The Cleveland Browns made the boldest move of the offseason when they sent first- and third-round picks, plus a starting safety, to the New York Giants in exchange for All-Pro wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., one of the best young talents at the position in the NFL.
Beckham would pair with his former college teammate, Jarvis Landry, to give young franchise quarterback Baker Mayfield a pair of Pro Bowl wide receivers to work with. Mayfield, last year’s first-overall pick, set a rookie record with 27 passing touchdowns, though he started only 13 games.
Reportedly, Beckham had no idea he would be traded—if memory serves, he even said something to the effect that if the Giants were going to trade him, they should have done it last year—so it is a much different scenario than what the Pittsburgh Steelers faced with Antonio Brown. But the results so far have been similar.
Both of them have spent valuable practice time away from the team. Especially Beckham. In fact, he has spent about one day at the facility all offseason, and has yet to make an appearance at OTAs for new Head Coach Freddie Kitchens. And he’s starting to get testy about it.
When a reporter asked the rookie head coach yesterday what Beckham was missing by not showing up, he said that he was missing “a lot”, before adding, point blank, “the offense”.
The Browns will carry out their final OTA practice today, and there is no indication that Beckham will be there, so it’s likely that he will have skipped all of the voluntary practices before he finally shows up. Their mandatory minicamp begins next week.
Not only is Beckham not around, Landry has also been sidelined with a minor injury, which has not been great for Mayfield and the offense as they try to install new ideas. Kitchens became the team’s interim offensive coordinator halfway through last season, and he hired Todd Monken this offseason to be the offensive coordinator, so there are a lot of new ideas to work on.
Beckham attended seven of the Giants’ 10 OTA practices last year. At the time, he was playing the good citizen as he was looking for a new contract, which he eventually got in late August, making him the highest-paid wide receiver in NFL history.
Like Steelers beat writers, Giants beat writers are experiencing a bit of schadenfreude as they watch the former star wide receivers’ new employers slowly grow a sense of buyer’s remorse. But of course it’s all very early, and still in the voluntary portions of the offseason. Beckham still has plenty of time to write—and right—the narrative being created around him as he begins the second chapter of his career in Cleveland.