by Jordy McElroy
Odell Beckham Jr. seemingly had it all in Cleveland—the best friend No. 2 option in Jarvis Landry, the confident young quarterback in Baker Mayfield and the burgeoning Browns organization seemingly on the fast-track to success.
If only foresight was 20/20.
Landry went from being the No. 2 to the No. 1 receiver on the depth chart, and Mayfield has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns. Oh, and that hope of a magical turnaround for the Browns in the 2019 season—it’s already been carted off in a dust bin somewhere and replaced with the reality that the team is no better now than it was a year ago.
Beckham has spent enough losing seasons with the New York Giants to know what the stench of failure smells like. It’s a pungent odor that often leads to teary-eyed sideline stares and impromptu fights with a kicking net. The overwhelming dread of a trip down memory lane has prompted Beckham to reportedly resort to telling opposing players and coaches to “come get me out of here,” according to FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer.
Yes, Beckham has gone full Jordan Peele on Cleveland.
Can you blame him? The three-time Pro Bowler has only competed in one playoff game since being taken by the Giants with the No. 12 overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft.
He is essentially wasting the prime years of his career playing with teams that haven’t given him a real shot at competing for a Super Bowl. Throw in the fact that he’s forced to play second fiddle to Landry in a year where he’s putting up career-low numbers, and it makes sense why he’s asking other teams to do more than just window shop.
Beckham isn’t completely absolved from the blame for his current predicament. No one forced him to sign a five-year, $90 million extension with the Giants in 2018. That move made him the richest receiver in football (before the Michael Thomas deal), but it also took away his leverage at the negotiating table.
The Browns have the right to do as they please with his contract. They could keep him for another year to see if things improve, or they could opt to move him to an even worse situation than his current one.
Moving on is seemingly the more logical option when considering the potential headache that could come from trying to force a situation that could simply be a bad fit. The Browns have too many problems to be paying an exorbitant price for a receiver that doesn’t even want to be there.
Of course, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t do everything in their power to convince him to stay. Freddie Kitchens, a first-year head coach, is hopeful his second rodeo won’t leave as big of a mess in 2020. There is also hope that diminished expectations and a full year as a starter under Mayfield’s belt will lead to a boon for the offense as a whole. The Browns still have one of the most talented rosters in the league on paper. So there are plenty of talking points to hit on in an effort to get Beckham to reconsider.
But the first year of the marriage has been a complete and utter failure.
The honeymoon stage was over before the real work even started. Both sides admired one another from afar, exchanged their “I dos” and decided they were sick of living together in less than a year—another anticlimactic ending from a Browns organization that seems doomed for failure.