Mike Florio of NBC Sports’ ProFootballTalk wrote Thursday before the Browns’ 35-30 win over the Bengals that Cleveland should trade wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
Here’s what Florio wrote:
The Patriots make the most sense, primarily because Beckham has made it pretty clear in the past that that’s where he wants to be. (He may feel differently after getting a taste of the Patriot Way.) Now that Cam Newton has replaced Tom Brady, Beckham may be even more intrigued about making the move.
Flash forward a few hours, and Beckham caught a 43-yard touchdown pass from Baker Mayfield as part of a four-catch, 74-yard performance against Cincinnati.
Did Florio’s opinion change? Nope.
In fact, he doubled down on the OBJ-to-New England idea Friday while talking with NBC Sports’ Peter King.
“I think the Patriots make the most sense for him,” Florio said. “A lot of teams would not be able to absorb Odell Beckham Jr. and get him to comply with the way they do things, because there’s that constant expectation you’re going to get him the ball, and I’m a firm believer in the quarterback throwing to the guy who’s open. The hell with trying to get the ball to a certain player. That just drags down your offense, and it creates tension and frustration, and that’s been one of the problems in Cleveland, and it’s not going away just because they won (Thursday). Because anytime they lose, that’s going to be item number one: Did you get the ball enough to Odell Beckham Jr.?
“But he’s craved this idea of going to New England. Now, once he gets there, if he gets there, he may feel differently about the Patriot Way and what it does to you, to break you down, to get you to comply, to get you to submit, to get you to quit thinking about your own individual accomplishments. But I feel like that’s what he needs. I think he needs someone who’s gonna put it to him straight, who has the authority to get him to forget about how many catches he has and just focus on winning. He seems to be focused on winning.”
The Patriots are coming off a 21-11 win over the Dolphins in Week 1, during which Newton steamrolled Miami’s defense. New England still needs receiving help, though, as there’s no guarantee the ground-and-pound approach will work every week, particularly against superior competition.
Beckham, who turns 28 in November, is coming off an underwhelming first season in Cleveland after a tumultuous end to his tenure with the Giants. But he was a legitimate superstar during his first three seasons in New York, from 2014 to 2016, so perhaps a trade to New England would rejuvenate his career while solving the pass-catching woes that plagued the Patriots’ offense in 2019, as well.
“When I looked at the Patriots-Dolphins game from last week, there was a stretch early in the third quarter where there were a lot of guys open kind of in the underneath zones. That’s the area where if you hit Beckham in stride, he’s gone,” Florio said Friday. “If you combine Cam Newton and Odell Beckham Jr., that offense could be scary.
“The thing we know about Bill Belichick: You never know what the hell he’s going to do until he does it. So would it surprise either of us if all of a sudden, between now and the Tuesday after Week 8, Odell Beckham Jr. becomes a Patriot? It wouldn’t surprise me. And I think it’s the move that makes the most sense — to get the most out of Beckham, to help the Browns and to help the Patriots.”
This idea floated by Florio shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. It’s not exactly a new take, and the Patriots are linked to almost every high-profile player who’s mentioned in trade speculation.
That said, it sure would be entertaining to see OBJ in Foxboro. Plus, the Patriots have a clear need at the receiving position, along with the salary-cap space to make a splash before the Nov. 3 NFL trade deadline.
Thumbnail photo via Scott R. Galvin/USA TODAY Sports Images