Prior to the 2019 season, the Cleveland Browns were the talk of the town. They made big offseason moves, stockpiling at every position with the hopes of making a playoff run and turning the league upside down. Unfortunately for the Browns, their 2019 season was a flop, in typical Cleveland fashion.
One of their biggest FA pickups last year, was the hot-headed Odell Beckham Jr., who is one of the best receivers in the game when he is calm and composed. However, he was not able to consistently produce at the level the Browns were expecting him to, scoring only four receiving touchdowns on the year.
When Beckham is on, he is an absolute nightmare of a receiver to cover. However, with the combination of QB struggles and locker room turbulence, Odell was not able to hone it in and perform at an All-Pro level last year.
Whether or not his lack of production was because of a perceived attitude problem, a player with an up-and-down personality like Odell, does not seem like a long-term recipe for success when you combine it with Baker Mayfield. It only seems like an outburst is waiting to happen, the longer those two stay in a locker room together. After being so willing to publicly criticize Eli Manning’s play while he was in New York, who knows how long it would take until Odell does the same towards Baker if they stay together?
At this point, the Browns should trade Beckham before any more damage is done. It seems like playing with Baker will only hold him back from impacting games the way he should, and last year’s stats showed that. With the NFL Draft advancing, there’s still a chance for the Browns to pick up something valuable for him. Who would be the best potential suitor for Odell? Potentially the New England Patriots? Doesn’t sound like a bad move to me, and NFL analysts are getting behind that idea as well.
After a season that saw Tom Brady’s numbers decline due to an underdeveloped receiving corps, Odell would help fill that void in New England’s offense. With the departure of their longtime signal-caller in Brady, the Patriots could use as many receivers as they can get in order to alleviate pressure off of their next QB’s shoulders; whoever that next QB may be.
Julian Edelman will be 34 years old once the 2020 NFL season starts (if there is an NFL season this year, but that’s another story), and he could use another elite receiver to take some attention off of him. Just imagine that combo. There’s also a chance for a young receiver like N’Keal Harry to learn from one of the best wideouts in the game, after he struggled as a rookie.
Lastly, if there’s anyone who can make a “diva” wide receiver settle down, it’s Bill Belichick. He worked with Randy Moss and got him closer to a Super Bowl than any other coach could. He got Antonio Brown to shut up for a few days while he was still on his path of self-destruction; long enough for him to play a game with them. If Belichick can work with Odell and keep him level-headed, there’d be a good argument for New England to win the AFC East and return to playoff form, post-Brady.