In 2019 the Cleveland Browns acquired Odell Beckham Jr. from the New York Giants for Jabrill Peppers, Kevin Zeitler, and the Browns’ 2019 first and third round picks.
Understandably, many were hyped over the move. At the time Beckham was arguably the most promising receiver in the NFL and had recorded 1000+ receiving yards in four out of his first five seasons.
Unfortunately things didn’t quite go according to plan.
Beckham never really jived with the Browns’ roster and has consistently been hampered by injuries.
There is a fair case to be made that last year, when Beckham was out nursing a torn ACL, Cleveland’s offense operated far better without him than it ever did with him.
This week, Brad Gannon of Bleacher Report went into great detail regarding a deal that would send Beckham to Chicago for defensive end Akiem Hicks.
“… this is a deal the Browns would be silly not to make if the Bears were game,” he wrote.
“They were extremely successful without Beckham down the stretch last season, and they could desperately use more help in the interior defensive line. Larry Ogunjobi and Sheldon Richardson are gone at that position. Malik Jackson signed on this offseason, and Andrew Billings is back after a COVID-19 opt-out, but the former is 31 and has started just seven games over the last two years, while the latter didn’t return in ideal football shape.”
It is something of an open secret at this point that Hicks’ agent, Drew Rosenhaus, is currently trying to finesse an extension out of the Bears that’d keep his client in Chicago for the rest of his career. That said, there has been little movement on that front. And if no progress is made, a trade could prove to be inevitable.
Along the same lines, clearly the Browns-Beckham relationship has not gone as smoothly as both parties hoped when he was originally brought in. It wasn’t that long ago that Beckham was publicly begging other teams to acquire him from the Browns during games.
Over his five years and 68 games in Chicago Hicks has amassed 222 tackles, 5 forced fumbles, 5 fumble recoveries, 27.5 sacks and 79 quarterback hits. He would immediately upgrade the Browns’ defense in a way that the team desperately needs someone to.
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Beckham, meanwhile, needs a fresh beginning. The Bears will likely start Justin Fields in Week 2, and while it’s debatable whether a receiver who hasn’t made the Pro Bowl since 2016 is well-suited to pair up with a rookie quarterback, maybe all parties involved would benefit from a change of scenery. Mind you, Beckham is still only 28. Just four year ago he became the fastest player in NFL history to reach both 200 career receptions and 4,000 career receiving yards.
Obviously this would be a risky trade for everyone, but if it works – it could pay major dividends for both the Browns and the Bears.