It actually happened.
On Tuesday night — NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo and confirmed by CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora. In return for one of the best receivers in football, the Giants acquired the Browns’ first-round pick, second third-round pick, and 2017 first-round pick Jabrill Peppers, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.— , as first reported by
The trade actually happened. Beckham is on the Browns, and he immediately transforms them into the best team in the AFC North. The Giants are suddenly without their best player, and they didn’t even get the two first-round picks that many believed would be a requirement in any trade involving Beckham.
Obviously, the winners and losers from Tuesday’s blockbuster won’t be known for some time. We need to see how the Giants use those draft picks. The players drafted with those picks need to be given a chance to step foot on the field in a Giants uniform. We also need to see how Beckham meshes with Baker Mayfield in Cleveland in addition to considering his impact within the …
Oh, who are we kidding? Let’s sort through the chaos and grade the trade right now, because as it stands, there’s one very clear winner and one very clear loser. Yes, that could always change over time, but as of right now, give the Browns loads of credit for making the biggest move of the offseason and criticize the Giants for not getting as good of a haul that a player of Beckham’s caliber should’ve fetched in the trade market.
We begin with the Browns.
Cleveland Browns: A
- Odell Beckham
The Browns won this trade.
They just acquired arguably the league’s best receiver who is both 26 years old and under contract for five more seasons with an average annual base salary of roughly $14.5 million. Even if the Browns end up reworking Beckham’s contract to give him more money, they just added arguably the league’s best receiver, who is still in his prime, and they didn’t even have to give up multiple first-round picks. Heck, they didn’t even have to give up the first of their two third-round picks. Even after parting ways with two draft picks, they’re still armed with eight picks in the upcoming draft, two of which are a second- and third-round pick.
Here’s what they’re getting: Since Beckham entered the league in 2014, he ranks third in receiving yards per game with 92.8, slotting in behind Julio Jones and Antonio Brown. In that span, he also ranks third in touchdown catches with 44 even though he’s missed 21 possible games. Put another way, DeAndre Hopkins ranks second with 45 touchdown catches, but he’s played in 20 more games than Beckham in that span.
Translation: Beckham is in the top tier of NFL receivers. That much is indisputable.
He turns the Browns into the best team in the AFC North one year after they went 7-8-1 with their young nucleus, even after Hue Jackson actively sabotaged them during the first half the season. The Steelers just lost Antonio Brown. The Ravens lost C.J. Mosley and Eric Weddle. The Bengals are still the Bengals. The Browns added Odell Beckham to an offense that already has Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb, Jarvis Landry, Antonio Callaway, David Njoku, and Kareem Hunt — not to mention a defense that ranked 12th in DVOA.
This is good:
According to SportsLine’s Stephen Oh, the Browns’ chance of winning the AFC North has risen to 50.5 percent with Beckham. Their projected number of wins has jumped to 10.1.
That’s a clear win.
New York Giants: F
- First-round pick this year (No. 17 overall)
- Third-round pick this year (No. 95 overall)
- Jabrill Peppers
Let’s start with the obvious: The Giants just got significantly worse by parting ways with one of the league’s best receivers. Again, that’s undeniable.
What’s especially concerning about this trade from their perspective is that they didn’t even get two first-round picks, which is what many assumed they’d get if they decided to trade Beckham. As NFL Network’s Kimberly Jones said on Tuesday shortly before the trade, “Would two No. 1 picks do it? Perhaps, but there doesn’t seem to be a team lining up with that kind of mega offer for Odell Beckham Jr.”
In the end, the Giants settled for the No. 17 pick, the No. 95 pick, and Peppers.
Maybe they’ll draft a great player with those picks. Given the draft is a crapshoot, it’s more likely that they won’t hit on both picks. It’s even more unlikely that either of those picks will result in a player as impactful as Beckham. In Peppers, the Browns are getting a good, but not great young safety who will replace Landon Collins. He’ll be a nice addition, but he’s not magically transforming that Giants’ defense into a top unit.
The timing of the trade, which factors into their grade, is also puzzling. If the Giants were so eager to get rid of Beckham that they settled for the Browns’ offer,
The Giants paid Odell Beckham $21.459 million in 2018 as part of his new 5-year $90 million contract. He played 12 games before season-ending quad injury. What a waste of money. If they were going to dump him, they should have traded him last year before signing him.
— Gary Myers (@GaryMyersNY) March 13, 2019
If the Giants were sick of Beckham’s antics, they never should have given him that $90M extension. Not pay him and then trade him away.
— Lindsay Jones (@bylindsayhjones) March 13, 2019
Not only that, but according to Over The Cap, the Giants will take on $16 million in dead money too. That’s a significant amount of money to be paying a player who doesn’t play for your team anymore.
This is not a list teams want to be on. To no one’s surprise, the Steelers and Giants are both on it after dealing away their highly paid receivers.
Even Giants general manager Dave Gettleman indicated two months ago that trading Beckham so soon after signing him to an extension wouldn’t make much sense.
The Giants are now committed to a full rebuild one year after they passed on drafting a potential franchise quarterback in order to take a running back with the second-overall pick. While Saquon Barkley has proven to be a tremendous talent, his awesome rookie season also proved that he alone can’t turn the Giants into contenders. Considering the Giants are in the beginning stages of their rebuild — Eli Manning is still their quarterback — it’s not at all unreasonable to suggest that by the time the Giants are ready to compete, Barkley will no longer be on his rookie deal.
This is a disaster for the Giants. They traded away their best player in the prime of his career for a disappointing price less than a year after they gave him a huge contract. They’re now beginning a rebuild one year after taking a running back over a quarterback with the No. 2 pick in the draft.
It’s almost like they’ve been operating without a clear plan or direction.