Cleveland Browns: The enigma that is Odell Beckham Jr.

Another day, another mention of the possibility of Odell Beckham Jr. not playing for the Cleveland Browns in 2021 and beyond.

This seems like a never-ending saga between the national media and the notion that Beckham’s time in Orange and Brown is, or possibly should be, coming to an end.

And let’s be honest, until next Wednesday, when the new league year officially begins, there isn’t a whole lot to discuss, so we tend to create scenarios based on a number of different things, and debate them.

This latest batch of “will he stay or will he go?” stems from comments made by Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski, and former NFL wide receiver Brandon Marshall.

On Monday, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that Brady said he “might want” to acquire Beckham. This doesn’t make sense for a few reasons. First, Beckham is owed $15.8 million this season and only about $19 million in space. Second, Tampa Bay just used the franchise tag on wide receiver Chris Godwin. Lastly, they just re-signed linebacker Lavonte David to a two-year deal worth about $25 million but is very team-friendly against the cap.

Last week when addressing the media, Stefanski said the Browns were in a “good spot” in regards to Beckham and fellow wideout Jarvis Landry in terms of their cap hits for the upcoming season. Landry is owed $14.7 million and add that to Beckham and you have nearly $30 million of the cap going to the wide receiver room. That’s a lot of money, but the Browns can work with it.

On Tuesday’s episode of “First Things First,” on Fox Sports 1, Marshall said he thinks it’s time for the Browns to move on from Beckham, stating that the chemistry just wasn’t there.

“I think it’s best for both sides to move on,” Marshall continued. “Go get what you can [for] Odell. Take that piece, add it to the defensive side. Maybe draft some speed at the wide receiver position…It just doesn’t work.”

He then went on to say that Beckham should want to get out of Cleveland to “get his career back on track”

“I would move on definitely if I’m Odell Beckham Jr.,” Marshall said. “Because you gotta get your career back on track. Go get you a quarterback that understands your body language and how you play football and wants to get you the ball.”

First off, that’s not fair to quarterback Baker Mayfield, who entered the 2020 campaign with his fourth offensive system in three years. In his sophomore season, he showed signs of regression. Last year, he took huge strides forward, mainly in the second half of the season and with Beckham missing that stretch due to a torn ACL.

Also, let’s not forget the fact that in yet another new system last season, there was no true offseason due to the global pandemic. That took time away from Baker and Beckham to get more on the same page. One final thing in regards to Mayfield and his new offense, he was still learning where to look at the entire offseason from an in-game perspective, which caused him and Beckham to appear disconnected at times.

Beckham is an elite NFL wide receiver when he is healthy. In his first season with the Browns in 2019 after being traded by the New York Giants, Beckham battled the entire season with various nagging injuries and still put up over 1,000 receiving yards. This past year, he goes down with a season-ending injury. So Beckham and Mayfield haven’t really had a fair chance at meshing the way many think they should.

The Browns need a dynamic playmaker that can stretch the field, especially when facing press-man coverage (see Chiefs playoff game) and Beckham fits that role. He is the type of player that once he gets going, he’s not easy to stop. If the quarterback/receiver duo gets on the same page, Beckham can be to Baker what Stefon Diggs was to Josh Allen in 2020.

Twitter use Nick Karns made a good point on Tuesday morning by saying it’s funny that when mentioned in trade rumors, Beckham is a dynamic playmaker, but when he is mentioned as a Brown, he’s washed up. That is basically the gist of it all when it comes to Beckham.

Odell Beckham Jr. will always be an enigma for his play on the field and his body language and antics that accompany it. As of right now and for the next three seasons, barring any changes, Beckham is a Cleveland Brown and should remain one.