Two weeks and change into training camp, the Cleveland Browns are having a rough time keeping their players on the field.
Recently acquired return man Jakeem Grant, coming into Cleveland off of a Pro Bowl effort with the Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins in 2021, will miss the entire season with a torn achilles tendon he suffered on Tuesday, August 9. The news follows a blown out ACL for receiver Isaiah Weston who the Browns waived last week, and a re-aggravated hamstring strain for Michael Woods who remains sidelined after a hot start to camp.
The position group in general has been under assault from the injury bug this preseason, as Amari Cooper, David Bell, Anthony Schwartz and Javon Wims also suffered setbacks over the last 19 days. All have now returned to regular preseason work, however.
Thus far, Cleveland has looked to younger and cheaper options like Derrick Dillon and Daylen Baldwin to prop up the wide receiver room, but league insiders believe it might be time for the front office to consider spending some of its NFL-leading $49 million in salary cap room on a veteran pass catcher.
The best option in that regard may be free agent and former Brown Odell Beckham Jr. who is, ironically, recovering from a serious injury of his own — a torn ACL he sustained during the second quarter of the Los Angeles Rams‘ Super Bowl victory in February.
The latest Browns news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on Browns newsletter here!
NFL Insider Suggests Beckham, Browns Marriage Could be Revived
Bill Barnwell of ESPN suggested on Monday that either Beckham or Will Fuller, the latter of which was a teammate of quarterback Deshaun Watson for four seasons with the Houston Texans, could be meaningful additions to a Browns’ team that ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) currently gives a 56.7% chance of making the playoffs.
The Browns … have plenty of flexibility if they want to add a veteran receiver. It’s easy to link them to Will Fuller given the presence of his former Texans teammate Watson on the roster, but Fuller has barely been on the NFL radar after a lost 2021 campaign.
The other prominent wide receiver left on the market is Odell Beckham Jr., who left Cleveland amid an ignominious breakup in November. This could be a position the Browns try to address after rosters are cut to 53 in a few weeks.
Beckham Won’t Likely be Cleared to Play Until Mid-Season
Beckham is likely going to remain sidelined until at least the middle of the year.
But Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report on Monday offered a list of reasons why the Browns should jump on a Beckham signing now — not the least of which is that NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported recently that “several contending teams” continue to have interest in adding the three-time Pro Bowler.
Signing Beckham now would also allow him to begin working with a team’s training staff and to start learning the offense. This would give him a better chance to hit the ground running once he’s healthy enough to return.
As we saw with the Los Angeles Rams last year, Beckham can be a valuable late-season addition. In the playoffs alone, he had 288 yards and two touchdowns in fewer than four complete games.