An annual rite of the NFL offseason has begun: Odell Beckham Jr. trade speculation.
The Browns wide receiver, who is currently rehabbing a torn ACL, was name dropped Thursday on ESPN when asked who could be the next star to join Tom Brady and the Super Bowl champion Buccaneers in Tampa Bay.
“I’m going to say it, but there is a caveat that comes with it — I’m going to say Odell Beckham Jr.,” ESPN reporter Jeff Darlington said on “Get Up!”
“I’m going to say that because of the relationship between Tom Brady and Odell. Fully understanding that this would take a lot to actually make this happen. Keep in mind that Tom Brady did not, before the start of this season, pitch [general manager] Jason Licht on the idea of Odell coming down to [Tampa], despite the fact that those guys would like to play together at some point.”
Months after the Giants traded him to the Browns in 2019, Beckham admitted he had heard the speculation that he could be dealt to the Patriots and that he would have been up for it.
“That was always a dream of mine to play for Tom Brady,” Beckham said in 2019 during his first season in Cleveland.
Now Brady is in Tampa and has brought some of his favorite targets with him, reuniting with Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown last fall. The 43-year-old Super Bowl MVP had plenty of weapons at his disposal on the way to a seventh ring, with most of them expected to return, although Chris Godwin, Gronkowski and Brown are all set to be free agents.
“I say this because I could see going into this offseason, with Odell being in a situation where it feels like perhaps he’s more expendable to the Browns than he was last year, that perhaps Jason Licht would take the call,” Darlington said. “But to all these points, I’m also told they really do like where they stand with Chris Godwin, with Mike Evans, with Antonio Brown if they can bring him back. If something changes, though, that would be the one I’d be watching.”
The Browns have consistently denied trade speculation involving Beckham since he arrived in Cleveland, with the latest rebuttal coming in November shortly after he tore his ACL and NFL Network reported there was a “very real possibility that he has played his final game with the Cleveland Browns.”
“I feel like this is a question I’ve literally addressed every week since I took the job,” GM Andrew Berry said at the time. “So really at this point in time, I really don’t see a difference.”