Since being drafted by the New York Giants in 2014, Odell Beckham Jr. has been one of the most dynamic receivers in the league. After his spectacular catch against the Cowboys on Sunday Night during his rookie year, he has continued to display brilliance.
While OBJ is a star, he also had issues on and off the field. First, it was the incident with Josh Norman, then the outbursts on the bench, and finally the video where drugs were caught in the background. Unfortunately, despite OBJ’s talents, he was becoming too large of a distraction.
OBJ Saga Post-New York
In 2019, OBJ was traded from the Giants to the Browns. His first season with the Browns was successful, but after that, it was a disaster. In 2020 his season ended with an ACL tear and 2021 has been clouded with the trade rumors. It was clear since he arrived in Cleveland that he and Baker Mayfield never developed chemistry on the field.
There were times when Mayfield tried to force-feed OBJ the ball. Then there are other times when he doesn’t target OBJ at all. For whatever reason, Mayfield and OBJ have never been able to click.
This season, the Browns were viewed as one of the favorites to come out of the AFC. However, both Mayfield and OBJ have suffered injuries this season which has caused them to struggle. Mayfield has seemed more visibly impacted by his torn labrum. ESPN’s analyst Dan Orlowsky and Ryan Clark went into depth on how Mayfield’s injury is affecting his mechanics.
According to the numbers, Mayfield and the Browns play exponentially better without OBJ in the lineup. The evidence is also in the 41-16 beating they gave a good Bengals team yesterday after they officially released OBJ. Mayfield threw for 218 yards and two touchdowns. Even though OBJ is an excellent receiver, it is clear that the Browns are better without him. Therefore Cleveland made the right move by releasing him last week.
Where does OBJ fit after Cleveland?
Now that OBJ is out of Cleveland, he will have to clear waivers before he can become an unrestricted free agent. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported this morning that OBJ officially hit the waiver wire on Monday. If OBJ is claimed through waivers by any of the 32 teams, then he is forced to play there. However, he has stated that he wants to play for a championship contender. Unfortanetly for him, all of the bad teams in the league are at the top of the waiver list. Therefore, fans may be forced to see him in a Lions or Jets uniform.
However, if OBJ clears waivers, what teams are the best fit for him? As a technical route runner with deep threat ability, the best places for him are the Seattle Seahawks, Kansas City Chiefs, and Las Vegas Raiders.
Las Vegas Raiders
In my opinion, his dream scenario should be the Las Vegas Raiders. They are a dynamic offense that just lost one of the best deep threats in the league in Henry Ruggs. OBJ may not be the deep threat that Ruggs is, but with a quarterback as dynamic as Derek Carr, look for OBJ to have a resurgent year. Carr would have a lot of fun throwing the ball to Darren Waller and Odell Beckham Jr. for the rest of the year.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs would be a good option as well because they need a #2 wide receiver to compliment Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. As of late, many people are wondering what is wrong with the Chiefs offense. Teams have been playing a lot of two-deep zone against them which prevents a lot of shots deep down the field. Thats where the value of Sammy Watkins would come in. He was very good at the finding the holes to sit in in the short and intermediate passing game against zone coverage. The Chiefs underestimated the departure of Sammy Watkins and have been trying to find his replacement. OBJ will give them that trio of weapons that makes the Chiefs offense lethal again because of his great hands and his run after catch ability.
The Seahawks don’t really need OBJ, but he would be a nice addition to their offense. An addition of OBJ would take a lot of pressure off of DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Russell Wilson is expected to be ready for the Green Bay Packers this week and OBJ would love to play with Wilson. Wilson has one of the best deep balls in the game. OBJ in this offense would make them even more dynamic. The “Let Russ Cook” agenda would be on in full force.
Odell Beckham Jr. has been one of the most talented receivers in the league since he was drafted. However, on and off the field issues have plagued his image. The media has portrayed him as a distraction even though for the majority of his time in Cleveland he was never heard from. It wasn’t until last week’s trade deadline when his name became a distraction. I think the best thing for both OBJ and Cleveland was to go different paths. Cleveland clearly plays better as a team without him and now its time to see how OBJ responds to some new scenery. If he lands on the teams that I listed above, watch out for a bounce back season from him. He will ensure that the Browns made a mistake in letting him go.