OBJ not traded by Browns after dad shared video of missed chances, LeBron James lobbied for freeing him before deadline

Nate Ulrich
Akron Beacon Journal
The father of Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) posted a series of instances when his son was open and didn't get the ball during several games earlier this season. [Jeff Lange/Beacon Journal]

The NFL trade deadline passed at 4 p.m. Tuesday with wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. remaining a member of the Browns.

But the aftereffects of social-media drama preceding the deadline will likely linger and could become a significant obstacle for the franchise.

Beckham has been open many times this season when quarterback Baker Mayfield has either not passed to him or missed him because of an off-target throw or miscommunication.

Anyone who watches the Browns (4-4) closely already knows that.

But for those who aren't aware, Beckham's father, Odell Beckham Sr., apparently wants them to know.

Early Tuesday morning, a video was posted on Beckham Sr.'s verified Instagram account highlighting the Browns' missed opportunities from Weeks 3-6 when OBJ was open.

Later Tuesday, Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James showed support for Beckham by tweeting, "OBJ will show again why he’s special. WR1 #FreeOBJ."

Beckham and Akron native James are friends. They spoke about Cleveland when the Browns acquired Beckham in March 2019 in a trade with the New York Giants, and OBJ even jokingly asked James if he could borrow his mansion in Bath Township.

So the recent social media activity of Beckham Sr. and James created the strong impression OBJ wants out of Cleveland. After all, the three-time Pro Bowl selection has not consistently produced at an elite level with the Browns.

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ESPN's Kimberley Martin reported Beckham doesn't want to be with the Browns, and the organization had trade discussions with the New Orleans Saints, but the two sides couldn't reach an agreement, given how much money OBJ is owed the rest of this season.

Beckham is making $15.75 million this year. He's under contract through the 2023 season, but there is no guaranteed money on his deal in the next two seasons.

Even before Tuesday, the writing had been on the wall for this to be Beckham's last season with the Browns. Unless OBJ is released, he'll be with Cleveland for the rest of this year.

The post on Beckham Sr.'s Instagram account includes a caption containing a series of hashtags, including "#ihurt4him" and "#iloveclevelandlikeilovehome#ilovemysonMO."

Someone who commented on the post claimed Mayfield "just doesn't wanna get Odell the ball." Beckham Sr. responded to the comment with three check mark emojis.

Beckham Sr. also wrote "#bigfacts" in response to other comments calling Mayfield "mediocre" and saying OBJ should be paired with "a real QB."

Browns wideout Rashard Higgins chimed in Tuesday night on Twitter, writing the Cleveland receivers would never turn on Mayfield.

Beckham Sr.'s post featuring the video, which originates from YouTube, doesn't include footage from Sunday's 15-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in which OBJ caught one pass on one official target for 6 yards.

In six games this season, Beckham has 17 catches on 34 targets for 232 yards and two carries for 14 yards. He has not scored a touchdown.

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Beckham, who will turn 29 on Friday, hasn't talked to Browns beat writers since Oct. 14, when he compared himself with NBA star James Harden to explain he wants the ball, but also insisted he wants to win a Super Bowl more than anything.

"The ultimate goal is to win the championship, and I feel like I'm in a great situation to do that," Beckham said. "And it may not be me [catching the ball]. There's going to be days where it will be my day."

Since Beckham made those comments, the Browns have lost two of three games, all at home. They'll have an AFC North matchup on the road Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals (5-3).

Last season in Cincinnati, Beckham suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on Oct. 25, 2020. He worked tirelessly to come back and said in late July he thought the Browns had "a special opportunity" in 2021.

So far, this season has been a disappointment for Beckham and the team. 

Nate Ulrich can be reached at