The Cleveland Browns are sick of Odell Beckham Jr.'s artisan brew of being a giant distraction off the field while performing to about league average on it. Therefore they are moving on from the failed experiment. This news comes mere hours after Steve Smith Sr. offered some incredibly non-constructive criticism during the NFL Network's pregame coverage of Jets-Colts.
"You're average," Smith said of the quarterback. "You’re not very good, and Odell is moving on because of you."
Just a quick reset on the situation. Mayfield, the face of the franchise, is moving heaven and Earth to go out there and gut it out with his left shoulder hanging by a thread while Beckham Jr. had his father and LeBron James throw a public fit on his behalf. Beckham Jr. isn't so much moving on from the Browns because of Mayfield. The Browns are moving on from Beckham because of Beckham.
The mercurial wide receiver will have offers for a new landing spot and could potentially revive a once-promising career a la Randy Moss in a Patriots uniform. There is no denying that his time with the Browns was a significant disappointment. Chemistry and consistency with Mayfield never developed and both parties are to blame for that. It's never an either-or situation in reality but sports televisions smooths takes and brains with such efficiency everything needs to be reduced to a spicy binary.
We've come to expect the Stephen A. Smiths and Skip Baylesses of the world to directly address athletes with confrontation in the interest if being more interesting and drawing a response to keep the conversation going. But NFL pregame on the league's own network is an odd place for one the league's promising young quarterbacks to take a direct hit for the sin of ... well, what exactly is Mayfield's sin here?
He led Cleveland to the playoffs and within a few inches of the AFC Championship Game ahead of schedule and while his star wide receiver was on injured reserve. He's going above and beyond to contribute this year. His main mistake seems to be admitting that there was existing friction. You know what else is a good sign there's friction? When a team releases a player like Beckham.
Smith got his shot in and went viral. Mayfield likely won't take the bait. Everyone will move on, like the Browns did this morning. Some other NFL player will find himself in the personal crosshairs next Thursday. And just have to wear it or risk giving it the oxygen it so desperately craves.