Antonio Brown had been the talk of the NFL off-season until a different superstar wide receiver stepped into the limelight Tuesday evening when it was announced Odell Beckham Jr. was being traded from the New York Giants to the Cleveland Browns.
The blockbuster move, first reported by Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network, will see the Browns send the 17th-overall pick from this year’s NFL Draft to the Giants, plus an additional third-round pick and starting safety Jabrill Peppers in exchange for OBJ.
It’s a hefty price compared to the third- and fifth-round selections the Oakland Raiders gave up to acquire Brown from the Pittsburgh Steelers, but considering Beckham is a 26-year-old just entering the prime of his career it could end up looking like a bargain.
Beckham is leaving a Giants team on a downward trajectory and joining a Browns squad that was the laughing stock of the league less than one calendar year ago.
Cleveland went a combined 1-31 across the 2016 and 2017 seasons, but after general manager John Dorsey came aboard and selected quarterback Baker Mayfield No. 1 overall in 2018, overhauled the roster and fired head coach Hugh Jackson mid-season, the Browns fought to a 7-8-1 record in 2018 and remained in the playoff race until late in the regular season.
All of a sudden, the team finds itself as the favourites to win their division — something that hasn’t happened since 1989 — and plenty of futures bets were placed on the Browns Tuesday.
Beckham won’t be entering a completely unfamiliar situation in Cleveland. The team’s current wide receivers coach is Adam Henry, Beckham’s former WR coach in New York, but more notably Beckham is being reunited with close friend and former LSU teammate Jarvis Landry.
Since they both entered the league in 2014, they’ve been among the most impressive performers at their position with Landry sitting third in total receptions, while Beckham ranks third in yards per game and touchdown receptions.
With Beckham joining the burgeoning Browns, social media was predictably aflutter.
Coming soon in Cleveland… pic.twitter.com/wzj6cCqjgU
— NFL (@NFL) March 13, 2019