Proposed Trade Has Browns Sending Star WR to Bears

Odell Beckham Browns

Getty Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

The latest trade speculation surrounding Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has the Chicago Bears dealing for the outspoken three-time Pro Bowler.

The trade would bring veteran defensive end Akiem Hicks to Cleveland, helping fortify the interior of the defensive line for the Browns. The deal was proposed in a recent article from Bleacher Report and writer Brad Gannon said the Browns would “be silly” not to make it happen.

Y’all are going to say the Cleveland Browns aren’t trading Beckham and the Chicago Bears aren’t trading Hicks. Fine, but this is a deal the Browns would be silly not to make if the Bears were game. They were extremely successful without Beckham down the stretch last season, and they could desperately use more help in the interior defensive line.

Beckham is coming off a torn ACL but is expected to be ready for the start of the regular season, slowly working his way back into full action. He played in just seven games last year before suffering the season-ending knee injury, recording 23 catches on 43 targets for 319 yards and three touchdowns.

Hicks would provide some additional depth for the Browns at a position where they are relying on big man Andrew Billings and veteran Malik Jackson to hold down the fort. Billings sat out all of last season due to COVID-19 concerns, while Jackson has started just 17 games over the last three seasons.

Hicks played in 15 games with the Bears last season, notching 49 tackles and 3.5 sacks. Hicks is not happy with his contract situation and his agent Drew Rosenhaus said they’re looking for a new deal. The 31-year-old is in the final season of a four-year, $48 million contract.

Browns Going ‘Appropriate Speed’ With Beckham

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While rumors have popped up, Beckham seems firmly in the Browns’ plans for the future and they’ve been careful in his slow ramp-up for a return. While Beckham has looked great in terms of running and cutting, he has not participated in team drills and has yet to play in the preseason (as have a majority of the Browns starters).

“The whole point of this has been to do this thing at the appropriate speed and do it with the consultation of the medical team,” Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said. “We will continue to do that. I do think that there will be a point where he is in team drills and those type of things, but we will make sure he is ready for that.”

Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has been working with Beckham this offseason and with extra reps in training camp to get their timing down — something that has been tough through their first two seasons together.

“We get routes on air. During the special teams breaks, we are getting reps pretty much every day that he is running,” Mayfield told reporters recently during camp. “We are trying to save his legs for the real thing but we are getting plenty of reps right now.”

Browns WR KhaDarel Hodge Making His Case

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The Browns will have some tough decisions to make on cut-down day at both wide receiver and running back. Beckham and Landry are the top two — if healthy — while Rashard Higgins and Donovan Peoples-Jones are battling for the No. 3 spot.

The Browns will also keep third-round rookie Anthony Schwartz on the roster and have liked what they’ve seen out of hybrid RB-WR Demetric Felton. Aside from that, KhaDarel Hodge has made a push to remain with the team thanks to a solid preseason. Against the Giants, Hodge recorded two receptions for 21 yards with a spectacular first-quarter touchdown.

“It felt amazing,” Hodge said of the touchdown. “I’ve been trying to get into the end zone for so long. I just thank God.”

Since landing With Browns in 2019, Hodge has registered 15 receptions for 256 yards.

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