As wide receiver options for the Patriots continue to dwindle (the departure of Cordarelle Patterson being the latest blow), you can scratch perhaps the highest-profile available receiver off the list.
In a blockbuster heard around the NFL on Tuesday night, the New York Giants have reportedly traded Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns.
The deal was first reported by the NFL's Network's Mike Garafolo, who had to assure the Twitterverse that he was indeed serious.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports the Giants will receive a first-round pick, a third-round pick and safety Jabril Peppers. That third-round pick originally came from the Patriots in the deal that sent defensive lineman Danny Shelton to New England.
So to repeat: Browns get Odell Beckham Jr. and Giants get a first-round pick, third-round pick and S Jabril Peppers, source tells ESPN. There's the trade.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 13, 2019
The Giants had just signed Beckham Jr. to a five-year, $95 million contract last summer, but he has conflicted with management over his conduct on and off the field. A three-time Pro Bowl selection, he had 77 catches for 1,052 yards and six touchdowns last season despite missing the final four games with a quad injury.
The Patriots reportedly tried to trade for Beckham last offseason and Tom Brady invited him to New England in an Instagram post last week, part of frequent IG exchanges the star QB has had with the elite wide receiver.
Beckham will now team with quarterback Baker Mayfield, who is coming off a spectacular rookie season in which he was runner-up to Giants running back Saquon Barkley as the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year. The Browns rebounded from an 0-16 season to finish 7-8-1 and into playoff contention last season. They'll visit Foxboro this season. NFL schedules will be released in April. But with the Patriots rumored to be ticketed for the Sunday night game in Week 1, a Cleveland-New England season-opener at Gillette Stadium is a distinct possibility.
Beckham gave one of his first reactions to the deal to Kim Jones of the NFL Network, after he had spoken with Giants GM Dave Gettleman:
Just talked to Odell Beckham Jr, who said he had a “brief” convo w/Dave Gettleman. “At this point I have no idea what to think. I’m trying to process it right now.” Said leaving #NYG is “bittersweet, but it is what it is. It’s life.”— Kimberly Jones (@KimJonesSports) March 13, 2019
Mayfield was quick to post about the acquisition on social media:
Movement. https://t.co/uFDcRq7OI0— Baker Mayfield (@bakermayfield) March 13, 2019
With the addition of Beckham, the Browns hope to end a playoff drought that stretches to 2002. They last won a playoff game on Jan. 1, 1995 when they beat the Patriots in a Wild Card Game.
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