Why Trading Odell Beckham Would be a Foolish Move for the Browns

The Cleveland Browns are struggling to win in 2019 after many people believed that they would be a new NFL powerhouse. Because of that, the hot takes are soaring through the internet like a flock of birds. One of these takes from Fox Sports 1’s Colin Cowherd. According to Cowherd, the possibly-panicking Browns would be wise to consider trading Odell Beckham Jr., but his reasoning behind it doesn’t add up. 

Cowherd’s first reason the Brown should trade Odell Beckham

According to Cowherd, his viewpoint isn’t so much a hot take as it is a necessary move if the Browns want to save face, and he gave three reasons why he believes that it would be the right thing to do. 

“Number 1,” Cowherd started. “Cleveland is struggling with their identity. You’re asking a rookie head coach to figure out Jarvis Landry, [Antonio] Calloway, Baker [Mayfield], [Nick] Chubb, a below-average offensive line, and OBJ … They are trying so hard to take a gifted, brilliant, and sensitive wide receiver, and wedge him, sometimes too much, into the game plan.”

The problem with Cowherd’s logic is that it does not address the very problem that he states in his reasoning. The Browns are undeniably struggling, and neither Landry nor Beckham is helping the matter. However, neither the offensive line nor Baker Mayfield is giving either of them ample opportunity to succeed, and placing that blame on Beckham is ignoring the very problem of the offensive line. 

If the offensive line is in shambles, neither Mayfield, Beckham, nor Landry is given a fair shot at succeeding. Mayfield’s production is way down. He has five touchdowns and 11 interceptions while completing only 56% of his passes. As a result, Beckham has only 29 receptions for 436 yards and a touchdown. Beckham and Mayfield did not get worse overnight, so what is the problem?

Cowherd’s second reason

After bringing in Odell Beckham during the 2019 offseason, the Browns would be foolish to trade him away.
Odell Beckham hangs his head as he walks off the field. | Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

“Kareem Hunt, a great running back, arrives in Cleveland by November 10,” Cowherd went on to say. “You’re going to have another mouth to feed?” 

Kareem Hunt, who is currently suspended for eight games after a video showed him kicking a woman, will add depth to the offense, but Cowherd’s notion that it is bad for Beckham, Mayfield, or Landry is not based on the root of the problem. Yes, the Browns do have a rookie head coach and need to build some chemistry, but adding some depth to the running back position isn’t a negative. If anything, the Browns should double down on their core and work on everything around it to make things work. 

There is some truth to the rumor that Beckham has not had a great track record as far as wins and losses go. The offensive line may need some new players, or maybe they just need a new strategy. No team who believes in their passing and rushing core should shake it up due to exterior problems, but Cowherd’s third reason misses the point completely.

Cowherd’s final reason Cleveland should move Odell Beckham

Cowherd’s third reason, which again blames the offensive line for Odell Beckham’s production, “Cleveland’s offensive line is completely overwhelmed against elite pass rushes.” 

Getting rid of Beckham would not fix that problem. In fact, it could backfire. If the team already has problems with the offensive line, trading Beckham only makes their job harder. The O-line would still have issues, while Mayfield would be down an elite receiver who can act as a safety valve in pass-rush situations. In another scenario, one where they trade Beckham for help on the line, they have a better line but a weaker offensive core. 

It is far too early for the Browns to give up on their core. That same rookie coach that Cowherd spoke about should have time to figure out the strategies. Perhaps, a change is due on the coaching staff and some new assignments would help things. Or maybe the team needs to bolster its line with a series of other moves. Whatever it is, the team has talent, they just need to figure out the proper strategy and roster to let that talent shine.