In theory, Pro Bowl wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. has reason to be happy after he was traded to a team that is generally bad to a team that was better last season, and who is projected to be even better this year and going forward—with his own play being a key factor in that improvement.
In actuality, it was traded from the New York Giants, one of the premiere franchises in the NFL, to the Cleveland Browns, who have spent the previous 50 some odd years as the butt of an awful lot of jokes, some involving defecation (e.g. ‘taking the Browns to the Super Bowl’ as a euphemism for, you know…).
According to his now-former teammate, Penn State alumnus running back Saquon Barkley, Beckham was none too pleased about the fact that he was traded when he talked to the wide receiver soon after being told the news.
“We talked over Facetime, he had just gotten traded, so I don’t think he was really happy about it”, he said last week while he was in attendance at Penn State’s Pro Day. “He just gave me some advice about how to handle stuff in the league. He was the same old big brother to me that he’s always been”.
The 12th-overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, Beckham has recorded 390 receptions in 59 games through his first five seasons, registering 5476 receiving yards with 44 touchdowns. He is a averaging 92.9 yards per game for his career, which is the second-highest average ever behind Julio Jones.
Last season, while limited to 12 games, he caught 77 passes for 1052 yards and six touchdowns. He played in only four games the year before due to injury, during which he caught 25 passes for 302 yards and three touchdowns.
Beckham told the NFL Network’s Kim Jones soon after he was traded that the news was “bittersweet” and that he had “not idea what to think” at the time, adding, “I’m still trying to process it right now”.
In football terms, however, while the Browns still have a lot to prove, it’s very easy to see this trade in his perspective as going to a team that is heading in the wrong direction with a quarterback on his last legs to a team very much on the ascent and with a young quarterback primed to take off.
He only experienced the postseason once in his five seasons with the Giants—in fact, they only won more than six games once during his tenure there—but the Browns seem to be very much in the mix in 2019.
Again, they still have to go out there and prove it. But on paper, this is clearly the best team that Cleveland has fielded in at least a decade-plus, with arguably no obvious holes, especially on a rebuilt offense and along their defensive line, which includes the prominent additions of Sheldon Richardson and fellow former Giant Olivier Vernon.