There was a brief bit of excitement in the rumor mill around the AFC North yesterday when a report surfaces that the Cleveland Browns were in talks with the Minnesota Vikings to send wide receiver Odell Beckham up north, reportedly in exchange for second- and fifth-round draft picks.
Mary Kay Cabot quickly shut that down. She contacted a source in the Vikings organization about the rumor, who came back with a one-world response, saying simply, “false”.
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) April 15, 2020
Of course, it should be pointed out that the New York Giants denied having interest in trading Beckham last year before they, you know, traded him to the Browns, for, if memory serves, first- and third-round draft picks plus a former first-round pick in safety Jabrill Peppers. They had just signed him to a big extension, and the GM said they didn’t give him that money just to turn around and trade him.
Then they did. And Beckham has had his history over the course of the 2019 season of expressing some level of displeasure with the way things were going in Cleveland. There were multiple instances in which he declined to say he would be back in 2020, even though he was under contract, and reportedly was asking to be traded mid-season.
However, by the end of the year, he was starting to say the right things. There is some level of belief that he was among the players who pushed the owners to fire Freddie Kitchens as head coach after just one year on the job—who ironically has since been hired by the Giants—and he appears to be on board with new head coach Kevin Stefanski.
It will be a while before they can do anything together, of course. There isn’t even any certainty that we will see football this year, truth be told, although one can only hope that will be the case later on this year, as it would be a much-needed distraction at a time when they might be hard to come by.
Despite playing all 16 games last season, Beckham only caught 74 passes in his first season in Cleveland, gaining 1035 yards with four touchdowns, and was not named to the Pro Bowl. But he played the entire season through a groin injury, which he had surgically repaired in the offseason.
Given what the team gave up for him, it goes without saying that they have much bigger expectations for him going forward. The 27-year-old is one of the most talented and gifted wide receivers in the entire league, and he should help Baker Mayfield take Cleveland’s offense to another level that hasn’t been seen before. That’s why they went out and got him in the first place.