The Cleveland Browns have found themselves in a precarious situation, but they only have themselves to blame. Odell Beckham Jr. doesn’t appear happy catching passes from Baker Mayfield. However, the Browns’ front office failed to deal the disgruntled wide receiver before the NFL trade deadline. Cutting OBJ is still a possibility. If that happens, the New Orleans Saints should jump at the opportunity to replace Michael Thomas.
Odell Beckham Jr. and the Browns are moving closer to a divorce
The Cleveland Browns acquired Odell Beckham Jr. and defensive end Olivier Vernon from the New York Giants after the 2018 season. In exchange, the Giants received guard Kevin Zeitler, safety Jabrill Peppers, and two draft picks.
The Browns were the early winners of the trade, especially after OBJ posted a 1,000-yard campaign in the 2019 season. However, the relationship between Beckham Jr. and the organization has since soured.
Right in the middle of all the drama is the connection between OBJ and quarterback Baker Mayfield, or lack thereof. The former LSU standout has battled injuries, causing him to miss valuable time. However, when Beckham Jr. has been on the field, he’s struggled to re-establish chemistry with Mayfield.
The issues are starting to come to a head now. The front office didn’t make a deal before the trade deadline, leaving OBJ in Cleveland.
According to ESPN, head coach Kevin Stefanski excused Beckham Jr. from practice two days in a row. This development could signal that the former Pro Bowler may have played his last game in a Browns uniform.
If Cleveland cuts OBJ, the Saints should make a move for the NOLA native
While no concrete reports have surfaced about the Cleveland Browns releasing Odell Beckham Jr., it’s within the realm of possibilities. The wideout and the Browns organization cutting ties would open the door for a homecoming in New Orleans.
Beckham Jr., who was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, played high school football at Isidore Newman High School. There, he starred as an athlete, playing wide receiver and cornerback. He built a name for himself on the recruiting circuit. 247 Sports rated him as a four-star prospect.
Beckham Jr. garnered attention from several major college football programs but ultimately committed to LSU. He and close friend Jarvis Landry made magic in Baton Rouge, helping form one of college football’s most explosive offenses.
Getting the opportunity to play in front of a home crowd at the Caesars Superdome might be just what OBJ needs to rejuvenate his career.
With Michael Thomas out for the entire 2021 season, Sean Payton and the Saints would be wise to make a play for Beckham Jr.
The Saints are coming off of an upset victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and could use another playmaker as they push for the playoffs.
The disgruntled wideout could replace Michael Thomas in New Orleans
The New Orleans Saints expected to have Michael Thomas for the back half of the 2021 season, but that’s out the window now.
Similar to OBJ, Thomas had a falling out with the Saints organization in the offseason. The Ohio State product caught heat for allegedly delaying surgery to repair multiple ligaments in his ankle.
Thomas also has a history of getting into altercations with his Saints teammates. Even if he can return to Pro Bowl form, he could potentially be out in New Orleans.
Adding Odell Beckham Jr. to the fold would make it easier for the Saints’ front office to part ways with Thomas. From a talent perspective, both players are No. 1 wideouts and demand the ball, so they probably wouldn’t mesh anyway.
In OBJ, the Saints’ offense would get an immediate boost. The unit currently lacks a legitimate proven receiving threat. Marquez Callaway and Tre’Quan Smith appear to play better in supporting roles as opposed to leading men.
That’s where Beckham Jr. comes in. When healthy, he can be one of the most electric playmakers on the football field. His presence would lessen the pressure on Alvin Kamara in the wake of Jameis Winston‘s injury.
The only question would be which quarterback will be throwing him the ball, but Sean Payton should be able to make it work with whoever is under center.
OBJ in the Big Easy sounds like a winner.
Update: The Browns plan to release Odell Beckham Jr., per Pro Football Talk.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.