According to ESPN's Kimberley Martin, the New Orleans Saints held blockbuster trade talks centered around disgruntled Cleveland Browns star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. The two sides ultimately failed to reach an agreement on a would-be deal, due to their inability to reach terms and the financial burden Beckham carries for the remainder of the 2021 campaign. With Tuesday afternoon's trade deadline now a thing of the past, the Saints should revisit these discussions by exploring a deal for Beckham in the coming offseason.
Earlier on Tuesday, we laid out several wide-ranging reasons why the Browns and Beckham are partnered in a unionship that no longer benefits either party, and why going their separate ways this coming offseason makes sense for all involved.
Sean Payton and New Orleans' struggling passing offense would have plenty to gain by adding a talented receiver such as Beckham into the fold. The Saints have managed to achieve a 5-2 record through seven games and have the appearance of a playoff-bound unit despite arguably featuring a pass-catching corps as thin as the one found in winless Detroit. The Saints' inability to push the ball downfield in 2021 has been enhanced by their overall lack of talent in the receiver room. Beckham, who has struggled mightily to make his mark in Cleveland's run-heavy offense, would serve as an excellent weapon and fit in Payton's perfectly balanced passing attack that typically prioritizes exploiting every blade of grass at all areas of the field.
Acquiring Beckham will not be possible for a cash-strapped Saints team without general manager Mickey Loomis addressing their own silent, but giant elephant in the room.
Trade rumors have swirled around Saints receiver Michael Thomas for quite some time now. The former Ohio State standout has experienced a strange year dating back to a high-ankle sprain suffered in September of 2020. Thomas has appeared in just seven of a possible 23 regular-season games dating back to last season, and his relationship with the Saints has seemingly deteriorated over that time period. From an altercation with a teammate which led to a suspension to reportedly ignoring calls from his coaches, it's safe to say the alliance between Thomas and the Saints is currently operating in a strange space.
It's difficult to gauge what the trade market would look like for the once-dominant Thomas given his recent string of health issues. Thomas and the Saints agreed to a massive five-year, $96.25 million extension just two years ago, a deal that won't expire until the conclusion of the 2024 campaign. The financial burden a team would endure by acquiring Thomas, paired with his injury woes, makes this a difficult situation to sort through, but it's tough to envision there not being a market for the record-breaking receiver.
If the relationship between Thomas and the Saints further deteriorates, the likelihood of Thomas playing elsewhere in 2022 only heightens. If such a situation were to unravel, Loomis, Payton, and the Saints should strike quickly in their pursuits to acquire Beckham from the Browns.