For the upcoming 2019 NFL season, one thing looks to be certain–it’s highly unlikely the Cleveland Browns will experience another win-less season like it did back in 2017, where they went 0-16 under head coach, Hue Jackson.
This week has been extremely emotional, both for Browns fans and the Giants community, as the Giants traded their superstar wide-receiver, Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns, and signing Golden Tate to take his place.
There’s no doubt that the Browns are the most talked about team in the NFL right now.
Is Beckham’s Acquisition Enough On the Field?
On paper, the Cleveland Browns’ recent acquisition of former New York Giants star wide-receiver, seems to have a high-powered offense behind the decision. But, will that be enough to move them down the field and to the top of the AFC North?
Taking a trip back in time, the Browns haven’t had a winning season since 2007, and have never won the AFC North. The last time the Browns were truly celebrating was back when they won their division (known at the time as the AFC Central) back in 1989.
Odell Beckham Jr. is one of the premier wide-receivers in the league, but if we’re going strictly by numbers, he doesn’t even rank in the top 10 for receiving yards, receptions, or touchdowns for the 2017 or 2018 season.
If we go back to that 2017 season, Jarvis Landry, his teammate at LSU, had a better season with the Miami Dolphins. Odell has significant athletic ability and can leave a lasting impression on fans with his incredible catches, but this also could present a shadow of doubt on what he isn’t doing the rest of the time.
Understanding the Recent Odell Beckham, Jr. Trade
It’s very easy to get excited when you see the headlines that one of the most popular players in the NFL has just signed with your team, but what comes next? You need to know what you had to give up getting the New York Giants to agree to this trade.
So, let’s break down what they lost from this:
- First-round pick at Number 17,
- Third-round pick at Number 95, and
- Safety, Jabrill Peppers.
Jabrill Peppers is a very versatile player coming out of the University of Michigan, a young player drafted in 2017 just starting to come into his own last year. In his rookie year he had the sixth most tackles at 57 and getting an interception.
Last year, he drastically improved to fourth in tackles with 79, but let’s not forget his presence on special teams as a kick and punt returner. Now, I’m not making the argument that Jabrill Peppers is a better presence than Odell Beckham Jr, but that’s quite a void to fill on defense and special teams from a very young player at 23 years old with nothing but time ahead of him.
Pairing Peppers along with a first-round pick and a third-round pick seems to be a lot given up, but is it worth it for Odell Beckham Jr?
This trade also came as a shock after seeing the trade that the Oakland Raiders made for Antonio Brown, a well-established top receiver for the past several years. The Oakland Raiders were able to acquire Antonio Brown from the Pittsburgh Steelers for just a third and fifth round pick. Brown was also ahead of Odell Beckham Jr, in every receiving statistic including being first in reception touchdowns for the entire NFL.
Changing the Odds
When everything is said and done, the Browns still have an explosive offense:
With Baker Mayfield leading the way, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt at the running back spots, Odell Beckham Jr, and Jarvis Landry out wide, and the big target of David Njoku at tight end all lead by their head coach Gregg Williams.
Although, Hunt was just suspended for the first eight games of the 2019 season as a result of violating the league’s personal conduct policy, according to a statement from the Browns.
They’ve also added a great defensive tackle in Sheldon Richardson alongside of Myles Garrett to strengthen that defense. Prior to the Odell Beckham Jr trade the odds for the Browns to make it to Super Bowl 54 were 25-1, immediately after the trade for Odell, that went to 14-1 which is fifth best in the NFL just behind the Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, St. Louis Rams, and New Orleans Saints.
They also have the third best odds to win the AFC Championship that increased from 12-1 to a staggering 7-1 the only two teams ahead of them are the teams who played in the game last year, the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs.
You can say what you want about the Cleveland Browns, but you cannot deny the effort that they’re making for drastic improvements. It’s impressive enough to take a team from 0-16 to 7-8-1 just a season ago and now having 7-1 odds to win the entire AFC.
The Browns are spending money to show an effort in improving their franchise which is more than most other teams can say. Nonetheless this will be another exciting NFL season with the draft upcoming and already some major trades happening.
The Cleveland Browns will be living under a microscope with expectations set very high for the first time in a few decades, we’ll see how they can perform when faced with adversity.