Browns' Odell Beckham doesn't plan to request trade, but changes are necessary in Cleveland
The Browns have been one of the NFL's biggest disappointments after bringing huge expectations into 2019
Odell Beckham's difficult first season with the Browns has not gone according to plan, with the receiver and the Browns offense struggling much of the year, but the former All-Pro does not plan to request a trade, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.
Beckham is among a core of veteran Browns players, however, who are interested to see what changes, if any, are made to the team's staff and scheme in 2020, with some deep concerns about the lack of evolution in a passing game many expected to be among the best in football. Quarterback Baker Mayfield has regressed in his second season, and he hasn't clicked with any pass catcher other than slot receiver Jarvis Landry as the Browns are on the verge of being eliminated from playoff contention. Head coach Freddie Kitchens has struggled to keep the team disciplined while also managing the game and making the calls on offense, while some in the organization believe coordinator Todd Monken should have been delegated a bigger role on that side of the ball.
There have been no decisions made about any potential surgical procedures Beckham may require in 2020 -- a sports hernia surgery is far from a certainty, contrary to a report -- and while he has played through discomfort this season, sources said it has not been significant enough to prevent him from sprinting, cutting and running a full route tree.
Mayfield's relationships with his teammates have become an issue at times, and his comments about the contracts and injury situations of other Browns player have rankled some. Mayfield became the face of the franchise and a national celebrity after a breakout rookie season, but has not come close to meeting that output this season, already throwing more interceptions (16-14), on pace for far fewer touchdowns (15-27), a worse completion percentage (59.2-63.8), lower yards per attempt (7.2-7.7) and far worse quarterback rating (77.6-93.7).
Mayfield, the first-overall pick in 2018, ranks 33rd in passer rating (behind Mason Rudolph and Kyle Allen, both far less heralded prospects who were forced into starting duty because of injury), and of all quarterbacks only Jameis Winston has thrown more interceptions and has a worse interception percentage. Landry is the only Browns player with more than two touchdown receptions, and Mayfield has completed just 55 percent his 108 targets to Beckham.
Getting him back on track, one way or the other, would be imperative to making strides overall on offense in 2020. Beckham, who was acquired by the Browns in a blockbuster deal with the Giants in the offseason, has been frustrated much of the season, sources said, but has essentially bit his tongue and gone out of his way not to speak out or act out in anger.
Kitchens is unproven as a play caller -- he did the job for less than a full season previously -- and a head coach, and his team has lacked discipline since Week 1, while his offense has yet to take hold. Despite all of their bold moves on offense the past two years, the Browns rank just 21st in offensive points scored, behind teams like the Lions and Cardinals.
Beckham has voiced his displeasure with the offense with confidants and some friends around the league, including opponents at times before or after games, but does not plan to formally ask to be dealt this offseason. But the Browns may have plenty to sort through after the season, and general manager John Dorsey has been one of the most aggressive deal-makers in football.
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