Clock is Ticking on Odell Beckham Jr. Experiment in Cleveland

Clock is Ticking on Odell Beckham Jr. Experiment in Cleveland

Nick Pedone
3 years ago
3 min read
Clock is Ticking on Odell Beckham Jr. Experiment in Cleveland

Some things in the world of sports just don't make sense.

In 2010, the San Diego Chargers had the No. 1 ranked offense and defense and missed the playoffs.

Mike Vrabel retired with 10 receiving touchdowns on 10 career catches.

Jerome Bettis once finished a game with three touchdowns on five carries for one yard.

While it's not as crazy as these, Odell Beckham Jr. being targeted just three times for two receptions and 20 yards in a game that his team scored 42 points is certainly a phenomenon of its own.

After a critical drop on fourth down in Sunday's first half, Baker Mayfield hardly looked Beckham's way. Instead, familiar faces such as David Njoku, Rashard Higgins, and offseason standout Donovan Peoples-Jones all had big days with Beckham in the shadows.

And the clock is likely ticking on Beckham's time in Cleveland, whether you want to admit it or not.

The NFL's November 2 trade deadline is rapidly approaching with just three more games until that date. Just three more opportunities to prove to the Browns, and the rest of the league, that Beckham's fit can still work in Cleveland or elsewhere.

It seems completely unlikely Beckham will be traded by the Browns.

General manager Andrew Berry is all about talent, and stacking it all over the football field in any way he can. There's no denying that even after an ACL surgery, Beckham remains a polarizing talent.

Beckham will be 29 next month. At this point, the return via trade will be the lowest it has ever been since the LSU-standout entered the league in 2014.

"Yeah, he needs to touch the ball. He's a good player," offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt said on Thursday. "He does so much for us, the touchdown to Higgins, three guys covered him."

But $15.5 million is a hefty price to pay for a flashy decoy.

The Browns are all about analytics. We know this, and now is not the time to pretend to be an expert. But a player with that price tag putting up just 20 yards has to glow red on a spreadsheet somewhere in Berea.

"I know the production hasn't been there for him, I'm not worried about that. I do think it will come," Van Pelt said. "It's still early in the process of him back on the field. That's not an issue in my mind."

Surely, it's truly not an issue in Van Pelt's mind. His offense was able to score 42 on a day where his elite wideout was basically a non-factor. Not to mention, his QB looked pretty good while doing so.

Beckham's contract for next season carries no dead cap. Meaning the Browns could waive him goodbye with no penalty.

Of course, the unwritten penalty is that a player of Beckham's stature would be free to join a team that could threaten the Browns in the playoffs. That is certainly a risk.

This is not suggesting the Browns should get rid of Beckham. This is certainly not suggesting the Browns are better off without him. Nor is it suggesting that he is not the player he once was in New York, where he was on track to become a Hall of Famer.

This is merely observing that this partnership in Cleveland might never shake out to be what John Dorsey intended when trading a first-round pick, a third, and Jabrill Peppers for one of the league's best players.

Yet still, there's time for this to work out. That's the funny thing about time, sometimes when it's expiring, the best results come forth.

Off the field, Mayfield and Beckham are closer than ever before, playing Call of Duty and vacationing together. Beckham has been a model teammate in Cleveland, saying winning a championshp is all that matters to him and the Browns have the roster to do so.

On the field, Beckham is getting open, but can't get the football. Something needs to change.

Similar to some of the other anomalies in football history, Beckham's inability to gel with one of the league's strongest and most accurate arms is something that just does not make sense. And the clock is ticking.

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