The Cleveland Browns officially announced the acquisition of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. on Wednesday, moments after the new league year opened at 4 p.m. ET. The deal was combined with a previously reported trade that will also send defensive end Olivier Vernon to Cleveland and guard Kevin Zeitler to New York. The Giants will also receive safety Jabrill Peppers and Cleveland's first-round (17th overall) and third-round (95th overall) draft picks next month.
"It's a reflection of the direction the organization is headed," Browns general manager John Dorsey said in a statement. "My hat's off to a lot of people in this organization because we spent countless hours, weeks -- I mean, we can go all the way back to December when we began the planning phases of these types of acquisitions. So my hat's off to a lot of people in the personnel department and the coaching staff. And for ownership for allowing these types of things to happen. It shows you that ownership is committed to winning. "Then, when you talk about the players. Each of them respectively are very good football players who will come in here and help us achieve our goal, and that's to be competitive year in and year out in the AFC North. And hopefully, they are some of the pieces that will help us awaken this sleeping giant."
The trade ended months of speculation that Beckham was on his way out of New York. After signing Beckham to a five-year, $95 million contract last season, the Giants saw their season spiral downward, and rumors of a possible trade did not cease despite general manager Dave Gettleman telling reporters at the combine "We did not sign Odell to trade him." Beckham, 26, finished with 77 catches for 1,052 yards and six touchdowns last season. In 59 career games over five seasons, Beckham has 390 catches for 5,476 yards and 44 touchdowns. He made the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons, but injuries have cost him 16 games the last two seasons.
The Giants will eat $16 million in dead money on their salary cap for the deal, while the Browns have the wideout under contract for five years and $77 million.
(With inputs from agencies.)