Browns: Baker Mayfield needs an elite WR because Odell Beckham isn’t anymore

Odell Beckham is no longer the answer for Baker Mayfield and the Browns.

The Browns need help at receiver. This isn’t a debate anymore. Baker Mayfield is not some slouch who can’t play quarterback. What we’re seeing is a team that has never truly had an elite wide receiver, at least during the Baker Mayfield era. Now, that’s not a knock on Jarvis Landry, Landry is slower than most tight ends, but he catches everything but the team needs a back-breaking guy who can stretch a defense It was supposed to be Odell Beckham Jr., but the Browns now need someone other than Beckham as “WR1” because Beckham is no longer that talent.

The lack of playmaking wide receivers is one of two reasons the Browns don’t challenge down the field at the moment. We know Mayfield can hit deep passes, he’s currently in a situation where he doesn’t have anyone who qualifies to receive them. Beckham is no longer able to get the separation he once got in New York. This isn’t a 2021 problem, this is evident over his last three seasons. Anthony Schwartz and Demetric Felton have the speed, but not the skillset (yet) to be that guy. Donovan Peoples-Jones often gets smothered in coverage and disappears. Landry is a slippery dude but he doesn’t stretch the field.

The defenses are not scared of these receivers, and why should they be? Like with Josh Allen in 2019, Mayfield’s passing game is stunted. The Bills went out and got help for Allen in the form of Stefon Diggs and it turned Allen’s career around. Not because Allen “wasn’t elite” but because elite quarterbacks always have elite receivers.

Look at Tom Brady, he was “done” in New England. Why was he done in New England? His best receiver was 248-year-old Julian Edelman, probably why. Brady goes to Tampa Bay with Antonio Brown, Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, and Rob Gronkowski and now everyone is talking about “TBMVP” for 2021.

The same thing happened with Dak Prescott, he gets Amari Cooper and all of a sudden Prescott is a max-money guy. Mayfield isn’t a bad player and he has had a great season so far with finding guys and limiting turnovers. He needs a playmaker that he just doesn’t have right now.

Baker Mayfield needs someone to do what Odell Beckham can’t

Odell Beckham has had a history of leg and foot injuries. He’s had more surgeries than Pro Bowls and people seem to think that kind of stuff doesn’t affect the human body. It does. Even one surgery can ruin a career if the body doesn’t heal properly. Beckham has been through it all, so it’s not exactly his fault. He didn’t go full-David Boston and jack himself up to 300 pounds and become unplayable. He got hurt, it happens.

That doesn’t mean that his skill set hasn’t diminished, it has, and it doesn’t mean that the Browns can continue to go this route with him. They need to shake things up and make a move. The only question is, who?

Allen Robinson makes sense, but the Bears may think he fits their timeline but he really doesn’t. At 28 years old he’s having the least productive season of his career. Could be the quarterback play, could be the coach, could be his age (it’s the coach). Michael Thomas isn’t happy in New Orleans, and they’re not a real contender with Jameis Winston at QB. Adam Thielen is another option but his age isn’t great even if his 40-time (4.49) is an upgrade.

The most likely name, who fits the need of the team (an over-the-top guy), is young enough and on a team that could benefit from trading him is the Falcons’ Calvin Ridley. Whether the Falcons feel up to moving him is anyone’s guess.