There’s a new man running the ship in Ohio, and he has no built-in connections with the previous regime that acquired Odell Beckham Jr. in a blockbuster trade last offseason.
The Cleveland Browns are on the verge of hiring former Minnesota Vikings front office figure George Paton for their vacant general manager job. Paton joins former Vikings offensive coordinator and new Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski in Cleveland.
What this means: Rumors have persisted since a disastrous 2019 season for both the player and his team that Odell Beckham Jr. could be traded this offseason. It’s not an unlikely scenario.
Drama in Cleveland: By now it’s well known that OBJ had issues with former Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens. The Pro Bowler also continues to be a distraction for the Browns.
- Most-recently, Beckham Jr. was hit with an arrest warrant in Florida after “assaulting” a security guard at the College Football National Championship Game.
- Prior to that, OBJ was under scrutiny for handing out lumps of cash to LSU players after his former college team earned the title.
- These are just two recent examples of Beckham popping up on the off-season news wire with actions that don’t paint his Browns in the best of lights.
On the field: It’s worth repeating that both Beckham Jr. and the Browns are coming off horrible 2019 performances. The marriage might not be one worth salvaging.
- Beckham Jr. was still able to record 74 receptions for 1,035 yards in 2019. Though, he scored only four touchdowns and put up the worst statistical performance of his six-year NFL career.
- Having entered the season with Super Bowl aspirations, Cleveland finished at 6-10 and in third place in the AFC North.
- That’s not the type of success the Browns had envisioned when they acquired him in a blockbuster trade back in March.
If on the block: The question would now become what Cleveland could reasonably net for Beckham Jr. in a trade. The scenarios are not too limited.
- The Browns would likely want to move Beckham back to the NFC. It’s akin to when the Giants turned down a similar offer from the 49ers to move OBJ to the AFC.
- That’s where it gets somewhat interesting. Given his $60 million cap hit over the next four seasons and the above-mentioned off-field issues, New York is not getting anywhere near the bounty it gave up in landing OBJ in the first place.
- What does this mean? It’s rather simple. The Browns would demand more if Beckham were moved to the AFC. If he’s moved to that other conference, the asking price likely goes down.
- Cleveland deals Beckham Jr. to the 49ers for Dante Pettis and 2021 first-round pick. San Francisco has made multiple plays for OBJ in the past, offering up more to the Giants than Cleveland last offseason. The team has just one pick in the first four rounds in April. The Browns get a first-rounder the following year and a young receiver.
- Cleveland trades Beckham Jr. to the Packers for 2020 second-round pick and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. The Packers were also in on Beckham last offseason. New York did not want to deal with its conference rivals. As evidenced in their NFC Championship Game loss to the above-mentioned 49ers, these Packers need another weapon outside of Davante Adams. In turn, Cleveland gets a second-rounder and a talented young receiver.
- Cleveland trades Beckham Jr. to the Patriots for 2020 first-round pick and 2020 third-round pick. This is what we’re talking about in terms of value. If the Browns were to even to consider moving OBJ to the receiver-starved Patriots, a return would have to net at least a first-round pick and change. Is this something New England would consider paying given the questionable status of Tom Brady? We’re not too sure.
- Cleveland trades Beckham Jr. to the Raiders for 2020 first-round pick. Las Vegas likely would not have to pay as high of a bounty for OBJ. But one of its two first-round picks would likely be the asking price. Now officially in the desert metropolis, the idea of exciting Las Vegas Raiders fans with OBJ has to be enticing. Let’s not even mention Jon Gruden and his willingness to go out there and make big trades for troubled players.
- Browns trade Beckham Jr. to the Cowboys for Michael Gallup and 2020 third-round pick. If the Browns were to move OBJ, they’d likely be looking for a young receiver in return. Coming off his first 1,000-yard season, the 23-year-old Gallup would provide that for Cleveland. It would also net a third-round pick in return. We’re just not too sure how this would work from Dallas’ perspective, both financially and in terms of compensation.
Despite his off-field issues and the fact that he’s coming off a career-worst season, Beckham Jr. would still be of value on the trade market.
Given Cleveland has a whole new front office structure in place, it would not be a shock to see the team move its star receiver. If that’s the case, a trade to an NFC contender likely makes the most sense.
It’s certainly something to pay attention to as the Super Bowl wraps up the NFL season and the offseason gets going in a few weeks.