Browns' Odell Beckham Jr. Trade Hailed As Win-Now Move
The Browns last night "stopped the football world on its axis" by pulling off a "stunning trade" with the Giants to acquire WR Odell Beckham Jr., according to Jeff Schudel of the Willoughby NEWS-HERALD. The trade makes the Browns "instant contenders for the AFC North title" this season (Willoughby NEWS-HERALD, 3/13). In Cleveland, Dan Labbe writes the Browns are "absolutely, 100 percent all in on winning" in '19 and beyond. They are "not just all in on winning, they're trying to win big" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 3/13). The Beckham trade is an "aggressive-as-all-get-out play" by Browns GM John Dorsey (CBSSPORTS.com, 3/12). USA TODAY's Mike Jones writes people around the NFL "anticipated another aggressive offseason for Dorsey and the Browns, in part due to the GM's track record last season and the fact that Cleveland entered this week" with roughly $70M in salary-cap space. Jones: "But a move like this? Very few -- if anyone -- around the league could have anticipated this" (USA TODAY, 3/13).
LOAD 'EM UP: In DC, Adam Kilgore notes the Browns are "loading up" during an offseason in which QB Baker Mayfield is "entering the second year of his rookie contract, which is exactly what they should be doing." There is "no greater advantage in NFL roster-building than a young and cheap quarterback, which leaves open resources for the rest of the team" (WASHINGTON POST, 3/13). In Cleveland, Doug Lesmerises writes this is "what it looks like when a plan comes together." This is "what it feels like when that plan builds the best team in the AFC North." There is "no downside" to the Beckham trade (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 3/13). NBCSN's Chris Simms said of Beckham, "This is primetime and we're talking about a worldwide star. Tom Brady may be the only guy in the same class as Odell Beckham Jr. as far as a worldwide star as far as the NFL is concerned. … John Dorsey is Thanos right now. Taking down the Avengers, taking down the AFC” (“PFT,” NBCSN, 3/13).
FEELING DANGEROUS: YAHOO SPORTS' Terez Paylor writes the Browns have "thrown caution to the wind" when it comes to "adding players with shaky histories" in RB Kareem Hunt, DT Sheldon Richardson and Beckham. If those players' pasts "flare up again this season, Dorsey is setting his team up to deal with the same dreaded 'distractions.'" But "no matter how it plays out, the Browns have suddenly become the NFL's most interesting team" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 3/13). ESPN.com's Bill Barnwell writes the Beckham trade marks the "official end of the Browns' rebuilding period." Pressure "will be on them to win regularly" (ESPN.com, 3/13). In Cleveland, Terry Pluto writes the trade turns the Browns "into a prime time TV team." The Browns "now appear playoff bound with several stars on the roster" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 3/13). In Akron, Marla Ridenour writes the expectations that were "already soaring for Mayfield's first full season will now be off the charts." CBS' Jim Nantz "might soon seem like the Browns' regular play-by-play man" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 3/13).
LOTS OF QUESTIONS: On Long Island, Bob Glauber writes the Giants are now in "complete tear-down mode." The Beckham trade is "one of the most jaw-dropping moves in the nearly 100-year history of the franchise." With a "mish-mash of roster moves that have lacked clear direction," Giants Senior VP & GM Dave Gettleman is "overseeing a team that appears in complete disarray" (NEWSDAY, 3/13). In N.Y., Mike Vaccaro writes it is "hard to see what Gettleman sees for this team, because right now, in little over a year on the job, he has allowed an acre of talent to walk out the door with little return so far." If Gettleman "really is the smartest guy in the room, there's going to have to come a time when he does his big reveal" (N.Y. POST, 3/13). Also in N.Y., Paul Schwartz writes the Beckham trade represents a "swift reversal" from August, when the Giants "committed to Beckham" with a five-year, $90M contract, making him the NFL's highest-paid receiver (N.Y. POST, 3/13). NBCSN's Simms said, "I don't think the Giants are deliberately trying to tank the season to set themselves up for the 2020 draft. ... This is the exact opposite. They’re trying to win right now. They realize this is the last year or two of (Eli Manning's) career" ("PFT," NBCSN, 3/13). But ESPN's Mike Greenberg said, "It feels to me like they have come to the conclusion of, ‘We’re not winning anything right now, let's build it down and tear it up'" ("Get Up," ESPN, 3/13).