Browns pull off blockbuster trade for Odell Beckham Jr.
|Toronto Star 12 Mar 2019 at 23:06|
Two weeks ago, general manager John Dorsey opined the Browns weren’t ready for him to make a huge power play for a superstar player like Odell Beckham Jr.
“Let’s build a foundation here,” Dorsey said Feb. 28 at the NFL scouting combine. “Let’s build a team of substance. OK?
In one of the biggest blockbuster trades in the team’s history, the Cleveland Browns have acquired wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. from the New York Giants. (Bill Kostroun / Associated Press)
“Last time I saw, we were (7-8-1), and we were in third place in the AFC North. That doesn’t mean you can go for it.”
Well, as it turns out, Dorsey was actually ready to go for it.
The Browns reached an agreement Tuesday night on one of the biggest blockbuster trades in team history to acquire Beckham, a bona fide No. 1 receiver and three-time Pro Bowl selection who’s in the prime of his career.
The Browns will receive Beckham and send the following compensation to the Giants: their first-round pick (No. 17 overall) in April’s draft, one of their third-round selections (No. 95 overall, from New England) and strong safety Jabrill Peppers, a first-round choice (No. 25 overall) in 2017 who started all 29 games in which he appeared the past two seasons.
Now Dorsey has eight picks left at his disposal. The first one is in the second round (No. 49 overall).
Trades cannot be finalized until 4 p.m. Wednesday, when the NFL’s new year begins.
Once the deal is official, Beckham will reunite receiver Jarvis Landry and receivers coach Adam Henry. The three of them were together at Louisiana State University in the same roles.
Beckham will also give quarterback Baker Mayfield his most dangerous weapon yet. They have already developed a friendship. Beckham worked out with Mayfield, Landry and other Browns players last off-season. And Mayfield was photographed dining with Beckham and Denver Broncos edge rusher Von Miller this off-season.
“I’ve become close with Odell because he plays with, obviously, Sterling Shepard (who) I played with in college (at the University of Oklahoma), so he introduced us, and (I’ve) become close with him,” Mayfield said last month at the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards. “And then Von’s obviously Von. He’s a legend. It’s good to get to know those guys outside of the football field and build relationships with them. No, I’m not directly recruiting, but would I complain if they were both here? No, absolutely not.”
Browns players and fans aren’t complaining at all. Actually, they’re flat-out celebrating.
“John Dorsey is officially a genius,” free safety Damarious Randall wrote on Twitter.
Beckham has started 56 of the 59 regular-season games in which he has appeared, racking up 390 catches for 5,476 yards and 44 touchdowns in the five seasons since the Giants drafted him 12th overall in 2014. He has appeared in one playoff game, catching four passes for 28 yards.
In August, the Giants signed him to a five-year, $90 million contract extension, which included $65 million guaranteed. Yet they were willing to ship him away after two injury-plagued seasons and a penchant for creating unwanted headlines, including those prompted by him publicly expressing frustration with quarterback Eli Manning.
Beckham, 26, described leaving the Giants as “bittersweet” in an interview with NFL Network.
“At this point, I have no idea what to think,” he told the network’s Kimberly Jones. “I’m trying to process it right now.”
But Beckham has missed 16 games the past two seasons.
A fractured ankle limited him to four games in 2017, the only season he finished without 1,000 receiving yards (25 catches for 302 yards and three touchdowns). He caught 77 passes for 1,052 yards and six touchdowns last season before sitting out the final four games with a bruised quadriceps.
Still, if Beckham can stay healthy, he could dramatically change the Browns because he has enough talent to help them become a legitimate contender.