Sources: OBJ to the Vikings Is Unlikely, but the Browns Will Move Him Eventually

Mike Freeman@@mikefreemanNFLNFL National Lead WriterApril 18, 2020

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 22:  Odell Beckham Jr. #13 of the Cleveland Browns warms up prior to the start of the game against the Baltimore Ravens at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 22, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. Baltimore defeated Cleveland 31-15. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

First, let's get this part of the Odell Beckham Jr. trade rumor out of the way: There doesn't seem to be anything to it.

The emphasis is on "seem" because the NFL draft is here, which means almost every team is lying about almost everything right now, and this applies to rumors about trades just as much as it does rumors about which prospects teams are interested in.

In this case, the rumor surfaced Wednesday morning when WFAN Sports Radio's Marc Malusis reported:

Moose™ @MarcMalusis

So, as I reported this morning on @MandMWFAN, Source has told me that the Browns and Vikings are in discussions on a trade that would send @obj to the Vikings for a 2nd and 5th round pick next year. Trade is not done, but the deal is being discussed.

A Vikings team source vehemently denied to B/R that any such discussion occurred. ESPN's Adam Schefter got the same response from the Browns:

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Browns’ Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta on reports yesterday about potential discussions between the Browns and Vikings for a trade involving WR Odell Beckham Jr.: “In short, I will just say it was completely false.”

There's logic behind the denials, too. It's hard to imagine how the deal would work. The Vikings don't have an exorbitant amount of salary-cap room, and they just traded Stefon Diggs to Buffalo. Why would they do that and then go and import another player so much like Diggs—both in skill set and in his ability to create headaches for the team off the field?

So, no, there doesn't seem to be anything to this specific rumor.

But something fascinating came out of speaking to the source with the Vikings, and then to two other team officials with different franchises.

These sources all believe it's only a matter of time before Beckham is traded from the Browns, and they don't believe it's because of a perceived attitude problem with Beckham.

"People have the wrong idea of who he is as a person," said one general manager.

The issue, instead, is that Beckham isn't a good fit with quarterback Baker Mayfield.

CLEVELAND, OHIO - NOVEMBER 10: Wide receiver Odell Beckham #13 talks with quarterback Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns during the first half against the Buffalo Bills at FirstEnergy Stadium on November 10, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason
Jason Miller/Getty Images

Beckham is demanding of quarterbacks. He becomes frustrated when they're inaccurate. And after reaching 1,300 yards and 10 TDs in each of his first three seasons but not approaching those kinds of numbers in three seasons since, he's at a boiling point.

Most players who have these types of high standards are praised, but Beckham is viewed differently. Some believe he will only fit into (and be happy in) an offense with a highly accurate quarterback.

Which is a problem, because Mayfield still has huge issues with passing accuracy and pocket presence. This, in turn, reduces Beckham's potency.

There's something else happening as well. It's the NFL's propensity to trade or give up on star wide receivers fairly quickly. Beckham was traded not long after the Giants signed him to a huge new deal. Similarly, now Diggs has been traded to Buffalo and DeAndre Hopkins has been (stupidly) traded to Arizona.

Brandin Cooks was just traded again and is on his fourth team at age 26. Sammy Watkins is on his third team at age 26 and just had to take a pay cut (in base salary) to stay in Kansas City.

These Beckham rumors will continue to persist because even top receivers are seen as more disposable now, and they are regularly moved.

This used to be a fairly rare phenomenon. Now it's standard practice.

Maybe once Beckham would have been seen as above this fray. A few years ago, his talent was regarded as almost generational. But now there's now an army of unique receiving talents. Look across the league and you see players like Hopkins, Julio Jones, Michael Thomas and Davante Adams, to name a few. The upcoming draft is also stacked with wideouts.

The fear of losing a great talent isn't as strong as it once was.

It's also a factor that Beckham can be seen as selfish, and as breaking down physically. Out of 48 total possible games since 2017, he has played in 32.

None of this means there's any truth to the rumor that popped up this week. Or that the Browns want to trade Beckham.

But neither did the Giants—until they did.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 25: Odell Beckham #13 of the New York Giants looks on prior to the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on November 25, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

When the Browns get to that same point, and find that same type of offer, they won't be any more scared than the Giants were to make a move.

Because this is the era of the disposable receiver.


Mike Freeman covers the NFL for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: @mikefreemanNFL.

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