Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has been the center of attention for many people since he entered the NFL in 2014.
On the field, off the field, no matter what he is doing - or in the case of the Browns perhaps not doing - people are fixated on Beckham.
The idea of Beckham in Cleveland’s offense has rarely matched the reality of Beckham in the offense, however. Five games into his third season with the Browns, the numbers are clear that quarterback Baker Mayfield is better when Beckham is not in the lineup - 3,002 passing yards, 17 touchdown passes, four interceptions and a quarterback rating of 102.6 in 12 games sans Beckham vs. 1,801 passing yards, 13 touchdown passes, six interceptions and a quarterback rating of 87.3 in 13 games with Beckham.
The reasons behind those numbers are not worth debating at this point as there are numerous theories available to fit whichever side of the argument that Browns fans would like to take on the subject.
And while a argument can be made that the Browns should simply move on from Beckham before the November 2 trade deadline, that is not the type of move a team normally makes when it has legitimate aspirations at making a run at the Super Bowl.
A more likely scenario would be for the Browns to play out the season and then move on from Beckham - who will turn 30 midway through next season and has had numerous serious injuries during his NFL career.
Waiting until the offseason to make a decision, one way or another, makes sense since there will be no guaranteed money left on Beckham’s contract, according to The Athletic’s Jeff Howe:
Sources familiar with the Cleveland Browns’ thinking suggested this could be the wide receiver’s final season with the team. Beckham is under contract through 2023.
The more likely move would happen in the offseason. Beckham is set to earn $13.75 million in base salary in 2022 and 2023, but there is no guaranteed money. He would earn a $1 million roster bonus if he reports to the first day of training camp, so any potential trade or release would likely happen by that point. The Browns would create $15 million in 2022 cap space in such a scenario.
Beckham’s performance could change the narrative over the next few months. But right now, there are signs pointing toward this being Beckham’s final stretch run in Cleveland.
While Beckham is likely frustrated with having just nine receptions on 19 targets since making his season debut in Week 3, he continues to keep his eye on the bigger picture, as he reiterated during his media appearance on Thursday (quotes via The Beacon Journal):
“The ultimate goal is to win the championship, and I feel like I’m in a great situation to do that. And it may not be me [catching the ball]. There’s going to be days where it will be my day.”
It is possible that Beckham’s time in Cleveland may be counting down as the weeks roll by, so the hope is that he can finally be the player that many of his fans claim him to still be before the curtain comes down on his tenure with the Browns.