With 22 days to go until the window for making 2021 trades closes, it’s impossible not to wonder whether the Browns will be looking to make a move.
It wouldn’t be a move to make the team better for the playoff run. It would be a move to close the book on a chapter that, in hindsight, the Browns never should have opened.
It’s never worked for Odell Beckham Jr. and the Browns. In 2019, his presence (and his unrelenting desire to have the football thrown his way) made things difficult for quarterback Baker Mayfield. (The selection of Freddie Kitchens to be the team’s head coach didn’t help matters.) Last year, new coach Kevin Stefanki was getting OBJ more involved in the game, and he had a great performance against the Cowboys, with 73 rushing yards and a touchdown and 81 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns, including a score on a throw from Jarvis Landry.
This year, Beckham missed the first two games of the season as he continued to recover from a torn ACL suffered in Week Seven last season. In Week Three against the Bears, Beckham had five catches for 77 yards and one rushing attempt for 10. In Week Four at Minnesota, Beckham had two catches for 27 yards on seven targets, with Mayfield and OBJ failing to connect on multiple occasions when Beckham clearly was open.
On Sunday, a 42-point outburst included only two catches for 20 yards on three targets. In contrast, tight end David Njoku was targeted seven times. Receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones was targeted six times. Receiver Rashard Higgins was targeted five times. Running back Kareem Hunt was targeted six times.
Beckham, for whatever reason, has become an afterthought in the offense. Indeed, his name didn’t even come up during post-game press conferences conducted by coach Kevin Stefanski and Mayfield.
If there’s a taker for the balance of his $14.5 million salary, the Browns would be crazy not to consider making a move. They don’t need him. Someone else may think they do. And Beckham may be quietly pining for a chance to go to a place where he can do more than be an overpaid decoy.
With three weeks and one day to go, it makes sense to be watching and waiting for a suitor to emerge. Especially if a contender with a great quarterback loses a key receiver to injury. For the Browns, anything they’d get for Beckham would be more than what they’re currently getting from him now.