The Cleveland Browns were 8-4 this past season after Odell Beckham Jr. tore his ACL. Before that, Beckham was targeted 43 times, catching only 23 passes. He had hauled in three receiving touchdowns before he went down, but overall, his impact was minimal at best. So, when Browns fans get word that a primetime corner could be on the trade block, they immediately think the Browns need to trade OBJ for whatever corner is out there.
The corner that is supposedly on the trade block is 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore. After an incredible 2019 season, the ball-hawk had only one interception this past year, playing in only 11-of-16 games for the Patriots. While landing Gilmore would be a massive haul for the Browns front office, Odell Beckham Jr. should not be a part of any trade package for Gilmore.
Why the Browns Shouldn’t Trade OBJ
Even though Beckham’s impact has been limited in his two seasons with the Browns, he still changes the game for multiple reasons. When OBJ is in the game, he’s still one of the best in the NFL. He will draw double-teams nearly every snap, which opens up passing lanes for Baker Mayfield and guys like Jarvis Landry and Rashard Higgins. On top of that, Beckham, is still one of the most explosive players in the NFL. He adds another dimension to the Browns offense. Two weeks before he went down with the ACL injury, he had a huge game versus the Dallas Cowboys. OBJ caught a touchdown pass from Landry. He also put the game to bed with his touchdown scamper on a wide receiver reverse.
Other Possible Stephon Gilmore Trade Packages
While it’s in the best interest for the Browns to hold on to OBJ, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be on the phones with New England right now. Gilmore, like many in the NFL, did have a steep decline in production from 2019 to 2020. His decline was similar to the decline Richard Sherman had after his best statistical season in 2013-14. Sherman’s interceptions were cut in half the year after, along with his passes defended. However, Gilmore still has a lot of value for the Browns. Adding Gilmore to the defensive backfield would make the Browns defense eerily similar to the “Legion of Boom” years in Seattle. Here are two possible Stephon Gilmore trade packages.
Stephon Gilmore Trade Package Number One
Cleveland Receives: CB Stephon Gilmore*
New England Receives: 2021 Third Round Pick (#89) & 2022 Third
Word around the NFL is that Patriots are either going to trade up for a quarterback, or if they can’t find a trade partner, they will try and trade out of the 15th pick. While trading out of the 15th pick wouldn’t help the Browns much, it is possible that one of Jaycee Horn or Patrick Surtain II would be on the board at 15. However, if that were the case, it would take the Browns a lot more draft capital to acquire that pick. The easier route is to acquire Gilmore for draft capital. Gilmore is 30, and will be 31 by the middle of the season. So, if Andrew Berry deals the Patriots this year’s 89th pick and a 2022 third-round pick, it could be enough to pry Gilmore from New England. It’s also possible they would ask for more draft capital, but at that point, it just comes down to negotiating a deal that helps both sides.
Gilmore is on the downward swing of his career, but is still a top-10 coverage corner in the NFL. Adding the veteran to a defensive backfield full of young budding stars like Denzel Ward and John Johnson III, would not only help the Browns on the field this year, but for year’s to come. Gilmore has gone one-on-one with some of the best receivers the NFL has to offer. His guidance and wisdom would be welcomed with open arms. All in all, this is the perfect trade for the Browns, as they really aren’t mortgaging their future on a 31-year old corner. New England could want more, but we’ll deal with that when the time comes.
Stephon Gilmore Trade Package Number Two
Cleveland Receives: CB Stephon Gilmore*, NE Third Round Pick (#139)
New England Receives: Cleveland’s Second Round Pick (#59)
It is not a secret around the NFL that Bill Belichick would like to find his future quarterback sooner rather than later. There is a fairly high chance one of the top-five quarterbacks in the draft will be on the board at 15, but New England might have specific player in mind. The Browns’ thought process at this point should be to pry Gilmore from New England however they can. Even though pick 59 isn’t necessarily a huge haul for the Patriots, it could help them move up a couple spots on Thursday evening. The Browns should be more than willing to give up the 59th pick for a player of Gilmore’s caliber. On top of that, they land a fourth-round pick in return.
*(Gilmore has a cap hit of $16 million, so he would need to re-negotiate to spread out that hit)
What This Means For the Future of the Browns
The 2021 NFL Draft should tell Browns fans everything they need to know about the management team and front office. After signing Jadeveon Clowney and John Johnson III , among others, Andrew Berry is showing the league that the Browns are ready to win, and win now. If the Browns pull off a favorable Stephon Gilmore trade, this will be a complete team ready to compete for a Super Bowl.