25 Quick Hits: Breaking down Odell Beckham Jr. being traded to the Browns

Sports Illustrated

On the evening of Tuesday, March 13, 2019, at 7:57 p.m. EST, the NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported that New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was being traded to the Cleveland Browns. Let’s try and put this into words — Quick Hits Edition:

  1. Tuesday, March 13, 7:59 p.m. EST: I made myself look like a fool. I was in the middle of working out when I looked down at my phone and saw the notification. Odell Beckham Jr. was being traded to the Cleveland Browns. I left the Corbo Center at John Carroll University immediately, almost in a rush as if it was an emergency. I could not open Twitter fast enough. I looked like a fool except that was not the only time I made myself look like a fool because of the fire that never was put out regarding this certain wide receiver.
  2. Wednesday, March 6, 2019, 9:00 p.m. EST: I tweeted out this: “I hate to kill the vibe here, but what exactly makes everyone think that Odell Beckham Jr. is available? It’s the same thing as Julio Jones, DeAndre Hopkins, and Mike Evans. None of them are being shopped because they don’t need to be. #Giants want OBJ on their team.”
  3. Wednesday, January 2, 2019, 11:48 p.m. EST: From the Giants official Twitter account, “Gettleman: We didn’t sign Odell to trade him.”
  4. I believed New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman. I truly thought that a general manager in the National Football League would not trade one of the 10 best non-quarterbacks in the NFL. That would make sense, wouldn’t it? Especially after he signed a 5-year, $90M contract extension to remain a Giant. Oh, and they also have one of the best running backs in football … Saquon Barkley. And a young athletic former first-round pick tight end, Evan Engram. Trade for Josh Rosen, draft Dwayne Haskins … or hell, even sign Ryan Tannehill. You pretty much have yourself a damn good football team (at least at the offensive skill position) and one that should compete for a division title. Well, not so much anymore.
  5. Two thank you’s … One: To Pat Shurmur. According to a report from the New York Daily News, Shurmur wanted to trade Beckham. Another thank you: Gettleman. Not only did you trade one of the three best receivers in the NFL, but you also did so for a first round pick, third round pick, and Jabrill Peppers.
  6. I get it. “OBJ” is seen as a headcase. Why would you want a guy like that on your football team? Well, here is why: In 70 seasons as a franchise, the Browns have never had a player record 1,300+ receiving yards and 10+ receiving TD in a single season. In his first 5 seasons, Odell Beckham has done so three times (NFL Research.)
  7. The moment Baker Mayfield trotted out onto the field on Thursday Night Football against the New York Jets and won the Browns their first game since Christmas Eve of 2017, the whole dynamic of the franchise has changed. 
  8. Okay, of course, it did not happen that fast but that is where it began. Mayfield would go onto win six games for the Orange and Brown, break the rookie passing touchdown record, and eventually get some running backs coach named Freddie Kitchens (that no one had heard of just five months ago) arguably the most coveted head coaching gig in the NFL. Better yet, Mayfield did all of this while revitalizing a whole city and football franchise. He became a superstar. And most importantly, he became a franchise quarterback.
  9. Mayfield is special. He has that “IT” factor. He gets it. He gets us. He gets Cleveland. That is why as soon as it became apparent that he was the guy, the whole plan changed.
  10. This was what we were working with here. A 1-31 football team with an unclear direction of where this team was heading. A lawyer was the “general manager” and Hue Jackson was the “head coach.” A disaster. Then, John Dorsey came in and he made this football team competitive; And he did so with a 6’1” cocky, fiery, and outspoken quarterback named Baker.
  11. Now that the Browns have him as their quarterback, Dorsey is not messing around. He is wasting no time to “awake the sleeping giant.” And if you are wondering why now, his quarterback is on a rookie contract. One that makes it possible to make moves such as this one.
  12. They are wasting no time. It is time to win now. The AFC is full of teams that are “re-building” (Buffalo, Cincinnati, Denver, Miami, New York, Oakland,), teams that will be giving it their ‘one last go around’ (Jacksonville, Los Angeles New England, Pittsburgh),  a few wild cards — pun intended (Baltimore, Tennessee), and three teams that are just as hungry as the Browns (Indianapolis, Houston, and Kansas City).
  13. The time is now. Brady is not going to live forever; The Texans are a few pieces away; The Chiefs defense is very poor; the Colts are just a good football team. The script seems perfectly written for a plot twist and that plot twist is the Cleveland Browns.
  14. So what exactly are the Browns getting in Odell Beckham Jr.?
  15. Beckham is in the argument as one of the NFL’s best receivers. He is good … crazy good. He has put up crazy numbers with Eli Manning as his quarterback and has been one of the NFL’s most dangerous weapons since his rookie year (2014). In 59 games with Manning, Beckham has averaged 92.8 receiving yards per game, 6.6 receptions per game, and 0.75 touchdowns per game. That stat-line is quite impressive, including a few games that he left early due to injury.
  16. Before making the deal for Beckham, the Browns resided in the category of potentially being pretty good and making the playoffs. Now, they have arguably one of the most feared offenses in all of football.
  17. OBJ was exactly what the doctor ordered. Potentially one final piece to the puzzle to making the Browns a championship contender. They have their star quarterback, their star pass rusher, their star cornerback, and an all-around good football team behind them. But, they were missing that one piece. That playmaker that could take over games and dominate every single week. Kareem Hunt could be that guy, Nick Chubb has the tools, and even Jarvis Landry can string together some pretty good games but not one of those players can legitimately take over a game like Beckham. They have their star receiver.
  18. A few stats from Pro Football Focus:
    1. The 6th highest graded receiver in 2018
    2. The 5th highest graded receiver in 2016
    3. The 5th highest graded receiver in 2015
    4. The 2nd highest graded receiver in 2014


  1. 8th most yards per route ran in 2018
  2. 5th most yards per route ran in 2016
  3. 3rd most yards per route ran in 2015
  4. 3rd most yards per route ran in 2014


  1. 14th in drop percentage in 2018
  2. 32nd in drop percentage in 2016
  3. 6th in drop percentage in 2015
  4. 4th in drop percentage in 2014
  1. Some numbers from Pro Football Reference:
  1. 77 receptions, 1,052 receiving yards, six touchdowns in 2018 (12 games)
  2. 101 receptions, 1,367 receiving yards, 10 touchdowns in 2016 (16 games)
  3. 96 receptions, 1, 450 receiving yards, 13 touchdowns in 2015 (15 games)
  4. 91 receptions, 1,305 receiving yards, 12 touchdowns in 2014 (12 games)
  1. Not only is Beckham one of the best receivers in the NFL, but he is also consistent. Better yet, he has done it all with bad quarterback play and little talent around him. Now, he comes to Cleveland with a really good quarterback and plenty of other guys that can make plays beside him.
  2. Just imagine trying to scheme for the Browns offense. Beckham is on the outside, Callaway as the No. 2, Landry in the slot, Njoku moving all around the field at tight end, and a backfield featuring Chubb, Hunt, and Duke Johnson. The best part of it all, you can shadow Beckham with a safety over the top but he is still going to produce. He has done it his whole career. The more attention he draws, the more opportunity for others. And he is still nearly guaranteed 100 yards and a touchdown every game. That is how good he is.
  3. Now that Beckham joins his best friend and former teammate in Landry and his former wide receivers coach in Adam Henry, this group has a chance to become really special. Beckham and Landry often spend nearly the entire off-season together. Their relationship is quite strong evident through the amount of push they have for each other beyond expectations to become better football players. These two will now be doing it year round and with the mindset of winning football games for the Cleveland Browns inside them.
  4. The icing on the cake is guys like Callaway and Njoku will continue to develop. All eyes will be elsewhere, allowing those two young players to shine while continuing to learn behind Beckham and Landry.
  5. Courtesy of 92.3 the fan’s Keith Britton — This comes from Shaun O’Hara last night on the NFL Network,  “I think Baker, Jarvis and Odell, they talk the same language. They are going to be thick as thieves to use an expression.” And that’s the scary part. They are all going to clique. They all have the potential to become one of the most feared offenses in recent memory.
  6. The Cleveland Browns are for real, folks. Buckle up, strap in, and get ready for the roller coaster ride. The road to Miami starts now.