Kareem Hunt’s contract and a depleting cap are just two reasons why the Cleveland Browns may need to move Odell Beckham Jr. sooner rather than later.
Some fans will hate to hear this, but it’s true. With the cap expected to shrink drastically next year, and the Cleveland Browns giving nice paydays to guys like Kareem Hunt, something is going to have to break to afford this squad going forward. The obvious name to go is Odell Beckham Jr. The dead cap number for Beckham’s contract is up in 2021, meaning if he were to be traded or cut, the Browns would not owe him any money. Had the Browns moved him prior to 2021, the team would have only saved $250,000.
This could be why GM Andrew Berry didn’t move him despite rumors that the Browns were shopping him around the league, only to then the organization proclaims that Beckham was in the team’s long-term future. In theory, why would you want Beckham to know he’s getting moved a year before he does?
Now with Beckham, the question of his play and what he can still do is a valid conversation. He’s had more injuries than most at his age and with so much of his game dependent on his athletism, it’s entirely possible that he may not be the same player he was in his earlier days in New York. It’s possible he does come back, pulls the football version of John Smoltz, and finds a way to change his style to be just as good. Entirely possible.
That’s not why Beckham will be shopped though. He’s got a big salary, and he’s quickly finding himself lower and lower on the list of targets. If we’re being honest, the top four names it appears the Browns will favor for possesions in 2020 will be Nick Chubb, Austin Hooper, Jarvis Landry, and Kareem Hunt. That’s in order, by the way.
Arguably, it feels like Beckham’s the fifth option on this team. That may not sit well with him. He might be outstanding, but you have to think with all the pontificating the Browns have done about running the ball, that they’d favor both running backs first and then the tight ends next. After all, Stefanski’s offense is built to favor those two positions. If that ends up being the case, the Browns would be wise to trade off Beckham for draft picks in hopes of keeping as many of the top names as possible.
Granted it’s very possible that names like Sheldon Richardson, Olivier Vernon, and David Njoku are gone instead, which will help keep the salary cap sacrifices at bay. It’s also possible that Richardson, Vernon, Njoku, and Beckham are all gone in the offseason.
Who knows? The NFL is weird like that.