Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is about to enter his first full season with the Cleveland Browns after a surprising March trade by the New York Giants. He is going from a struggling team in the Big Apple and joining one led by a dynamic young quarterback in Baker Mayfield. In Cleveland, Beckham will join an offense that features running back Nick Chubb, as well as a former LSU teammate in wide receiver Jarvis Landry. The future should be exciting for Beckham at this point, but that simply hasn't been the case.
In the time since he was traded, Beckham has made it very clear that he is unhappy with the Giants front office and coaching staff during interviews. He ripped into head coach Pat Shurmur during a cover story for GQ, and now he has doubled down with his criticism in an interview with Sports Illustrated, saying that the Giants sent him to Ohio to die.
During a discussion with Ben Baskin of SI, Beckham says that the Giants received better offers for his services than that posed by the Brown, but the front office chose to send him to Cleveland simply out of spite. As he said, "This wasn’t no business move. This was personal. They thought they’d send me here to die.”
As he continued to explain, Beckham says that the Giants never met with him to discuss any preferred destinations. They simply traded him to a team that at one point in recent history failed to win a single game in over 600 days. Yes, Mayfield has this team on the upswing, but Beckham still believed that this trade was made as a personal move against him.
One statement from the article that didn't get much traction is that Beckham claims that he knew he would ultimately be traded by the Giants, even after signing his five-year, $95 million extension. He said that he never bought a house in New York for this very reason.
If the Giants truly sent Beckham to Cleveland "to die," it does appear that the plan backfired. the Browns are viewed as a team on the rise, one that will compete for a spot in the playoffs this season, if not Super Bowl LIV. The Giants, on the other hand, are receiving constant criticism for draft picks and the way that they approached building the offense.
Meanwhile, the Browns are overjoyed that a player of his caliber is in the building, and they are making a point to highlight every charitable act that he does at practice. Beckham is on the verge of becoming a folk hero in Cleveland; he just has to make circus catches in a regular-season game and help this struggling franchise return to the playoffs.