Odell Beckham Jr.

Odell Beckham Jr. Remains In Browns’ Plans

While Odell Beckham Jr.‘s stock has taken a hit since his 2019 trade to Cleveland, the star wide receiver has shown flashes during his Browns tenure. The Browns would like to see more.

Beckham is recovering from a midseason ACL tear, and GM Andrew Berry indicated the 28-year-old wideout is progressing well on his road back. As of early March, that road is not slated to lead out of Cleveland. The second-year Browns front office boss indicated the Browns are eager to see Beckham back (Twitter link via cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot). This comes months after a report indicated the seven-year veteran had quite possibly played his final game as a Brown.

The three-time Pro Bowler has previously heard a team commit to him before trading him. The Giants did so in 2019. They shipped him to the Browns in a package that sent Jabrill Peppers and a first-round pick to New York. Thus far, the Giants have gotten the better end of the trade. Beckham and Baker Mayfield have yet to establish a consistent rapport, and OBJ has encountered injuries in each of his two Cleveland slates.

Beckham was previously mentioned in trade rumors going into the 2020 offseason, but Berry shut those down quickly. Any OBJ deal would certainly not produce the kind of return the Giants received in 2019.

Even though Beckham’s contract can be viewed as a year-to-year pact, with the Giants eating a considerable chunk of dead money to unload it, the deal still calls for Beckham to count more than $15MM against the cap from 2021-23. Beckham’s 2021 cap number sits at $15.75MM. It will be interesting to see if the Browns move to adjust it. The Browns managed to reach the divisional round of the AFC playoffs without Beckham, though he remains one of the NFL’s top receiver talents.

Berry also confirmed the team wants to re-sign Rashard Higgins, who did the most to replace Beckham this past season. It doesn’t sound like a deal will be reached before free agency, however, with Berry indicating Higgins will test the market (Twitter link via Cabot). Beckham and Jarvis Landry‘s cap numbers are set to comprise approximately a sixth of Cleveland’s 2021 cap, leaving seemingly little room for a notable Higgins pact.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Rumors: Williams, Chiefs, OBJ, Patriots

Adam Gase insisted the Jets were not trading Quinnen Williams, but that did not stop teams from reaching out about a potential trade. The Jets received inquiries from multiple teams on their standout defensive tackle before last week’s trade deadline, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. Although GM Joe Douglas was not with the team when the Jets selected Williams — during a draft in which Gase was not exactly in lock-step with previous GM Mike Maccagnan — the team views the ex-Alabama prospect’s talent and positional value to be too great to trade. After a less impactful rookie year, Williams has broken through as an NFL sophomore. He has three sacks and seven tackles for loss — already bettering his 2019 numbers.

Here is the latest from the AFC:

  • The ChiefsAndy Reid-era front office has undergone changes, thanks to the executive talent the organization has amassed. Ryan Poles may well be poised to follow Chris Ballard and Brett Veach to a GM job, with Field Yates of ESPN.com noting (via Twitter) the current Chiefs exec is firmly on the GM radar. The Chiefs have twice promoted Poles over the past three years, moving him to college scouting director in 2017 and to assistant player personnel director a year later. Should Poles land a GM job, the Chiefs would be entitled to third-round draft compensation.
  • Odell Beckham Jr. underwent successful ACL surgery Tuesday, the Browns announced. The team expects OBJ to be ready for the 2021 season. It is not certain if the 28-year-old wideout will, in fact, be with the Browns for the ’21 campaign. His through-2023 contract contains no guaranteed money, and his star has certainly fallen since being dealt from New York to Cleveland. Beckham landed in trade rumors last year and this offseason, and rumblings have resurfaced about the Browns dealing the John Dorsey-era acquisition in 2021.
  • When Sony Michel returns from IR, it is unlikely the third-year Patriots back will recapture his previous role. Damien Harris stood out in training camp and has played well since debuting. The 2019 third-round pick should not be expected to lose his lead role in New England’s backfield, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com writes. Harris did suffer a chest injury Monday, but it remains to be seen if the former Alabama back will miss any time. Harris is averaging 5.6 yards per carry this season. While Michel is at 6.7, that is on just 26 totes. The former first-round pick’s career YPC average sits at 4.2.

Injury Updates: T. Brown, Garoppolo, Clowney

Let’s round up a few injury-related items from around the league.

  • Raiders OT Trent Brown is back on the reserve/COVID-19 list, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com says Brown is expected to miss at least a month of action (Twitter link).
  • Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports confirms a report from several days ago that 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo will not require surgery on his injured ankle, but the 29-year-old signal-caller is expected to miss at least a month (Twitter link). The injury further clouds Garoppolo’s uncertain future in San Francisco.
  • Titans edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney is out for today’s game against the Bears. He is dealing with a meniscus issue and may ultimately opt for surgery.
  • The Browns have a bye this week, and next time they’re on the field, they hope to be rejoined by Pro Bowl running back Nick Chubb (Twitter link via Rapoport). Chubb has been dealing with an MCL injury, and though Kareem Hunt and D’Ernest Johnson have played reasonably well in his absence, getting Chubb back will be a big boost to Cleveland’s playoff push.
  • Some may be wondering if WR Odell Beckham has already played his last game for the Browns, as he will miss the rest of the season with an ACL tear and has never really embraced Cleveland. Kim Jones of WFAN reports that OBJ will undergo surgery to repair the ACL on Tuesday (Twitter link).
  • Ravens RB Mark Ingram left Baltimore’s game against the Eagles several weeks ago, and he still has not returned to action. Rapoport says Ingram is dealing with a high-ankle sprain (Twitter link), which explains the multi-week absence. Ingram has been ruled out for today’s game against the Colts, but younger backs Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins may be the better options anyway.
  • When the Eagles return to their facility following this week’s bye, they expect to have RB Miles Sanders back, and they believe WR Alshon Jeffery will be a full participant in practice (Twitter link via Rapoport).

Has Odell Beckham Played His Last Game For The Browns?

The Browns have lost wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. for the season thanks to a torn ACL, and Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network says there is a “very real possibility” that OBJ has played his last game for Cleveland (video link).

Of course, this is not the first time we have heard reports that Beckham’s days with the Browns could be numbered. Towards the end of his disappointing first season in Cleveland in 2019, it was reported that Beckham wanted out and that he had approached opposing players and coaches before (and even during) games and told them, “come get me.” His name cropped up in trade speculation again in the spring, but team sources refuted the notion that OBJ could be on the move, just as they did a few months later.

It would be a stretch to suggest that the Browns are a better team without Beckham, who is a premium talent. But it’s also true that QB Baker Mayfield performed well as a rookie in 2018 without Beckham, struggled in 2019 with him, and was terrific in a win over the Bengals last week after Beckham left the game due to injury. There are a whole host of explanations that have nothing to do with Beckham, but as Rapoport observes, OBJ has never really embraced Cleveland and has never developed a rapport with Mayfield, who often looks as though he is trying to force-feed the ball to his star wideout.

Beckham cannot really be traded until the spring or summer of 2021. $12MM of his 2021 salary will become fully guaranteed in March, before he will be recovered from his ACL injury. After that, though, all of his guarantees will have been paid out, and the rest of his contract looks quite palatable for an interested team (Beckham is due to earn $14.5MM in 2021 and $13.75MM in 2022 and 2023, with $1MM roster bonuses and $250K workout bonuses each season).

So depending on how the rest of the year goes for the Browns — who are sitting at 5-2 and have a very favorable schedule the rest of the way — OBJ may find himself on his third team before the 2021 season begins.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns’ Odell Beckham Jr. Done For Year

Odell Beckham Jr.’s season is over. The Browns star confirmed that he tore his ACL on Sunday against the Bengals (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Josina Anderson). 

Beckham is in his second season with the Browns, and he has yet to live up to expectations in Cleveland. He finished with 1,035 yards and four touchdowns last year, respectable numbers, but easily the worst in his career for a full season. His name has continuously popped up in trade rumors, with the team emphatically shooting down the latest round of speculation just a few weeks ago.

His production so far this season has been relatively disappointing, as the Browns have transitioned to a run-first offense that doesn’t have Mayfield chuck it too much. He didn’t top 81 yards in any of the seven games he’s played in, and outside of one three-touchdown outburst has been mostly quiet. After being forced out early from Sunday’s game, he’ll now be forced to put a lid on his season.

Cleveland traded first and third-round picks, as well as safety Jabrill Peppers and offensive lineman Kevin Zeitler for Beckham and pass-rusher Olivier Vernon back in March of 2019. Beckham is signed through the 2023 season, and there’s no easy escape hatch for the Browns. He’s set to earn $15.75MM in total compensation with $12.971MM guaranteed for injury. That’ll transition to a full guarantee if he’s on the roster the third day of the league year in the spring.

The Browns are 5-2, but they’ll have to forge ahead without their most talented offensive weapon. There should be more targets headed towards Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones, and Taywan Taylor. The Browns may also look to install one of their practice squad receivers on the 53-man roster – either Ja’Marcus Bradley or Elijah Benton.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Odell Beckham Jr. Has Major Knee Injury

The Browns improved to 5-2 for the first time in ages with their thrilling comeback win over the Bengals, but they didn’t escape Cincinnati unscathed. Star receiver Odell Beckham Jr is “feared to have suffered a major injury,” a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link).

Rapoport added that Beckham will have an MRI tomorrow to tell the full story, but that the “early indications aren’t good.” It’s unclear what exactly the injury is, but most often when it’s something serious like an ACL for example the team knows right away from physical exams and the MRI is only for confirmation. Whatever it turns out to be, if Baker Mayfield wants to keep the magic going in Cleveland it sounds like he’s going to have to do it without his top weapon moving forward.

Beckham is in his second season with the Browns, and has had a tumultuous time with the team. He finished with 1,035 yards and four touchdowns last year, respectable numbers, but easily the worst in his career for a full season. His name has continuously popped up in trade rumors, with the team emphatically shooting down the latest round of speculation just a few weeks ago.

His production so far this season has been relatively disappointing, as the Browns have transitioned to a run-first offense that doesn’t have Mayfield chuck it too much. He didn’t top 81 yards in any of the seven games he’s played in, and outside of one three-touchdown outburst has been mostly quiet.

Cleveland traded first and third-round picks, as well as safety Jabrill Peppers and offensive lineman Kevin Zeitler for Beckham and pass-rusher Olivier Vernon back in March of 2019. Beckham is signed through the 2023 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Notes: Garrett, OBJ, Mayfield

On Sunday, Browns defensive end Myles Garrett will face off against the Steelers for the first time since last year’s infamous contest. During the final moments of Cleveland’s win over Pittsburgh last November, Garrett ripped off the helmet of Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph and proceeded to hit him over the head with the object. The fracas resulted in a season-ending suspension for Garrett.

The 2017 first-overall pick told Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com that he considered walking away from the game during his ban.

“I would’ve been OK,” Garrett said. “I love football. I love competing, I love my teammates, and I definitely want to win, but at the end of the day, I’m still a guy. I’m still a young man who has a lot of life to live and my life is much more than football. I just would’ve moved onto something else I enjoy and found another way to save my competitive nature, whether it would’ve been trying out for a basketball team or going to play baseball like [Michael] Jordan.

“I would’ve found something else I love to do, whether I was a writing coach or whatever. I would’ve left with my head held high and I wouldn’t have looked back.”

Garrett hasn’t missed a step following his return to the field. Through the first five games of the 2020 campaign, the 24-year-old has 15 tackles, six sacks, and a league-leading three forced fumbles.

Some more notes out of Cleveland:

  • Garrett also told Cabot that he’d welcome a face-to-face meeting with Randolph. “If it were to happen, I’d be fine with it,” he said. “Not just fine, but I wouldn’t mind it and I’d be happy to make it happen, if there were a way. I’m not sure how I’d go about that, how I’d broach that. I’m not even sure if he’d want to do that but I wouldn’t have a problem sitting down with him and just not talking about the incident, just talking man-to-man, how we move forward, and just being better men and football players and not letting something like that happen again…Whether we can do that, I’m not sure, but I’d be willing to extend the olive branch and make that happen.”
  • Cabot tweets that wideout Odell Beckham Jr. had his second COVID-19 test come back negative today. As a result, he’s been cleared to play against the Steelers tomorrow. The receiver was sent home Thursday after coming down with an illness, and he stayed away from the team facility on Friday. ESPN’s Jake Trotter notes that Beckham continued to participate in meetings remotely. Following a three-touchdown performance in Week 4, Beckham had five receptions for 58 yards during last week’s win over the Colts.
  • After suffering a rib injury during last weekend’s win, Baker Mayfield was a limited participant at practice on Wednesday and Thursday. Fortunately, he was back to full participation on Friday, and despite his questionable tag for tomorrow’s game, it sounds like the quarterback is on track to play. “Like we’ve been saying all along, he’s improving every day,” said head coach Kevin Stefanski (via the team’s website).

Browns (Still) Have No Plans To Trade OBJ

Once again, trade rumors surrounding Browns wideout Odell Beckham Jr. have surfaced. And once again, the team has shut down those rumors.

“It’s totally not true,” a source close to the situation told Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. “No idea where anyone would have gotten that.”

Towards the end of his disappointing first season in Cleveland in 2019, it was reported that Beckham wanted out and that he had approached opposing players and coaches before (and even during) games and told them, “come get me.” His name cropped up in trade speculation again in the spring, but, just as they did today, team sources refuted the notion that OBJ could be on the move.

Indeed, the 27-year-old attended Cleveland’s virtual offseason meetings this year after skipping most of the team’s on-site OTAs in 2019, so the Browns were hopeful that a more engaged and healthier player — Beckham battled core muscle and hip injuries much of last season — would look more like the All-Pro they thought they were getting when they consummated their blockbuster trade with the Giants. But after he recorded just three catches on 10 targets in the team’s Week 1 loss to the Ravens, a game in which Beckham dropped a critical third-down pass, rumors started to swirl anew.

OBJ and quarterback Baker Mayfield showed some rapport during Cleveland’s Week 2 victory over the Bengals on Thursday night, as Beckham posted four catches (on six targets) for 74 yards and a touchdown. It was just one game against an uninspiring Cincinnati defense, but it’s a start.

The 1-1 Browns still boast a roster that, on paper, looks like a playoff contender. Getting the most out of Beckham will be key to a postseason push.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

North Notes: Browns, Ravens, Decker

Before Vinny Curry reached an agreement to sign with the Eagles, he received a better offer from the Browns, Geoff Mosher of InsidetheBirds.com tweets. Curry wanted to stay in Philadelphia, per Mosher, but one-year Eagles exec Andrew Berry — now the Browns GM — made a push to bring the veteran defensive lineman to Cleveland. This does not mark the first time the Browns have submitted what was believed to be the best multiyear offer for a defensive lineman only to wind up not signing him this offseason. They represented Jadeveon Clowney‘s best offer, but the former No. 1 overall pick did not go for it and remains a free agent. The Browns redid Olivier Vernon‘s deal, seemingly taking them out of the Clowney sweepstakes, but still appear to be in the market for D-line help. Cleveland did add Adrian Clayborn earlier this offseason, and he stands to be the top backup to Vernon and Myles Garrett.

Here is the latest from the North divisions, shifting first to a more famous Browns cog:

  • Odell Beckham Jr. made some comments recently that indicated he would not be especially upset if the 2020 season did not happen. “I just feel like the season shouldn’t happen,” Beckham said during an interview with the Wall Street Journal, “and I’m prepared for it to not happen and I wouldn’t mind not having it.” These comments, however, came before the NFL finalized its safety protocols. Beckham did not opt out and is set for his second season with the Browns. After skipping most of the Browns’ voluntary activities last year, Beckham has been engaged in the process this year, Berry said, via the AP’s Tom Withers.
  • The pre-Lamar Jackson Ravens routinely rostered two quarterbacks, but they again plan to carry three this year, John Harbaugh said. The Ravens have Robert Griffin III signed up for a third season in Baltimore, while Trace McSorley enters his second NFL season. Harbaugh indicated the team kept three passers last year because it did not believe McSorely would pass through waivers to the Ravens’ practice squad.
  • Two-plus months after the last Taylor Decker contract update, the Lions are not believed to have discussed an extension with the fifth-year left tackle. They have prioritized a Kenny Golladay re-up over Decker’s, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes. Decker indicated this week the Lions have not made him an offer yet. A new Decker deal would likely cost the Lions north of $16MM annually. Both players are going into contract years. Decker making it through his fifth season without a new deal would make him a franchise tag candidate, though tags will not be as easy to apply next year if the cap plummets as expected.
  • The Packers announced they will not have fans at their first two home games. However, the team will re-evaluate the situation after those two September dates.

AFC North Notes: OBJ, Green, Andrews, Steelers

It’s been almost three years since Odell Beckham Jr. fractured his left ankle, and while the star wideout has yet to return to the Pro Bowl, he’s managed to put up back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. However, in an alternative universe, OBJ may have decided to hang up his cleats following that 2017 campaign.

Appearing alongside Cam Newton, Todd Gurley, and Victor Cruz on his YouTube series The Bigger Picture, Beckham admitted that he almost retired following the injury.

“I said this in college, I said, ‘I fear the day that they make this game a business and not what I love,’” Beckham said. “And when I seen that for the first time after breaking my ankle, like I thought about like not playing no more. Like this is not really it for me because they’ve ruined the game of football for me a little bit.”

OBJ didn’t elaborate on what the Giants did to upset him during that 2017 campaign, although it’s worth noting that the receiver had rushed back from a preseason ankle sprain. The veteran’s tenure with New York ended last offseason when he was traded to the Browns, and the 27-year-old proceeded to appear in all 16 games for the first time since 2016.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the AFC North…

  • When we learned yesterday that A.J. Green wasn’t going to sign an extension with the Bengals, it was made clear that he’ll willingly play the 2020 season under the franchise tag. Of course, that could be temporary lip service; since the wideout hasn’t signed the tender, he could skip training camp and preseason and still earn his full salary. However, as Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com notes, until Green officially signs the tender, the Bengals have the ability to rescind the franchise tag. This would save the organization almost $18MM, and while it’d be a somewhat unprecedented move, Florio notes that “in an unprecedented year, it’s impossible to rule anything out.”
  • The Steelers have made some changes to their coaching staff. As Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com passes along, Blaine Stewart is now the assistant wide receivers coach and Denzel Martin is now the assistant outside linebackers coach. The duo had previously served as coaching assistants. The organization also shook up their scouting department, promoting Chidi Iwuoma from BLESTO scout to a college scouting position and Dennis MacInnis from scouting intern to BLESTO scout.
  • While Ravens tight end Mark Andrews has Type 1 diabetes, he made it clear that he won’t be opting out of the 2020 season due to health concerns. “We’ve got a big year coming up,” Andrews said (via Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com). “I want to be able to do a lot of things, and … just being able to help this team win is exciting for me.” The former third-rounder earned his first Pro Bowl nod last season after hauling in 64 receptions for 852 yards and 10 touchdowns.