The Cleveland Browns need help at the wide receiver position.
Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones delivered a nice one-two punch in their first season together in 2022, but there was a steep enough drop-off from there that general manager Andrew Berry is expected to add at least one new face to the position this offseason.
The wide receivers available in free agency may not be top-of-the-line players and the scarcity may drive up their price, but there is one veteran name out there that the Browns should have zero interest in bringing back to town.
Name: Odell Beckham Jr.
Position: Wide receiver
Height/Weight: 5-foot-11, 198 pounds
2022 Team: Did not play
Stats: 2022: No stats recorded
Career: 96 games, 91 starts, 880 targets, 531 receptions, 7,367 yards, 56 touchdowns, 371 first-down catches, 13.9 yards per reception
PFF Grade: No grades recorded
2022 Contract: $0
Fit with the Browns
If this was the offseason following the 2016 season and Odell Beckham Jr. was a free agent, then he would be an ideal fit for the Browns as he was coming off a year where he had 101 receptions, and posted his third consecutive season with more than 1,300 receiving yards and double-digit touchdown receptions.
Unfortunately, it is 2023 and Beckham’s skills have been in decline for several years now, due to a lengthy injury history that has included a torn ACL that ended his season in 2020 and another torn ACL that kept him out of the league entirely in 2022.
Beckham has not played a full season since that 2016 campaign, although he came close in his first season with the Browns in 2019, and while he might still believe he is a No. 1 receiver, the numbers tell a different story. His last 100-yard receiving game in the regular season came in Week 6 of the 2019 season, and his catch percentage since the start of 2019 has been just 54.6 percent.
Browns Player Signing Could Impact
When looking at wide receivers at risk on the current roster, Anthony Schwartz is a name that will always be top of mind as he has struggled in his first two seasons. So that will likely be the default answer until Schwartz shows the team something or they move on from him.
How Signing Could Impact the NFL Draft
Wide receiver is certainly one of the position groups that the Browns need to address in the coming months, although it takes a backseat to defensive tackle and possibly safety. If general manager Andrew Berry looks to address the wide receiver position from what is expected to be a shallow pool of free-agent wide receivers, then the defensive side of the ball would further claim its spot as a top priority in the draft.
Medium - The Browns can use some additional help at wide receiver, but Beckham is as far from the answer as anyone could find for the team. Beckham quit on the team in 2021 and his father ignited a social media storm when he shared a video highlighting all the alleged missed opportunities when Beckham Jr. was open on a pass pattern from Weeks 3 through 6. That led to Cleveland releasing Beckham after they could not find a single team in the league willing to trade for him.
The Browns have been there and done that with the OBJ circus, and the idea of bringing him back for a return engagement is not something a smart front office and coaching staff would do, and the Browns currently have a smart front office and coaching staff.
For what it’s worth, Pro Football Focus projects that Beckham will pick up a three-year deal that averages $11 million a year and has $21.5 million in guaranteed money.