What happened with Odell Beckham Jr. and the Browns? Revisiting the controversy that led to release

Go west, young man.

Odell Beckham Jr.’s career has been intriguing, to say the least. Originally drafted by the Giants and widely regarded as one of the most dominant wide receivers in football, Beckham has made two stops since his 2014 first-round pick, reliving his career with the Rams this year.

Beckham’s last stop, a 2 1/2-year stint with the Browns, was once full of 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-destruct.

Finding a home within the Rams’ offense, Beckham’s career is back on track and he’s making a marked difference to Matthew Stafford in Sean McVay’s scheme.

Here’s what went wrong with the Cleveland marriage:

What happened between Odell Beckham Jr. and the Browns?

While Beckham never showed any real disappointment during his time in Cleveland, not until the last few days — and even then, it was his father — were the results underwhelming. Much of the ineffectiveness was due more to him being a misfit on offense than to Beckham being a misfit himself.

Beckham’s touches peaked with Cleveland in 2019 under head coach Freddie Kitchens. In Year 1 with the Browns, Beckham had 77 total touches (74 receptions, three runs) in 16 games. That was Beckham’s career-low total outside of his injury-plagued 2017 season with the Giants, when he received 26 touches.

In 2020, the scheme evolved under new manager Kevin Stefanski, who used more of a running attack. Beckham wasn’t exactly getting his touch, either. Through seven games, Beckham caught 23 passes and had three runs for a total of 26 touches. A torn anterior cruciate ligament ended his season prematurely.

The following season offered no better success for the Browns’ offense overall, or the Baker Mayfield-Beckham connection: While injuries dashed the Browns’ playoff hopes, Cleveland had one of the worst passing attacks in the league, with or without Beckham.

That caused a bit of drama in 2021: Beckham’s father posted the following 11-minute video of Mayfield missing shots at Beckham on Instagram on November 2:

Mayfield responded to Beckham’s father’s criticism the following day:

“I think any kind of conversation (with Beckham) would be very helpful,” Mayfield told reporters.

Just under a week later, the Browns released Beckham after modifying his contract, making him a free agent. Before 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 back home.)

Beckham snagged just 19 total touches in 2021 in six games before being released.

It didn’t take him long to find a new job: Beckham signed with the Rams on Nov. 11, and in December, he weighed in on his time with the Browns and his first returns with the Rams.

“For the last two years, I’ve felt deprived,” Beckham said. “I definitely missed the end zone for sure, and it just hasn’t been as easy and fluid as it could and should be. I’m someone who feels like I should score once or twice every game. I feel like I can get 100 yards every play”.

Now, Beckham is catching touchdowns in the postseason. The Browns are watching from their couches.