The rumors are bound to run rampant in the weeks leading up to NFL free agency, but ESPN is putting a spotlight on one potential blockbuster deal that involves the Green Bay Packers and a certain Cleveland Browns wide receiver.
While discussing “daring moves” teams could make this offseason during Monday’s episode of Get up! on ESPN, NFL analyst Dan Orlovsky explored the viability of the Packers making a trade for Odell Beckham Jr. and argued a second-round pick could tempt the Browns to ship their star wideout to Green Bay for the 2020 season.
“I’m kind of into it,” Orlovsky said. “I think that the Packers still lack an explosive receiver outside of Davante Adams. How many years do you have left with 12, Aaron Rodgers?”
The point about Rodgers nearing the end of his career is on the mark, even if the two-time MVP quarterback still has a few more seasons of greatness left in him. The more weapons the Packers manage to put around him in the next few seasons, the better their chances of getting back to the Super Bowl. And really, it would be hard to imagine an offense deadlier than one that has Rodgers throwing passes to Adams and Beckham while Aaron Jones stunts out of the backfield.
“In the last two seasons, (Beckham’s) got 150 catches for over 2,100 yards,” Orlovsky continued. “Still a productive receiver in a bad situation in New York and a bad situation in Cleveland last year. So if the Packers can shell out something, say like a second-round pick, for Odell Beckham and now you’ve got Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams and Odell Beckham on the other side? Yes, they’ve got to win and to keep him happy they’ve got to get him the football, but Odell Beckham is playing better than people think.”
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Deal for Beckham Still Might be Unrealistic
Orlovsky’s scenario of the Packers’ sending their second-round pick to the Browns makes some sense on paper. The upcoming draft class is deep with receiving talent, so the Browns could use the additional pick to horde some of the top pass-catchers if they desired — not to mention they still have Jarvis Landry to lead the room. And for a win-now Packers team, it would be hard to argue a second-round receiver can bring the immediate impact Beckham would.
That said, the cost of getting a trade done for Beckham is only part of the equation. The Packers would also be on the hook for paying out his massive contract, which would be a cap burden for years to come. Beckham is due to make $14 million in base salary alone during the 2020 season and would carry a cap hit of $15 million or more each season from 2021 through 2023. It isn’t impossible to get done, but it might be impractical with the Packers more in the market for a steady No. 2.
Still, some other Packers insiders agreed Beckham would be an appealing move if a second-rounder was, in fact, the cost of getting him to Green Bay. As The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman put it, the Packers’ next couple of seasons “should be about maximizing whatever Rodgers has left.”