When Should the Browns Bring Back Odell Beckham Jr.?

When Should the Browns Bring Back Odell Beckham Jr.?

Ayden Fahlstrom
1 year ago
3 min read
When Should the Browns Bring Back Odell Beckham Jr.?

The 2021 NFL season kicked off this week and there’s already a ton of unanswered questions around the league. Perhaps one of the most perplexing is what’s up with OBJ? Browns fans were shocked not to see him in the starting lineup on opening day against the Chiefs, and little has been revealed about his official return date. 

On Wednesday, head coach Kevin Stefanski officially ruled Beckham Jr. out for this Sunday’s matchup against the Texans. So that begs the question, when should the Browns bring back OBJ? The obvious answer seems to be as soon as he’s healthy, but he seemingly already is. So what’s the holdup? 

This will be OBJ’s third year as a Cleveland Brown and his tenure thus far has been mostly unremarkable. Many thought that the combination of Odell and quarterback Baker Mayfield would be a match made in heaven, but it has been anything but. You’d think that having one of the best wide receivers in football would make a quarterback better, but it seems to have had an adverse effect on Mayfield. 

Here are the numbers

  • Cleveland’s record with OBJ in the lineup: 11-12
  • Cleveland’s record since losing OBJ last year: 7-4 including a playoff win
  • Baker Mayfield’s numbers last year with OBJ: 10 touchdowns, 7 INT, 182.5 ypg.
  • Baker’s numbers last year without OBJ: 20 touchdowns, 1 INT, 250 ypg. 

Odell also had at least 90 receptions, 1,300 yards receiving, and 10 touchdowns every season while with the Giants. After 1 ½ healthy seasons with the Browns, he has a total of 97 catches for 1,354 yards and 7 touchdowns. These are the numbers that are most startling considering he came to a better team with a better quarterback than he had in New York. It begs the question about whether or not the Browns want him back in the lineup at all. 

This sounds a little conspiratorial and it’s not my personal view, but these numbers and the fact that Odell seems healthy have people wondering what’s going on. OBJ is still young and should be one of the top receivers in football when he returns, so what’s the holdup? 

The Browns have some nice weapons at receiver, led by veteran Jarvis Landry. David Njoku and Austin Hooper at tight end are a great fit as well, but if last year against the Chiefs showed anything, it’s that you can’t have too many offensive weapons. Baker and Odell both acknowledge that they didn’t mesh well in their first two years together, but believe they made strides this off-season. 

If the Browns hope to be competitive and make another playoff run, having Odell in the lineup is a must. The combination of Baker and OBJ still has the potential to be one of the best in the league, but that would require them to actually play together. They haven’t taken snaps together in a game in nearly a year. The longer Odell gets held out of games, the less likely it is that he and Mayfield will form the Marvin Harrison/Peyton Manning duo that Browns fans have been dreaming about since his arrival. 

If Odell’s healthy, which he seems to be, there’s no reason to keep him out other than he doesn’t want to play or the Browns don’t want him to play. Rumors abounded this off-season about Odell wanting out of Cleveland, but they had largely been put to bed. Is there any merit to them? If not, then why isn’t he playing? The time is now for Beckham to get back into the starting lineup. 

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