Typically, when teams have a generational talent like Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell, or Odell Beckham Jr., they move heaven and earth to figure out how to keep them. However, there comes a time when disciplinary issues, monetary demands, and different behaviors outweigh what a player can do on the field.
Brown and Bell will soon be on new teams. OBJ, on the other hand, appears to be set to stick around in New York for the next few years after signing a massive contract extension last year. But then how come his name keeps coming up in trade conversations?
Is it because the Giants wanted to keep him because of his undeniable talent and production, so they signed him to an extension, but are now tired of his shenanigans? Could all the talk just be the media and/or bloggers creating something to talk about until to free agency starts?
Or is it one of those situations where there is smoke, but we don’t see the fire yet?
Only time will tell. It will be interesting to see if the rumors persist once free agency starts next week. Until it does, the speculation is real—and so are the odds.
According to Bovada, the odds on who OBJ plays for in Week One next season are as follows:
- New York Giants: -200
- Cleveland Browns: +285
- Pittsburgh Steelers: +700
- San Francisco 49ers: +1500
- Arizona Cardinals, Oakland Raiders, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, and Chicago Bears: +1600
So—where is he going to end up?
The Cardinals, Raiders, Dolphins, Jets, and Bears could all use a big-play wide receiver. But it would take an incredible trade package in order to get OBJ away from the Giants—especially since they aren’t publicly shopping him (if they are shopping him at all).
The Raiders could get one together since they have so many first round picks this year, but they would be foolish not to use them to fill other holes on the roster. Otherwise, it is hard to see any of them coming up with a good enough package without mortgaging the future and giving up too many draft picks.
San Francisco would be an attractive landing spot. Jimmy Garoppolo could use the help, but the 49ers, like the other teams, don’t have enough trade capital to pull it off. As for Pittsburgh, they are trying to get rid of one diva wide receiver. There is no way they dump Antonio Brown only to replace him with OBJ.
That leaves the Cleveland Browns and OBJ’s current team, the New York Giants.
So, why the Browns? What makes them a favorite to acquire Odell Beckham Jr.? There haven’t been any rumors indicating their interest or even if they have been in contact with the Giants. They are, however, a young team that has been losing for years that is in position to explode if it can put all the right pieces together.
Most of them are in place; OBJ could be the final piece—if they could get him. They wouldn’t (or at least shouldn’t) be willing to give up any of the promising young talents they already have. But to get over the hump and make a huge leap forward after so many losing seasons, it is not hard to imagine them giving away a ton of draft picks.
More than likely, he’ll end up staying in New York. But if the Giants truly are willing to listen to offers, the Browns may be the one team that can make one that will work for both sides.