The rumors can end because a trade is happening: Odell Beckham Jr. has been traded from the Giants to the Browns. Mike Garafolo of NFL Media first reported the news, which was confirmed by CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora:
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the trade involves the Browns sending their first-round pick in 2019 (No. 17 overall), one of the Browns third-round picks this year (their second one) as well as safety Jabrill Peppers.
It’s a stunner of a deal and, frankly, an incredible steal for the Browns. They lose a potential stud and former first-round pick in terms of Peppers but their offense is suddenly LOADED.
Baker Mayfield, who should have been the 2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, will be throwing to Beckham, Jarvis Landry (OBJ’s teammate at LSU), Antonio Callaway and David Njoku. Not too shabby, and you can throw Nick Chubb into the mix in the backfield as well. This is suddenly a filthy offense the Browns are trotting out onto the field as they hope to contend for the division title.
It’s an aggressive-as-all-get-out play by GM John Dorsey, and it probably won’t be cheap. As CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported on CBS Sports HQ on Tuesday night, there should be plenty of issues that Odell has to deal with in terms of his contract. Beckham was not, La Canfora reported, a part of the trade talks between the two teams as the negotiations were going along.
In other words, Beckham if he wanted, could potentially raise a stink about the trade and wanting a new contract — a la Antonio Brown to the Bills in a deal that fell through — and create some issues. That being said, he’s going to a good spot on a fun young team with a ton of talented skill position players.
Beckham sounded stunned when talking to Kim Jones of NFL Network, calling the trade news “bittersweet” because he would be leaving New York.
“At this point I have no idea what to think. I’m trying to process it right now,” Beckham told Jones. “[Leaving NYC is] bittersweet, but it is what it is. It’s life.”
Beckham also told Jones he had a “brief” conversation with Gettleman.
For the Giants, this is not entirely a white-flag situation with their 2019 season, but it does signal a move towards making Saquon Barkley the face of the franchise and moving on from the best player on the roster — not a thing teams usually do — just a year after doubling down on the twilight of Eli Manning’s career.
Beckham will cost the Giants $16 million in dead cap space this year as a result of him being traded, with New York freeing up $5 million in salary cap space. There will be some people who point to the Giants needing to move on from Beckham because of his personality — and I firmly believe they want to make put everything on Saquon, in terms of media attention and selling tickets and whatnot — but the reality is Beckham has been one of the best receivers in the history of football through the first five years of his career. He averaged 78 catches, 1,095 receiving yards and just shy of nine touchdowns per season over the course of his career with the Giants.
Now New York will feature Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram as its primary playmakers in the passing game (outside of Saquon, of course). Corey Coleman is the next man up on the depth chart after Shepard, so it’s not necessarily an ideal situation for what could very well be Eli’s final season in New York.
The difference between the Browns depth chart at receiver and the Giants depth chart is startling.
The Westgate SuperBook released updated Super Bowl odds in the wake of the Beckham trade, with the Browns now at 14-to-1 to win it all. That’s better than the Chargers, Bears and Colts (all at 16-to-1), as well as the Vikings and Eagles (both at 20-to-1). The Browns’ AFC North rivals are well behind the Browns, with the Steelers at 30-to-1 and the Ravens at 40-to-1. The Giants’ odds to win the title have dropped to 80-to-1.
According to SportsLine’s projections, the Browns move from 9.5 wins in 2019 to 10.1 wins in the coming season, while their Super Bowl chances spike from 1.6 percent to 3.3 percent (a massive difference in the Super Bowl odds market). Cleveland’s chances to win the division move from 38.3 percent to 50.5 percent according to SportsLine.
The Giants win total according to SportsLine doesn’t move that much. They drop from 7.7 wins to 7.4 wins and their Super Bowl odds — 0.4 percent — only slipped to 0.3 percent. SportsLine did not project the Giants as a good football team before the Beckham trade and they are obviously a worse team, for this season, after it.