Cleveland Browns: Why did the Giants trade Odell Beckham? – Terry Pluto


Why did the Giants do it?

That’s what I was wondering after New York shipped receiver Odell Beckham and pass rusher Olivier Vernon to the Browns for guard Kevin Zeitler, safety Jabrill Peppers and 2019 draft picks in the first and third rounds.

For several months, the Giants supposedly wanted at least two first round picks for Beckham, their star receiver.

I guess you can consider Peppers a first-rounder. He was the 25th pick in the 2017 draft by the Browns.

And they added the No. 17 pick in this draft to the package.

Kevin Zeitler is a good guard, he’ll immediately help the shaky Giants offensive line. The third-round pick originally belonged to New England – it’s No.


That’s the best the Giants could do for a Pro Bowl caliber receiver and their best pass-rusher?

Apparently so.

“Another team made an offer we couldn’t refuse,” New York Giants GM David Gettleman told the media. “For us to move Odell, the other team was going to have to knock it out of the park.

Kevin Zeitler was a top target for the Giants in their trade talks with the Browns.

Photo by John Kuntz /



This actually was two trades between the Browns and Giants. The first had Cleveland sending Zeitler to New York for Vernon.

The Browns valued an expensive pass-rusher over an expensive guard. The Giants prized Zeitler and were desperate to acquire help to protect QB Eli Manning.

2. Gettleman inherited the outrageously rich five-year, $85 million contract signed by Vernon before the 2016 season.

Gettleman didn’t come to New York until late in 2017. He thought Vernon was good, but not worth the money.

Vernon also missed nine games in the last two years with ankle injuries.


The Browns liked Zeitler, but thought his contract (from the Sashi Brown front office) was too rich. The John Dorsey front office also drafted Austin Corbett in 2018.

He was destined to replace Zeitler at guard.


So we have two GMs who also happen to be friends dealing players who were signed by prior regimes. One valued a guard, one valued the pass rusher.

It makes sense on several levels.



Gettleman spent part of his press conference explaining how he “wasn’t shopping” Beckham. He said the only call he made to another team about Beckham was to Buffalo not long after the Bills’ failed bid to deal for Pittsburgh receiver Antonio Brown became public.

2. For months, Beckham was rumored to be available.

Gettleman didn’t have to “shop” him. The media did that job for the Giants.

You can discount those remarks, even if Gettleman was accurate in saying the only Beckham call he initiated was to Buffalo.


Gettleman was hired by the Giants on Dec. 28, 2017.

Eight months later – Aug. 27, 2018 – he signed Beckham to a five-year, $90 million deal.

That was the largest contract ever given a receiver.


So Gettleman signed Beckham near the end of training camp, but he was never New York’s GM during a regular season with the talented but emotional receiver. My sense is Gettleman began to wonder if Beckham was worth the organizational fatigue that comes with the receiver’s huge profile and mood swings.

5. On March 13, 2019, Beckham was traded to the Browns.

So less than eight months after signing Beckham, Gettleman traded him.


To review: Eight months after joining the Giants, Gettleman makes Beckham the NFL’s highest paid receiver. Nearly eight months later, he traded Beckham for Peppers along with picks No.

17 and No. 95.

7. No matter what Gettleman says, his actions scream the Giants wanted Beckham out.

They even are willing to carry $19 million of “dead salary cap money” in 2019 for Beckham to play for the Browns.