NFL Talent Evaluator names Giants ‘winner’ in Odell Beckham Trade

New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports) /

The NY Giants traded away their biggest talent after 2018, but was it the right decision to move on from star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr?

The NY Giants traded Odell Beckham Jr. on March 13th, 2019 to the Cleveland Browns.

It was a very odd and bold move at the time.

The Giants were only one year into Beckham’s newly-signed five-year, $95 million contract with New York. It appeared the bad days of Beckham had been put behind the franchise and they were ready to move into the future with him as the leader of the offense.

Only a few short weeks before the trade did GM Dave Gettleman emphatically claim “We didn’t sign him to trade him”. It has now become an infamous moniker on how the situation was handled and what a head-scratching financial and football decision this truly was.

ESPN’s Bill Barnwell looked back at different NFL trades since 2018, and when discussing the Odell trade to Cleveland, Barnwell breaks down the trade in a few different ways.

Starting off from his viewpoint back in 2018, he believed the Browns were obvious, clear-cut winners of the trade. Now though, the trade has been viewed under different lenses with different circumstances occurring over the last two+ years.

"What happened: Beckham’s first two years in Cleveland have been a major disappointment. An uneven first season under Freddie Kitchens saw him go from being the king of slants to producing the league’s worst EPA on slant routes in 2019. Beckham was then off to a slow start in 2020 before tearing an ACL. Baker Mayfield’s numbers were better across the board without OBJ in the lineup, and while correlation is not causation, the Browns simply didn’t miss him during their run to the postseason."

Beckham has not been his old-NY Giants’-self in Cleveland the last two years compared to his three-year stretch in New York from 2014 to 2016.

Injuries, scheme, and QB play have been major reasons Odell hasn’t thrived in the Dawg Pound yet. He tore his ACL in 2020, played through torn ligaments in 2019, the Browns run a run-heavy offense, and Baker Mayfield simply hasn’t found the chemistry yet with Odell.

On the other hand, the NY Giants have found more immediate success from players coming into the trade.

"While the Giants haven’t replaced Beckham in the lineup, they’ve gotten more out of the players on the other side of this trade. Peppers hasn’t been the sort of game-disrupting safety scouts might have expected from his time at Michigan — and he doesn’t play the more valuable free safety role — but he’s a solid strong safety and a team leader. Lawrence has been the best player in this trade, living up to expectations as a stout run defender while adding four sacks last season. Peppers and Lawrence might have been replacements for departed veterans in Landon Collins and Damon Harrison, but they’ve held up their end of the bargain. Beckham hasn’t in Cleveland, and four years removed from his last Pro Bowl appearance, it would be a surprise if he was a No. 1 receiver in 2021. This one has flipped all the way around for Gettleman and Big Blue."

Jabrill Peppers had a career year last season.

Peppers is one of the Giants’ most important defensive players heading into this season and will look to parlay it into a new contract heading into a 2022 free agency date.

Dexter Lawrence is an ascending player who’s gotten better over his first two seasons. Oshane Ximines has been hurt but showed a lot of talent and raw ability in a 2019 rookie season.

Time will further tell who ultimately won the Odell Beckham Jr. trade to the Browns. Through two seasons, however, the NY Giants have gotten the better end of the deal, and Barnwell agrees.

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