Rumors continue to swirl around the sports universe that the Green Bay Packers should make a “daring” move and make a trade with the Cleveland Browns for wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. While Beckham is a talented football player and the thought of teaming Beckham with Davante Adams is intriguing, there are several reasons the Packers should not make a deal for OBJ.
1. The Salary Cap Hit
Beckham’s salary is not cheap. He’s due approximately $14 million this season and after signing kicker Mason Crosby and before possible releases of TE Jimmy Graham and G Lane Taylor, the Packers have approximately $20 million in cap space. The Packers may still try to re-sign some of their own potential UFAs like Bryan Bulaga and they have players like Kenny Clark, Aaron Jones and David Bakhtiari who need extensions after the coming season, or they will be UFAs.
If the Packers trade for Beckham, he will take up a large chunk of the Packers available cap space. He is a player who has already played six seasons in the NFL and will turn 28 years old during the 2020 season.
2. The Cost of the Trade
Beckham isn’t a free agent signing. The Packers would have to give the Cleveland Browns something in exchange for his rights.
Cleveland gave up Jabrill Peppers and Kevin Zeitler, two starting players, plus first and third round draft choices in the 2019 NFL Draft to acquire Beckham and Olivier Vernon just one year ago.
The Browns will want at least a second-round pick in this year’s draft to get Beckham and probably more than that. If they don’t want more than that, then clearly there is a reason they are willing to part with this talented player for so little and that should make the Packers wary.
The Packers have lower cost alternatives. They could draft one or more receivers in this year’s draft, which is deep at the position. While there is no guarantee these players would be as productive as Beckham, they would come with a significantly lower, entry-level contract, more playing years ahead of them and would not cost the Packers any of their valuable draft picks in exchange.
3. Beckham Has a History of Being a Distraction Off the Field
Beckham has never gotten into serious trouble off the field and he doesn’t seem to be a bad guy, but he has been known to be a distraction. He is constantly the center of media attention and he brings a lot of that on himself.
One memorable incident involved a trip Beckham took to Miami with several New York Giants teammates just days before the team’s playoff game in Green Bay in January of 2017. Yes, it was an off day with no practice scheduled and again, no real harm was done, but it certainly didn’t look like Beckham was concentrating on the team’s game plan for their upcoming postseason game later in the week.
There have been other incidents as well, such as a video released on social media with a French model and an interview the star wide receiver gave before last season in GQ magazine that rattled more than a few feathers.
The Packers presently have a very tight knit, strong locker room. Beckham could easily be a distraction to the team and disrupt that strong chemistry.
Again, while Beckham is not a bad guy, there is a reason that the Giants traded him just one year after signing him to a five-year, $95 million contract and why the Browns may be looking to trade him again now.
Many NFL coaches believe they can get a player on the right path or change his personality to help him not be a distraction, but most of the time they are wrong. Beckham is who he is, a very talented athlete who can be a distraction to his teammates and who always seems to end up at the center of media controversies. The Packers don’t need that potential disruption in their clubhouse.
4. Beckham is Coming Off Core Muscle Surgery
After the 2019 season, Beckham underwent core muscle surgery to repair hip and groin injuries. He should be ready to start the 2020 season, but certainly the Packers team doctors would need to be sure Beckham is healthy before dealing for the former LSU star.
In addition to the injury that slowed him last season, Beckham missed four games in 2018 due to a quad injury and missed 12 games in 2017 due to an injured ankle. In his rookie season, he missed most of training camp and the first four games of the regular season due to a hamstring injury.
In six NFL seasons, Beckham has only played 16 games twice. His ability to stay healthy will likely decrease as he gets older and he has more wear and tear on his body. This is something the Packers need to be aware of before making a deal for Beckham.
At the end of the day, the Packers and GM Brian Gutekunst have better options than adding Odell Beckham Jr. at wide receiver. Yes, there is a big potential gain if Beckham is healthy, happy and not a distraction off the field, but that’s a big if and far from certain. In addition, the cost of acquiring him, his high cap hit and his potential for off the field distractions make him an expensive and risky proposition.
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