Flashback: 2 years ago the Browns traded for Odell Beckham Jr.

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Jeff Risdon
·2 min read
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Where were you when you heard the news on March 12, 2019?

I was at my daughter’s volleyball practice when my phone started going crazy. The Browns had just pulled off a stunning, blockbuster trade with the New York Giants for wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

Two people I’ve grown to trust as Browns sources over the years had tipped me off that talks were progressing, but they didn’t have a scope of the full deal or the timing. There had been rumors swirling since before the prior season, believe it or not. Earlier that very day, two prominent New York-based NFL reporters had shot down any notion that the Giants were moving Beckham, so I was caught unaware like most everyone.

Dodging errant serves and shanked passes as I sat at the side of the gym, I pounded every source I could find while also reassuring inquiring minds on social media that the deal was, in fact, real.

The final details of the deal resulted in the Browns sending a 2019 first-round pick (New York drafted DT Dexter Lawrence), third-round pick (EDGE Oshane Ximines) and safety Jabrill Peppers to the Giants for Beckham. while commonly lumped together, the Olivier Vernon-Kevin Zeitler trade was a separate transaction, though both players were included in the negotiating process and that subsequent deal sprang from the aftermath of Beckham.

The on-field impact from Beckham hasn’t developed as dynamically as hoped. He’s caught 97 passes for 1,354 yards and seven TDs in 23 games over two seasons. He topped those combined figures in each of the 2015 and 2016 seasons with the Giants. There have been injuries both nagging (the sports hernia that required surgery) and drastic (the torn ACL that ended his 2020 early) and a radical offensive scheme change from 2019 to 2020 that he had to make without the benefit of practice time as he rehabbed from surgery.

Many in the New York media warned of diva behavior and a team-killing attitude. Beckham has never been anything of the sort, despite many in the New York media still trying to will it into existence. He’s eccentric and loves attention, but those aren’t crimes against football. Even though he hasn’t produced as hoped — yet — the Browns are better for having him. It was a sign the team was prepared to start winning and aggressively acquiring talent. That sentiment has only blossomed. Beckham is no small part of that mindset.