The Cleveland Browns acquired star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. from the New York Giants last March, but the first year relationship was rocky to say the least. There were reports of Beckham's unhappiness amidst fines related to his on-field attire that did not meet league rules. According to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, the Browns want to keep the wide receiver and have no plans to trade him.
Speculation regarding the team's potential interest in trading him had already begun to run rampant. Cleveland is hopeful that Beckham will be present for voluntary organized team activities (OTAs) to set an example for the younger players on the roster. During his introductory press conference, new head coach Kevin Stefanski was asked about the benefit of taking part in voluntary OTAs.
"It is voluntary. I will tell you, I think it is important. I think it's going to be time for us to start implementing our schemes. It is team building, so I am looking forward to the players and having them back in the building, but ultimately, like you mentioned, it is voluntary," Stefanski said.
Beckham claimed that his decision to not join the team for voluntary OTAs a year ago was related to his physical health.
"Everybody knows their body. I know my body better than anybody else. I know what it takes to get me in top physical condition, mental and all of those things. This is not my first rodeo. It is not my first go round. I just know what it takes to get there," Beckham said June 5, when asked why he did not attend voluntary OTAs.
While with the Minnesota Vikings, Stefanski oversaw an offense that included wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. Both players saw their receptions per game decrease from prior years. However, Diggs saw a spike in big play targets. His 17.9 yards per reception was significantly higher than his previous best (13.8). The offense that Gary Kubiak helped install in Minnesota is similar to the one utilized by the San Francisco 49ers. The pass game is set up through the run game, which calls for a wide blocking scheme. San Francisco has relied on a lot of motion and misdirection this season; something that Browns fans may see more of from Stefanski in the future.
Beckham is coming off a frustrating season by his standards. His 74 receptions were the fewest during a season in which he played at least 12 games. He has averaged 4.33 touchdowns per season over the last three years. In his first three seasons, the former No. 12 overall selection averaged 11.67 touchdowns per season. The LSU product finished the campaign with 74 receptions for 1,035 yards and four touchdowns.