The Packers will correct one of their biggest issues from the 2019 season — lacking a true No. 2 wide receiver to pair with star Davante Adams — and trade for Cleveland Browns wideout Odell Beckham Jr. to house one of the most dynamic receiver duos in the league, according to NFL insider Sheil Kapadia’s list of 20 predictions.
While the value of someone like Beckham is obvious, Kapadia’s logic for the prediction calls back to general manager Brian Gutekunst stating last month the Packers looked into trading for an “explosive offensive player” at the trade deadline but couldn’t find the right deal. The offseason will offer another opportunity to bring more receiver talent to Green Bay with the clock ticking on 36-year-old quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ playing days.
Per Kapadia’s piece for The Athletic:
This offseason is time to revisit those talks and see if (the Packers) can pair Beckham with Davante Adams. The Beckham experiment in Cleveland was a massive failure, but new GM Andrew Berry can at least get quality draft picks (maybe a first and a player or a first and a fifth?) in return for him with the focus being on building a consistently competitive team for the long term.
The rumors about Beckham leaving Cleveland this offseason have been swirling since the second half of the 2019 regular season, as the Browns struggled under since-fired head coach Freddie Kitchens. During his introductory press conference on Wednesday, new head coach Kevin Stefanski affirmed that he “certainly” wants Beckham with the Browns next season, but added: “There’s a standard that we’ll set and that we’re going to ask of them to adhere to those standards.”
Beckham caught 74 passes for 1,035 yards and four touchdowns last season and formed a dangerous receiving tandem with Jarvis Landry, who led the Browns with 83 catches for 1,174 yards and six touchdowns. Mayfield’s shortcomings, though, often left them both underutilized as Cleveland went from preseason contender to outside the playoff picture in miserable fashion.
Beckham certainly could be playing for another team next season, depending on how the next few months develop, but there are a few reasons why Kapadia’s bold prediction might be a long shot for the Packers to get done this offseason.
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Could Packers Afford to Trade for OBJ?
Tempting the Browns into parting ways with Beckham would probably take the Packers giving up this year’s first-round draft pick along with other assets, whether it be more picks or a player. The 2020 NFL draft class is deep with wide receivers, but the need would be satisfied with an addition like OBJ, so the sacrifice could be made. But financially, it might not make a ton of sense.
The Packers have a number of offseason needs to address without the same amount of spendable cap that allowed them to be so aggressive last offseason. Cutting players such as Jimmy Graham and Lane Taylor would free up some space, but it would take probably take deeper cuts to chase a blockbuster like Beckham.
Beckham is currently signed through the 2023 season with the Browns on a deal that will cost $14.25 million against the cap, climbing to $15 million or more in each of the final three seasons of his deal. Absorbing a contract like that would chew up about two-thirds of the Packers’ spendable cap.
There is also the red flag of Beckham getting called out specifically about adhering to team standards by his brand-new coach based on reputation. There is a legitimate argument that, if Beckham continues to do things like slapping a police officer’s rear end and hanging out “fake” money to college football players, he might not be the type of player the Packers’ coaching staff wants to add to their culture-strong locker room.
Is the drama enough of a deal-killer on its own? No, but it doesn’t help the case when there are other top-shelf wideouts available this offseason.