The Odell Beckham Jr. era in Cleveland could reportedly be coming to an end after the 2021 season.
While his name is not yet on the trade block ahead of the Nov. 2 deadline, Jeff Howe of The Athletic reported that there are “signs pointing toward” the Browns front office trading or releasing Beckham after his third full year with the team this coming offseason.
Since kicking off his NFL career as one of the most electric pass-catching options in the league, injuries have hampered his success in recent seasons. After suffering an ankle fracture in 2017, the three-time Pro Bowler hasn’t been able to return to his status as one of the league’s elite receivers, and a season-ending ACL tear midway through his 2020 campaign surely didn’t help with that either.
Missing the first two games of the 2021 season, Beckham made his return to the field in Week 3. Through three games, the 28-year-old wideout has struggled to get back on track — logging just nine receptions for 124 yards and no touchdowns.
It’s clear his role in the Cleveland offense, that once saw him gain 1,035 yards and four touchdowns in 2019, isn’t what it used to be. Despite taking the field without leading receiver Jarvis Landry this past Sunday, Beckham notched just two receptions on three targets in a high-scoring shootout with the Los Angeles Chargers.
Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski addressed this lack of offensive usage after their 42-47 loss.
“As I’ve mentioned before, he’s a dynamic football player,” Stefanski said after the game, per Cleveland.com. “He’s very front-of-mind when we are game-planning and when we are calling plays. Sometimes the defense dictates if the ball goes elsewhere, and we are comfortable with that because we have good players elsewhere.”
Beckham is currently under a five-year, $90 million contract signed in 2018, per Spotrac. If the Browns do trade or release the former superstar after this season, they could save $15 million against the cap in 2022.