Why Odell Beckham Jr.’s Dramatic Rift With Browns QB Baker Mayfield Allowed Him to Revive His Career With the Rams

Some people gave up on Odell Beckham Jr. during his rough stretch with the Cleveland Browns. Even though he struggled playing with Baker Mayfield, he never lost faith in himself. The 3-time Pro Bowler found a home with the Los Angeles Rams, and the move is paying off in a major way. OBJ’s dramatic exit from Cleveland likely saved his NFL career.

Odell Beckham Jr. was not the problem with the Browns

Rams WR Odell Beckham Jr. warms up before playoff game; Browns QB Baker Mayfield looks on during a game
Odell Beckham Jr. of the Los Angeles Rams looks on before game against the Buccaneers | Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images; Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns in action against the Lions | Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns’ 2021 season was somewhat like a soap opera — plenty of drama. In the middle of the turmoil were Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham Jr.

Beckham and Mayfield spent two and a half seasons together in Cleveland but failed to develop sustainable chemistry. OBJ recorded 74 receptions for 1,035 yards and four touchdowns in 2019. However, that was the peak, and the duo never came close to those numbers together again.

Beckham has been an outspoken player, dating back to his time with the New York Giants. He grew frustrated with his role with the Browns, and things came to a head in 2021. As a result, Cleveland released the disgruntled wide receiver.

Once Beckham cleared waivers, the LA Rams jumped at the opportunity to sign him. While the divorce seemed like the best move for all parties involved, the early returns favor OBJ.

Baker Mayfield and the Browns finished the year with a mediocre 8-9 record. They missed the playoffs despite looking like a preseason contender on paper. Meanwhile, Odell Beckham Jr. is heading to the NFC Championship with the Rams.

OBJ is thriving with Matthew Stafford over Baker Mayfield

Say what you want about Odell Beckham Jr., but he’s still got some juice left in the tank. He continues to prove that as the LA Rams make a run at the Super Bowl.

Beckham caught just 17 passes for 232 yards and zero touchdowns in six games with the Cleveland Browns in 2021. He recorded 27 receptions for 305 yards and five scores in eight regular-season games with the Rams.

The LSU product arrived in LA at the perfect time. No one knew Robert Woods would tear his ACL in practice, but OBJ has stepped up admirably in his absence.

Beckham has played an integral role in Sean McVay’s offense in the NFL playoffs. He’s caught 10 passes for 123 yards and one touchdown in the Wild Card Round and Divisional Round combined. While those are hardly eye-popping numbers, his impact has been far more significant than just stats.

OBJ hasn’t played with Matthew Stafford long, but the chemistry seems more effortless than his connection with Baker Mayfield. The eighth-year wideout is playing alongside Cooper Kupp, who’s having a record-breaking season. Still, Stafford makes a conscious effort to get Beckham much-needed touches.

Odell Beckham Jr. bought into what the all-in Rams were selling, and it’s drastically altered his career’s trajectory.

“It’s been a perfect fit,” he told NBC Sports’ Chris Simms. “It truly has allowed me to be successful and to want to succeed.”

The Rams WR’s resurgence is refreshing for the NFL

Odell Beckham Jr. was unstoppable in his first three seasons with the New York Giants. The former AP Rookie of the Year recorded 288 receptions, 4,122 receiving yards, and 35 touchdowns from 2014 to 2016.

Highlight-reel and SportsCenter Top 10 catches became the norm for OBJ. After a season-ending injury in 2017, Beckham bounced back with two consecutive 1,000-yard campaigns. Still, general manager Dave Gettleman felt comfortable enough to trade his star receiver to the Browns.

OBJ in Cleveland seemed like a good fit on paper, but things didn’t pan out as anticipated. He’s been a seamless fit with the Rams. It helps that LA features a top-notch coaching staff and front office, along with a proven veteran quarterback.

The stars are finally re-aligning for Beckham. At 29 years old, he’s not the same player he was with the Giants. However, his resurgence has likely opened up doors that wouldn’t be possible in Cleveland. Helping LA to a Super Bowl appearance would be vindicating for Odell Beckham Jr.

OBJ’s recent success is not only good for the Rams but also for the NFL. He’s one of the most physically-gifted pass-catchers the game has ever seen. Being relevant for the right reasons is a win for everyone.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.

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