By KALLE SORBO
It was the trade heard round the world. Rumors had been building for over a month spurred on by Jay Glazer and his take that Odell Beckham Jr. would be traded this offseason. Giants GM Dave Gettleman stayed course and denied all trade rumors. “We didn’t sign Odell to trade him,” Gettleman said. The Giants had signed him to a five year $90 million dollar extension just 9 months before. The Giants made Odell the highest paid wide receiver in football, and shelled out a $20 million signing bonus to do so. It made no financial sense to trade their star wideout. The trade would be a cap nightmare, and an admission to the mistake of signing him to an extension. Despite all that the rumors persisted.
Then it happened. The news broke that Odell Beckham Jr. was traded to the Cleveland Browns for 1st round pick, a 3rd round pick, and Cleveland safety Jabrill Peppers. The deal had been done. Odell Beckham Jr. was no longer a New York Football Giant. The Giants had gotten value back for the star, but was it enough? Odell Beckham Jr. is one of the league’s best players. If his production keeps up he is a walking Hall of Famer. Team’s don’t trade players of that stature unless they’re led by Jon Gruden. The trade doesn’t make sense, but it happened. So let’s try to make some sense out of it.
The Browns gave up a lot of capital to acquire Odell, but after years and years of acquiring picks, and trying to play football with a moneyball approach, the Browns were done. Browns GM John Dorsey said screw it I want to put a ton of legit players on this team. It has turned scary. The Browns offense is now as follows:
QB- Baker Mayfield
WR- Jarvis Landry
WR- Odell Beckham Jr.
WR- Antonio Callaway
TE- David Njoku
RB- Nick Chubb
RB- Kareem Hunt
There are some questions about the offensive line in the post Joe Thomas era, but the offensive talent on paper is undeniable. It’s a lot of personalities to fit together in one locker room, and rookie Head Coach Freddie Kitchens has his work cut out for him, but on paper this should be one of the best offenses in football. Add in the defensive talent of Myles Garrett, Denzel Ward, and recently acquired from the Giants, Olivier Vernon. The Browns are stacked. There are holes, as their is with every roster, but one thing has become clear: The Browns are here to stay.
Odell Beckham will now line up with Jarvis Landry, his best friend in the whole world. The two played together at LSU. If there is anyone Odell will be okay splitting targets with it’s Landry. Baker Mayfield didn’t start a full season and set the rookie record for passing TD’s in a season. The Browns are all in, and perhaps for the first time since the team came back to Cleveland, have expectations.
The Browns are the favorites to win the AFC North next year, and have the third highest superbowl odds in Vegas of any team.. As I said earlier there are a lot of personalities in the locker room to manage, but there was in LA last year as well. Winning proves to be the cure all for everything. There is also a rookie head coach, but head coach success is often tied to quarterback play. Baker Mayfield is the truth, and him and Kitchens seem to have such a good relationship that Dorsey promoted a position coach/ interim first time coordinator to head coach. If I were a betting man I would say there was a reason for that. Freddie Kitchens may not look the head coach part like Sean McVay, Kliff Kingsbury, or Kyle Shanahan, but neither does Andy Reid. The Browns are in talks by analysts to win the division next year. They certainly have the most talent.
The puzzling part of the trade is not from the Browns side of things. That much is obvious. Why did the Giants make this deal? There are a couple of reasons.
GM Dave Gettleman always likes to build his team’s from the inside out. Which is why he traded for an offensive guard earlier this offseason. It doesn’t explain why the team is still tying themselves to Eli Manning, but that’s a different column. Spending that many team resources on a Wide Receiver when a team is rebuilding doesn’t necessarily make sense in Gentlemans eyes. Plus he got young talent in return. A mid round 1st, a 3rd, and a good, but not great, safety is not great return on investment if you ask me, but Gettleman thought it was enough. In his eyes he got two 1sts and a 3rd. Jabrill Peppers would not garner a 1st round pick in a trade right now, but let Gettleman have his fun. If the draft goes correctly the GM should get three starters in return for Odell. They could also be loading up on draft capital to move up and grab a Quarterback if necessary.
There are things that just don’t add up about this trade though. If Gettleman is building things from the inside out, and commiting to a rebuild, why did he take Saquon Barkley with the #2 overall pick last year instead of drafting Sam Darnold who is about to light up New York for the other team in the Giants own Stadium. If they are going to rab a young QB this year, playmaking offensive weapons are a young QB’s best friends. The best case scenario is that they draft a player who they want to extend and turns in to a playmaker like Odell. But why take that risk when you have Odell?
There was a growing sentiment inside the Giants building that Odell just wasn’t worth the headache. The team’s offense wasn’t necessarily better without him, but the team as a whole might be. Odell was a negative presence, and Saquon was the opposite. They wasn’t a more positive culture, and believed moving on from Odell was the best way to do that.
That is all well, but they didn’t have to sign him to an extension last offseason. They didn’t have to shell out so much cash in a signing bonus and they didn’t have to take over $20 million in dead cap over the next two years for him. There are arguments to be made for why the Giants did this, but there is no way to sugarcoat it. This trade is a disaster for the New York Football Giants.
The Browns are here to stay, and that means there is a vacancy for the laughing stock of the NFL. Every team is just one move away from becoming the new Browns… It’s ironic that the trade was with the Browns, because for the Giants this trade might have been that move. I’m sorry Giants fans, but things aren’t looking good for Big Blue.