Go west, young man.
Odell Beckham Jr.'s career has been an intriguing one, to say the least. Originally drafted by the Giants and widely regarded as one of the most dominant wideouts in football, Beckham has made two stops since his 2014 first-round selection, reviving his career with the Rams this year.
Beckham's last stop, a two-and-a-half year stint with the Browns, was once fraught with promise: Alongside a young, budding QB and a former college teammate of his, Beckham was expected to help bring explosiveness to their offense. Instead, we got a self-destruction.
Finding a home within the Rams offense, Beckham's career is back on track, and he's making a marked difference with Matthew Stafford in the Sean McVay-designed scheme.
Here's what went wrong with the Cleveland marriage:
What happened between Odell Beckham Jr. and the Browns?
While Beckham never truly showed disappointment during his time in Cleveland — not until the final days, and even then, it was his father — the results were disappointing. A lot of the ineffectiveness was more because he was a misfit in the offense than Beckham being a misfit himself.
Beckham's touches reached their ceiling with Cleveland in 2019, under the watch of head coach Freddie Kitchens. In Year 1 with the Browns, Beckham had 77 total touches (74 receptions, three rushes) in 16 games. That was the lowest total in Beckham's career outside of his injury-plagued 2017 season with the Giants, when he received 26 touches.
In 2020, the scheme evolved under new coach Kevin Stefanski, who utilized more of a run-heavy attack. Beckham wasn't exactly getting his touches then either. Through seven games, Beckham grabbed 23 passes and had three rushes for 26 total touches. A torn ACL ended his season prematurely.
The following season didn't offer any better success for the Browns offense at large, or the Baker Mayfield-Beckham connection: While injuries destroyed the Browns' playoff hopes, Cleveland had one of the league's worst all-around passing attacks, with or without Beckham.
That sparked a bit of drama in 2021: Beckham's father posted the following 11-minute video of Mayfield missing throws to Beckham on Instagram on Nov. 2:
Mayfield responded to the criticisms by Beckham's father the following day:
#Browns QB Baker Mayfield was asked if he would accept an apology from Odell Beckham Jr.: "Yeah, I think any sort of conversation would go a long way."
Asked if he’s hurt by it all: "Hurt? Nah. Surprised? Yes."
"I think any sort of conversation (with Beckham) would go a long way," Mayfield told the media.
Just under a week later, the Browns released Beckham after reworking his contract, rendering him a free agent. Prior to his arrival in Cleveland, Beckham had made it known that he wanted to play on the West Coast. (Cleveland isn't on the West Coast, if you're keeping score at home.)
Beckham snagged just 19 touches total in 2021 over six games before he was released.
It wouldn't take long for him to find a new gig: Beckham signed with the Rams on Nov. 11, and in December, he weighed in on his time with the Browns and early returns with the Rams.
"Over the last couple of years, I’ve felt deprived," Beckham said. "I've definitely missed the end zone for sure, and it just hasn’t been as easy and seamless as it could and should be. I’m someone who I feel like I should score once or twice every single game. I feel like I can get 100 yards every single game."
Now, Beckham is catching TDs in the postseason. The Browns are watching from their couches.