The New York Giants have traded wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns in a blockbuster NFL deal, according to NFL Network and ESPN.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Browns are sending their first (17th overall) and a third-round pick (95th overall) in this year’s draft along with safety Jabrill Peppers in return for Beckham.
Giants vowed not to trade Beckham
The Giants signed Beckham to a five-year, $95 million contract extension in August with $65 million in guarantees, making him the highest-paid receiver in the NFL. Giants general manager Dave Gettleman repeatedly said after the deal that the team had no intentions of trading Beckham.
The team voiced his proclamation on Twitter in January.
Gettleman: We didn’t sign Odell to trade him.
— New York Giants (@Giants) January 2, 2019
He reiterated it at the NFL scouting combine last month.
“We didn’t sign Odell to trade him,” Gettleman said in February. “That’s all I need to say about that.”
Beckham criticized in New York
Beckham was a star on the field in New York as well as a a lightning rod for criticism over his sideline behavior and interactions with the media as the Giants struggled to find wins.
“I think he needs to do a little more playing and a little less talking,” Mara said. “I wish he would create headlines by his play on the field as opposed to what he says and does off the field.”
Beckham joining offense on the rise in Cleveland
Beckham has made three Pro Bowls since joining the Giants as the 12th overall pick in the 2014 draft. He has exceeded his first-round expectations and is widely considered one of the league’s premier talents and top receivers.
In five seasons, Beckham has tallied 390 receptions for 5,476 yards and 44 touchdowns. He missed all but four games in 2017 with an ankle injury.
The arrival of Beckham in Cleveland continues an influx of talent to the Browns. He’ll join an offense that includes quarterback Baker Mayfield, running back Nick Chubb, wide receiver Jarvis Landry and wide receiver Antonio Callaway, all additions since the 2018 offseason.
High expectations for Browns
The Browns have also upgraded their defense this offseason, reportedly agreeing to a deal with former Minnesota Vikings defensive end Sheldon Richardson and trading for former Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon.
Beckham’s addition will continue to raise expectations for the Browns in Mayfield’s second season at quarterback. Coming off a 7-8-1 season, the Browns will be a significant playoff contender out of the AFC North.
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