So, things are certainly going well in Cleveland right now. After winning Offseason Super Bowl LIV, the Cleveland Browns are at very high risk of instead recording its 12th consecutive non-losing season, and potentially its 12th consecutive losing season. They are now sitting at 5-7, and they still have to play the Baltimore Ravens, plus two divisional matchups with the Cincinnati Bengals, which potentially could be competitive.
Arguably the single biggest piece of the Browns’ Offseason title in 2019 was the acquisition of former New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., for whom they traded first- and third-round selections in addition to former first-round safety Jabrill Peppers, a starter.
Beckham has rewarded Cleveland’s dedication for success by hauling in a legendary 57 passes for 802 yards and two touchdowns. While he is, just slightly, on pace to record a 1000-yard season, it’s fair to say he’s not even making the Pro Bowl this year. In fact, for the first time in his entire career, he has gone six consecutive games without a 100-yard effort.
And he’s sounding thrilled about it all. Asked about his future yesterday, Beckham gave a rambling answer that essentially amounted to an ‘iunno’.
“No one knows what the future holds, like tomorrow. I couldn’t tell you what’s going to happen”, he began. “I couldn’t sit here and tell you whether I’m going to be here, want to be here, don’t want to be here. This is exactly where I’m at now, and I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else”.
What I can sit here and tell you is that that’s among the last things Jimmy Haslam wants to hear. If arguably your most star of star players is speaking publicly by saying that he doesn’t even know if he’ll want to be here next season, that is, um, a problem.
Just ask the Pittsburgh Steelers, who watched Antonio Brown and his accomplice, a suspiciously blonde mustache, weasel his way out of town, in a move that ultimately proved to be for the best, considering what’s gone on in his life since then.
The point is, however, that he set the precedent for star players wielding the power to force their way out of town. Beckham is under contract through the 2023 season with the Browns, but because he was a trade acquisition, they wouldn’t accrue any dead money should they part with him.
I don’t know if Beckham meant to say or convey what he actually did, which was ambiguity as to whether or not he intends to play for the Browns in 2020. Players often ramble and say more than they intend to say, and he has certainly done that in the past. It is a bit of an awkward situation, however, and it wouldn’t be surprising if some of his teammates have asked him or will ask him about it.