Ever since the blockbuster trade that sent Odell Beckham Jr. to the Browns last month, reports have trickled in that have allowed us to piece together how the deal ultimately unfolded. But in an excellent piece that examines the timeline of the trade in detail, Pat McManamon and Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com provide a comprehensive look at what is likely to be the biggest blockbuster of the offseason, which could have massive ramifications on both of the league’s conferences.
The entire piece is worth a read, but the highlights are below (some of this has already been reported, but it helps put everything in context):
- The Browns had been monitoring the Beckham situation as far back as March 2018 — before OBJ signed his five-year, $90MM extension with the Giants — but New York had made it clear that it would not trade Beckham for less than two first-round picks. Since Cleveland was holding the No. 1 and No. 4 overall selections last year and was unwilling to part with either, no discussions ever took place between the two clubs.
- But OBJ’s relationship with the Giants deteriorated throughout the 2018 campaign, so the Browns kept Beckham in mind, knowing that if there was even a one percent chance New York could be persuaded to pull the trigger, Cleveland would try to break down the door. The fact that Browns GM John Dorsey and Giants GM Dave Gettleman have been friends for 37 years was certainly a major factor in pushing the deal along.
- Gettleman did call the Bills early last month to discuss OBJ after Buffalo reportedly showed interest in acquiring Antonio Brown, but the Bills’ involvement in the Beckham sweepstakes was so minimal that the idea never reached head coach Sean McDermott‘s desk.
- On the other hand, Gettleman did have numerous conversations with 49ers GM John Lynch — who wanted OBJ badly — over the course of a few weeks. Lynch was willing to swap 2019 first-round picks with the Giants (No. 2 for No. 6), but he was not willing to give up the No. 2 pick and leave his team with no selections in the first round, so that became the sticking point in the deal.
- Ultimately, the Browns got word that the 49ers were in serious pursuit of Beckham, so Dorsey decided it was time to act. When the Giants and Browns were discussing a deal for Olivier Vernon, Dorsey brought up Beckham, and the trade came together shortly thereafter.