The Browns’ ride with wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is beginning to feel as bumpy as Sporting News contributor and former NFL team executive Jeff Diamond predicted it would.
As 5-7 Cleveland prepared for its Week 14 home game against 1-11 Cincinnati on Sunday, Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer reported Beckham, 27, has been telling opponents he wants out.
“Come get me,” Beckham has told opposing players before and during games this season, according to Glazer, who reminded Fox’s viewers that the Browns were not Beckham’s choice as a destination when he was traded from the Giants earlier this year.
Further, NFL Network reported Sunday morning that Beckham “intends to undergo postseason surgery for a sports hernia” after he plays through the Browns’ final four games of the 2019 season. Beckham admitted he has been playing through pain all season but told ESPN he had not made a decision on surgery.
“I’ve been pretty much banged up all year since whatever happened in camp,” Beckham told reporters this week. “I’ve been playing through it, doing whatever I can just to make it to Sunday for the game. So anytime that Sunday comes around, 1 o’clock, 4 o’clock, 8, Monday night, Thursday, I’m going to give this team everything that I have, no matter what.”
Yet Beckham’s “everything” this season has not reached the standards he set in his first five years in the NFL, all in New York. The sixth-year pro is averaging career lows in receptions per game (4.8), receiving yards per game (67.1) and catch percentage (55.3) with the Browns, and he has just two receiving touchdowns through 12 games.
When the Giants traded Beckham to the Browns in March, they did so less than a year after making him the highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL. As a result, Beckham has counted for $16 million in dead money on New York’s salary cap while he has played in Cleveland this year.
However, thanks in part to the Giants having already paid Beckham a good chunk of the money owed in his deal, the Browns would not be on the same financial hook should they decide to trade the receiver. If dealt before June 1, Beckham would save Cleveland $14,250,000 in salary cap space with no dead cap charge.
As Diamond wrote in July, “Cleveland’s day of reckoning for bringing in OBJ is inevitable.” Based on Glazer’s report, it could come in the form of another trade after a failed season in Cleveland.