team for the rest of 2021. However, since Beckham’s contract does not include any guaranteed money in 2022 or 2023, the Browns might benefit from a trade in the offseason. A trade would free up $15 million in salary space in 2022, which is a big amount for a team that still has to sign their franchise quarterback to a contract deal.
Without the big-name receiver in the lineup, Mayfield has unexpectedly put up higher statistics. According to Howe, Beckham has completed 60.2 percent of his throws for 1,801 yards, 13 touchdowns, and six interceptions in nine entire games with him on the field over the past two seasons. Mayfield has a 66.3 percent completion percentage, 3,002 passing yards, 17 touchdowns, and four interceptions in 12 games without him.
The Browns obviously hope Beckham can shake off his rust and become a more consistent force in the future. Given his up-and-down career with the club, whether or not that occurs remains a total unknown.
“Over the following several months, Beckham’s performance may alter the narrative,” Howe said. “However, there are indications that this will be Beckham’s last stretch run in Cleveland.”
Which clubs in the NFL should be interested in dealing for the three-time Pro Bowler?
A change of location may be beneficial to all parties concerned. The Browns used third- and fourth-round selections on receivers in the 2021 draft, while 2020 sixth-rounder Donovan Peoples-Jones has a lot of potential. For a club that has to show it can win on a regular basis, getting younger at the position and re-allocating financial resources to other areas of need might not be the worst option.
What about Beckham?
While it may not have gone as planned in Cleveland, he may have a comeback in another system. And, despite his value being at an all-time low, don’t be shocked if at least a few clubs make bids.
The New England Patriots, who are in dire need of a No. 1 receiver, stand out as a clear trade partner for the Browns. Bill Belichick squandered N’Keal Harry, and the Patriots’ current pass catchers are a collection of competent but unspectacular alternatives. Giving Mac Jones a proven commodity like Beckham may help him go to the next level of his growth.
Meanwhile, the Detroit Lions must find a way to acquire better weapons for Jared Goff if he is to have any chance of succeeding. Beckham isn’t the same talent he was in New York, but he’s still a superior player than anybody on the Lions’ current roster.
Sticking with the NFC, the New Orleans Saints also seem to be a good match. Odell Beckham Jr. would not only be able to return to his home state of Louisiana, but he would also be able to play under one of football’s most creative offensive brains.
After dealing with all of the Michael Thomas controversy this summer, it’s possible Sean Payton won’t want to add another high-maintenance receiver to his squad.
Pro Football Reference provided all statistics. Spotrac provided all contract information.
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