The New England Patriots still need firepower for their passing game, and the Cleveland Browns would listen to trade offers for Odell Beckham Jr, according to ESPN’s Dianna Russini.
If the Patriots are interested in making a play for OBJ, Vincent Frank of Sportsnaut concocted three trade proposals that would move the three-time Pro-Bowler from Cleveland.
Trade Proposal: OBJ to Foxborough for N’Keal Harry and a Third-Rounder
One of the destinations is New England. Frank wrote:
Regardless of whether the Patriots find a quarterback in the coming 2021 NFL Draft, they are going to need more weapons at receiver. Julian Edelman is not getting younger and is unlikely to play a full 17-game slate in 2021 due to injuries. The signings of Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor help. But they are not legitimate No. 1 receivers. If New England is forced to rely on Cam Newton or pulls off a trade for the aforementioned Jimmy Garoppolo, it will want to get more talent at receiver. If you take out the two seasons he’s missed the majority of games to injury, Beckham Jr. has proven to be elite. We’re talking about a guy who has put up north of 1,000 yards in his five other seasons. Perhaps, New England offers up N’Keal Harry and a third-round pick for OBJ.
Most Patriots fans would likely jump at the opportunity to part ways with the disappointing Harry and a third-round selection, especially if that meant bringing in someone like OBJ, who is still just 28 years old.
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OBJ will “earn a base salary of $14,500,000, a roster bonus of $1,000,000 and a workout bonus of $250,000, while carrying a cap hit of $15,750,000 and a dead cap value of $12,791,000,” per Spotrac. In 2018, he signed a five-year, $90 million deal with the New York Giants before being traded to the Browns seven months later.
OBJ does not have any dead money on his deal after the upcoming season, which provides a ton of flexibility for a team that might be interested in trading for him.
Why the Browns Might Be Listening to Offers for OBJ
Russini cautions everyone listening to her take on the story; it’s more likely the Browns hold on to OBJ than trade him. While he struggled to remain healthy over in 2020, when he is available, he’s one of the best in the NFL.
In 2019, OBJ had his fifth 1,000-yard season. The only years he has missed hitting that mark is the campaigns where he has missed nine or more games (2020 and 2017). If the Browns believe he can stay healthy, it seems far-fetched to expect them to trade him. That said, there must be a reason the team would be willing to listen to offers for him.
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OBJ has had some “chemistry” issues with Browns QB Baker Mayfield in the past. Also, the Browns may be thinking they are more than capable of winning without him. The team went 11-5 and returned to the postseason in 2020 for the first time in 18 years, and knocked off the AFC North Division rival Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild-Card game before being eliminated by the AFC Champion Kansas City Chiefs in the Divisional round.
The Browns accomplished the playoff win and a 6-3 run to finish the season while Beckham was on injured reserve from Week 8 through the rest of the regular season and playoffs. Mayfield’s accuracy and passing totals went up after Beckham went to IR, and his interceptions dropped significantly.
In the first seven weeks with OBJ, Mayfield averaged 198 passing yards per game, and he tossed 15 TDs and seven interceptions. In the nine without the star receiver, Mayfield averaged 241 yards per contest with 11 TD passes and just one interception.
You can point to the Browns focusing heavily on their stout running game and taking some pressure off Mayfield, but either way, Cleveland and head coach Kevin Stefanski forged a path to victory without Beckham.
One team’s expendable talent can be another’s missing piece. Perhaps the Browns and Patriots can come to an agreement that will be beneficial for all parties.