When Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. suffered a torn ACL back in Week 7 of the 2020 season, it looked like he could have played his final game with the team.
Trade rumors have followed OBJ from his brilliant five-year run with the New York Giants to Cleveland after he was dealt to the Browns ahead of the 2019 season. The star receiver’s lack of production and the aforementioned injury only added more fuel to these rumors.
With training camp set to get going in July, it sure looks like Beckham Jr. will be a member of the Browns in 2021. It also looks like he’ll be on the field Week 1 against the Kansas City Chiefs.
“Judging from Beckham’s workout posts on social media and from the reports we’re getting from the Browns, I believe he’ll be on the field for the Week 1 rematch in Kansas City on Sept. 12. Beckham is running full speed, cutting and catching passes,” Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com noted recently. “He tore the ACL last Oct. 25 and had surgery in November, which would likely put him back on the field during training camp — at least on a limited basis.”
This timeline makes sense for Odell Beckham Jr. It used to be that players who suffered a torn ACL would be lost for about a calendar year. Recently, advances in the medical field have changed this perception.
Can the Cleveland Browns rely on Odell Beckham Jr. in 2021?
Oct 25, 2020; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) warms up before the game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
This is a completely different question. Entering his Age-29 season and coming off a serious knee injury, there’s no telling how OBJ will look once he does return to the field. It also must be noted that he has yet to find a solid working relationship with Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield in two seasons together.
In seven games this past season, Beckham Jr. caught 23 passes for 319 yards. Overall, he’s posted a horrendous 55.1% catch rate in 23 games with the Browns.
It’s also important to note that Mayfield actually played better a season ago once OBJ went down to that unfortunate ACL injury.
Baker Mayfield 2020 stats
Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) rushes back to the locker room after beating the Pittsburgh Steelers in an NFL wild-card playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. [Jeff Lange/Beacon Journal]
Browns Extras 10
- With Odell Beckham Jr.: 63.1% completion, 1,392 yards, 15 touchdowns, seven interceptions (94.5 rating)
- Without Odell Beckham Jr.: 62.5% completion, 2,171 yards, 11 touchdowns, one interception (96.9 rating)
An argument can be made that Mayfield stopped forcing to specific targets when Beckham Jr. was sidelined. That would explain his one interception over the Browns’ final nine regular-season games. The quarterback also put up four touchdowns against one pick in two playoff games.
As for OBJ, he’s under contract with a $15.7 million cap hit for next season. No one is going to trade for this contract. It’s now up to the three-time Pro Bowl receiver to prove he’s 100% and ready to make a greater impact than we’ve seen in his first two seasons with Cleveland.