The Cleveland Browns have been a disappointment. At this point, that statement is longer opinion, it is fact. Around the NFL, opinions were quite high before the season, and Cleveland was expected to compete for an AFC North title and, at the very least, a playoff spot.
Reality has now checked the Browns into the boards, and they're struggling to recover. They sit at 2-3 with statistically below-average units on both sides of the ball. Baker Mayfield has completed 55 percent of his passes this year for an average of seven yards per attempt and thrown eight interceptions to four touchdowns. The Browns' prized offseason acquisition, Odell Beckham Jr., may as well be invisible, and has caught all of 23 passes for 335 yards and one touchdown.
Thus, the criticism has arrived in bunches. Colin Cowherd suggested today (insisting it was NOT, in fact, a hot take) that the Browns should trade Beckham while they still can.
The backbone of Cowherd's argument is that Freddie Kitchens feels obligated to shoehorn Beckham Jr. into the game plan, regardless of how well he fits, because of what was given up for him and his overall star power. If they ship him out, everything will flow more smoothly. Or so the logic goes.
Cowherd may be right in regards to how Kitchens is trying to get Beckham Jr. the ball. It would explain a lot if Kitchens was going out of his way (and away from his bread-and-butter offensive concepts) to feature someone like OBJ.
But it seems terribly soon to pull the plug on the OBJ/Mayfield experiment already. The Browns would have trouble moving him because everyone knows they have no leverage and his contract matches his talent, rather than his production. They couldn't get anywhere near the two first-round picks they sent to New York for Beckham Jr. this offseason. Considering those picks and the possibility of OBJ flourishing in Cleveland a sunk cost after precisely five games seems to be a quick judgement.
Yeah, Cleveland hasn't come close to the standards we all set for it, and looking as bad as it did against San Francisco on Monday night usually results in thousands of fans demanding change. The frustration is mounting. But it's not anywhere close to where it has to be for the Browns' front office to jettison a player of Beckham Jr.'s caliber. Cleveland literally didn't win a game in an entire season two years ago, and now it should trade its most talented player because it's "only" won two? Come on now. He'll be around for at least this season, if not longer, because the possibility of Mayfield-to-Beckham for the next five years is far more tantalizing than a second-round pick and supposed peace of mind right now.