Odell Beckham Jr.’s tenure with the Cleveland Browns has been complicated and could be coming to an end soon.
The latest rumor per Jeff Howe of The Athletic is that this could be Beckham’s final year in Cleveland, with the team choosing to go another direction after the season with no guaranteed money left on the polarizing pass-catcher’s contract.
Howe also points out that Beckham is not thought to be on the trade block this season, as moving him wouldn’t make much sense for the Browns at this point. The team has already guaranteed $12.79 million of Beckham’s $14.5 million salary and likely wouldn’t get much in terms of assets for a player most would view as a one-year rental due to his contract situation.
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 Chemistry With Baker Mayfield Lacking
Despite what Beckham and Baker Mayfield might say, their on-field chemistry has been an issue. Mayfield’s passer-rating is 25 points lower with Beckham on the field and his completion percentage is 6% higher without him out there. Over a two-plus season span, that seems like more than coincidence.
This Sunday against the Chargers was a tough showing for the duo, who connect just twice for 20 yards. Mayfield did not target Beckham on the potential game-winning drive that came up short and just three times overall, causing some questions.
“Again, I kind of look at each game and what do we have to do to win and what do we need to do to go score a bunch of points,” coach Kevin Stefanski said on Wednesday, October 13. “As I have mentioned before, he is a dynamic football player. He is very front of mind when we are game planning and when we are calling plays. Sometimes the defense dictates if the ball goes elsewhere, and we are comfortable with that because we have good players elsewhere.”
Mayfield Says Beckham Brings Value Beyond Box Score
Over his 25 games in two-plus seasons in Cleveland, Beckham has notched just 106 catches for 1,478 yards and seven touchdowns. During a Pro Bowl season in 2015, Beckham eclipsed almost all those numbers.
But Mayfield believes that Beckham’s contributions can’t be measured just by yards and catches.
“For one, the run game, he was off the charts physicality wise. We talk about our identity is run first and we are physical team, and we are trying to finish people in the run game and dominate that,” Mayfield said. “You go back and watch him in the run game, and he is physical. You do that, and then go look at (WR) Rashard Higgins’ touchdown and see how many guys are covering Odell compared to Higgy, and you will see exactly what kind of value he brings to us.”
While that’s great, Beckham carries a high price tag to be a glorified blocker. Mayfield thinks it’s just a matter of capitalizing when Beckham does get a lane.
“We have to take advantage of his opportunities when they are there because they are not going to come that often,” Mayfield said. “That is the emphasis right now.”
The duo will have another chance to shine at home this Sunday against an undefeated Cardinals team.
READ NEXT: Browns Star Receiver Named as Trade Block Material