The Cleveland Browns went 5-2 with wide receiver Odell Beckham healthy last season. They went 8-4, including the postseason, without him. Many made the argument that they were better when he wasn’t on the field. That is something that the team has to consider this offseason, seeing that they had success after his injury last year and indicating that they don’t actually need him.
A former All-Pro, Beckham was first acquired by the Browns in 2019 from the New York Giants, and they gave a substantial sum to bring him in, aside from the financials that he would be due. They sent New York first- and third-round draft picks as well as Jabrill Peppers, a young starting safety and former first-round draft pick himself.
Over the past two seasons in Cleveland, in 23 games played, Beckham has caught 97 passes for 1354 yards and seven touchdowns. Obviously, those are not exactly All-Pro numbers, and now he is coming back from a torn ACL. He is due nearly $16 million in 2021, the majority of which becomes fully guaranteed if he is on the roster on March 12, according to Over the Cap.
“In terms of the first half and the second half of the season, I do think that there is an element of our offense just evolved over the course of the year”, Browns general manager Andrew Berry said of the notion that the team played better without Beckham. “Part of that is just chemistry, time on task or you name it. That is really independent of Odell”.
“I have said it multiple times, Odell is a good football player”, he added. “He acclimated nicely with our program, with Kevin and with his teammates. Quite honestly, I just want as many good football players on the roster as possible. He is dynamic”.
The wide receiver, who tore his ACL in late October, is in a good place as far as his rehab work goes, Berry said, and added that he also seems to be in a good place mentally, and that they are optimistic about where he is.
Cleveland’s offense is still predicated on its two-back set between Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, both of them former Pro Bowlers, and both of whom are capable receivers out of the backfield, and willing blockers to boot.
With that said, the passing game still needs some work, or so it seems. That may depend on which Odell Beckham they may be getting back in 2021, assuming that the team opts to retain him. Beckham and Jarvis Landry is a good pairing, but it didn’t get them any better than 6-10 in 2019. With the improvements made since then, will it be enough to win the division in 2021?