Browns want everyone (especially OBJ) to believe they weren’t discussing a potential OBJ trade

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During the first 24 hours after Marc Malusis of WFAN reported that the Vikings and the Browns were discussing a potential trade that would have sent receiver Odell Beckham Jr. from Cleveland to Minnesota, the Browns had nothing to say. Since then, they’ve done whatever they can to make sure people (specifically, Beckham) believe there was nothing to it.

“I will just say it was completely false,” Browns chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta told reporters on Thursday regarding the report of OBJ trade talks. “It is frustrating a little bit, obviously. I think it is pretty clear what we are trying to build at this point. We have done an awful lot in free agency. We are excited about what we have a chance to do in the draft, and we are really building around a core of players that we think have a chance to be a championship-caliber core. The idea that we would take away from that core at this moment just does not make a whole lot of sense and is really not something that we are exploring at all. It is completely false.”

OK, fine. It’s completely false. DePodesta said so on Thursday. So why then did someone leak to Adam Schefter of ESPN on Sunday the same stuff that DePodesta said three days ago?

“Source,” proclaimed Schefter on Twitter, “the Browns haven’t had any discussions this off-season about trading WR Odell Beckham Jr., despite all the speculation that Cleveland could move him. ‘That’s the truth,’ said team source.”

Well, if an unnamed team source hiding behind a veil of anonymity says it’s the truth, you can take that to the bank and try to cash it like it’s, well, a check without a signature on it.

(Some may wonder why Schefter agreed to pass along a clear and unequivocal denial from someone who wouldn’t attach his or her name to it. It’s called “playing the game.” And “playing the game” is critical to, for example, getting a head’s up on a transaction five minutes before it’s announced by the team.)

Malusis, for his part, reiterated his claim during his Friday show.

“What I reported did happen,” Malusis said. “I have not blinked. I contacted my source after I first reported it. His response was, ‘Hopefully you did not kill the deal.’ . . .

“By the way, do you really think Paul DePodesta is gonna come out and say, ‘Yes, we were engaged in trade conversations with the Minnesota Vikings’? Or, ‘Yes, we had actively pursued a deal of Odell Beckham Jr.’ or that he was on the trade market? A guy that is as sensitive as Beckham is, and I’ve defended him. But we do know this, Beckham wants to feel the love, from any organization that he’s playing for. . . . Do you think the Browns would ever admit it? . . . If the trade fell through and did not happen do you think Paul DePodesta would ever come out and say . . . that report was true?”

Of course DePodesta wouldn’t admit it, if it were true. And we’ve seen, time and again, teams deny reports like this only to later make the move. And then no one gets upset about it because they understand after the fact that the false denial was strategic and necessary.

So if everyone realizes after the fact that the team was in a must-lie situation, why do so many in the media accept a potential lie at face value before it’s exposed as a lie? Again, it’s called “playing the game,” and the game is played in many ways, whether it’s getting the text message five minutes before the announcement of the Beckham trade is made or receiving cooperation or access from the team that is happy with those who toe the party line, and upset with anyone who had the audacity to point at a pile of something brown and smelly and suggest that it’s quite possibly bullsh-t.

25 responses to “Browns want everyone (especially OBJ) to believe they weren’t discussing a potential OBJ trade

  1. Stop Florio. Whether they are or not it is not worth more than 1300 characters. This is not an unusual occurrence.

  2. So we’ve got the Browns Chief Strategy Officer on the record, along with the preeminent NFL insider with an unidentified source – versus a radio hack with an unidentified source and an internet rumor mill provider who grew up with the Browns as a bitter rival. Pre draft rumors aren’t a place to put any money, but if forced I know where I’d be laying mine.

  3. Well, if an unnamed team source hiding behind a veil of anonymity says it’s the truth
    ===========================================

    It could be a fabricated source for more fake news.

  4. Why do teams constantly employ leakers like this? I would fire anyone who leaked anything out.

  5. Wasn’t it just a year ago that Beckham was saying how much he loved playing with a real quarterback?

    Eli made Beckham look much better than he really is. Too bad beckham didn’t realize it.

  6. It’s ok. Tis the season. Shefty will be working overtime. Probably about 1/20 of the stuff you hear between now and the draft will be wrong. But that means 5% will be right. Just enjoy it. I’ve always said, if the 49ers could trade away Joe Montana after 4 super bowl wins, nobody should get their feelings hurt if they hear their name in a trade rumor. Plus, there’s a tissue shortage, so save those tears.

  7. obj is a great receiver. However he does not fit in really to the Browns new 2 tight end running centric-play action pass offense.

    They should trade him.

  8. Eli made Beckham look much better than he really is. Too bad beckham didn’t realize it.

    Try watching the games bub. When Beckham left New York Eli was done. He no longer had an explosive receiver to cover up the fact that he can’t throw the ball down field. Eli use to throw 5 yard slants and Beckham would do the rest. He’s the most explosive receiver in the NFL. Maybe the Browns should work more slants into their game plan next season. I saw Baker throw him one last year on MNF and Beckham took it 90 yards for a touchdown.

  9. tylawspick6 says:
    April 19, 2020 at 6:07 pm
    Why do teams constantly employ leakers like this? I would fire anyone who leaked anything out.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    There are people who leak and there are sportswriters who lie because nobody can find a leaker that doesn’t exist.

  10. If Browns can trade OBJ they can kill it in this draft. Trade OBJ to Minnesota for Anthony Harris and pick/picks, use those picks plus the 10th pick to move up and get Isaiah Simmons, then use their 2nd pick or move back into the late first round to get their left tackle. Browns get the safety they need plus the most impactful defender in the draft after Chase Young, and a tackle. Off-season won.

  11. Not sure why he should be upset if indeed the Browns were shopping him. a) he likely goes to a better team b) he keeps his same contract c) he gets the hell outta cleveland.

  12. Why does ANYONE (esp. OBJ, if true) give one rats behind about this? EVERY player on every sports team is subject to being traded (short a no-trade provision) and they all know this. Every team official will categorically deny a trade up until the second it’s done. Again, everyone and every player knows this. So why do we waste time, wringing our collective hands and pounding our chests over a reported trade? Who cares? Until it’s done, I and 99.9% of the people don’t care either.

  13. nagyisterrible says:
    April 19, 2020 at 7:41 pm
    Eli made Beckham look much better than he really is. Too bad beckham didn’t realize it.

    Try watching the games bub. When Beckham left New York Eli was done. He no longer had an explosive receiver to cover up the fact that he can’t throw the ball down field. Eli use to throw 5 yard slants and Beckham would do the rest. He’s the most explosive receiver in the NFL. Maybe the Browns should work more slants into their game plan next season. I saw Baker throw him one last year on MNF and Beckham took it 90 yards for a touchdown.

    =======

    Ok. I will concede, bub.

    Then what does that say about Mayfield? Using your argument, Mayfield must be truly terrible. Not even Beckham could make mayfield look good.

  14. The bill on this team they’ve created will be coming due someday soon. Wait til Garrett, Mayfield, Chubb, Ward, Greedy and Landry are all holding out for that next contract…

    It’s going to be a fire sale Dolphins-style.

  15. While I could see the Browns shopping OBJ to see what they could get. And it makes sense Stefanski would talk to the Vikings about it since they traded Diggs. I have a hard time believing the Vikings had any true interest in acquiring OBJ.

  16. georgiavol91 says:
    April 20, 2020 at 9:59 am
    Anyone else see OBJ as turning into AB Lite?
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    He’s been just that for a couple years now

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