There have been a lot of interesting story lines surrounding the NFL this off-season. Antonio Brown to the Raiders, LeVeon Bell to the Jets, and the controversial Tyreek Hill incident, to name a few.
One of those interesting offseason storylines, arguably the most exciting of them all, was the announcement of the New York Giants trading star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. being traded to the Cleveland Browns. In return for Beckham, the Giants received safety Jabril Peppers, guard Kevin Zietler, and the Browns’ first round and second third round pick in this past year’s NFL draft.
Many might say this trade was out of left field. When Beckham first learned that he had been traded to the Browns, he said that he was “a little surprised.” In a conversation with New York Giants general manager Dave Gentleman, Beckham said that he was still “trying to process this trade.”
In the end, Beckham will end up benefitting from this trade. I think that he will have a great career in Cleveland. He has already started to benefit from his time in Cleveland, and I am here to tell you why today.
The most notable thing is Beckham’s attitude shift. During his time in New York, most notably the 2017 offseason, Beckham skipped OTA’s in hopes of earning a contract extension. While he was skipping OTA’s, Beckham was staying in football shape by training on the beach. Beckham eventually reported to the Giants, but long after the fact that there was no extension on the table. Beckham’s 2017 season was cut short due to a leg injury suffered in the preseason, and oddly enough, that injury was against the Browns.
Near the end of his Giants career, Beckham almost seemed alienated from the team. He still had his energy and spark, but did not appear as happy. In his years in New York, Beckham only made the playoffs once, in 2016, which ended in a 38-13 loss in the wild card round to the Green Bay Packers. This is much different from Beckham’s time at LSU, in which he teamed up with current teammate Jarvis Landry and appeared in a National Championship.
With the Browns, Beckham is a new man.
Beckham attended OTAs two days ago with his new Browns teammates, a huge shift from his 2017 attitude. OTAs are voluntary, and players do not have to attend them. Beckham, however, knows the opportunity he has in front of him. He wants to make a good impression on his teammates, and he is off to a good start.
The situation Beckham is in as a Cleveland Brown is much better. As opposed to being on the same team where you do not have a clear-cut answer at running back, an okay receiving corps, and uncertainty surrounding the coaching and front office positions, Beckham is on a team where there are a lot of exciting, passionate young players.
Beckham is surrounded by Baker Mayfield, one of the best young quarterbacks in the league and a star in the making; Jarvis Landry, one of the best possession receivers in the game, and, as I previously mentioned, a good friend and college teammate of Beckham’s at LSU; David Njoku, a great, young, developing tight end; Nick Chubb, a great, young running back who nearly eclipsed 1,000 yards in his rookie season and is a star in the making, and a great offensive line.
Beckham is playing on a team with people he enjoys being around. No wonder that his attitude has already improved.
If Beckham continues to enjoy being a member of the Cleveland Browns, combined with producing at the level he is capable of, the Browns are going to be good this year.
Take notice, league. The Cleveland Browns are here to play.