Browns celebrate new league year by landing Odell Beckham, Olivier Vernon

Beckham welcomes "fresh start," ready to win in Cleveland

Daryl Ruiter
March 13, 2019 - 4:17 pm

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – Happy New League Year.

The Cleveland Browns celebrated in style by making official the blockbuster trade that rocked the sports world Tuesday night.

Two trades with the New York Giants that netted Pro Bowl receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and Pro Bowl defensive end Olivier Vernon for right guard Kevin Zeitler, safety Jabrill Peppers and the Nos. 17 and 95 picks in the 2019 NFL Draft officially became one Wednesday.

“He's probably if not the one, one or two best receivers in the National Football League,” Dorsey said of Beckham. “Very rarely do you get a chance to acquire a player of this magnitude. He's at a relatively young age. He's got a lot of football left in him. Great hands, great work ethic, committed, competitive, he really wants to be great. And that's all you can ask for.”

Dealing two starters and two picks – including their first rounder that will leave them without such a pick for the first time since 2008 wasn’t easy for Dorsey but was so very worth it.

“It's always tough to let go of quality individuals who are quality players, but the organization looked at this and said for the greater good of this organization and this franchise moving forward, we have to acquire these types of players,” Dorsey said. 

Beckham is the cherry on top of Dorsey's massive roster gut and rebuild over the last 15 months since taking over a winless club as general manager in Dec. 2017.

“The Browns are an organization that is moving forward and it’s exciting to be a part of something special that is in the process of being built,” Beckham said. “We have a lot of work ahead of us but I really feel like it’s time for the Browns to come together, start winning a lot games and I’m grateful to be a part of that going forward.”

The process of landing Beckham, a three-time Pro Bowler who has four 1,000 receiving seasons and 44 career touchdowns under his belt and provides quarterback Baker Mayfield with a No. 1 target to pair with Jarvis Landry, began months ago.

“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,” Dorsey said. “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.” 

Criticized for his exuberant personality in New York, Beckham plans to bring the same level of passion and commitment he showed on the field for the Giants to Cleveland.

“I’ve already witnessed the energy fans bring in that city having been to some playoff games at The Q. Browns fans deserve a winning football team,” Beckham said. “This is a fresh start for me and it’s going to be great to join Baker and Jarvis on this team. I will always appreciate the opportunity the Giants granted me and I’m thankful to them along with the fans and people in that city for supporting me.”

Beckham and Landry were teammates at LSU and receivers coach Adam Henry, who coached them in college, joins their reunion.

Vernon made his first Pro Bowl in 2018 for the Giants that saw him tally seven sacks in 11 games last season and he’ll provide Garrett and the Browns with the strong bookend up front and nightmare for opposing quarterbacks they’ve been seeking.

“I’m excited to be a part of the Dawg Pound, be able to represent and help build something special in Cleveland,” Vernon said. “The front office is adding pieces to the puzzle. We are trying to win. I was not expecting (Beckham to come, too). Odell is a great teammate and person. We both have our own goals of what we would like to accomplish and there is no better place to do that than Cleveland.”  

Vernon, who was moved last year to an outside linebacker in the Giants’ 3-4 base scheme, will be returned to his natural position at defensive end in Cleveland.

“Now he gets a chance to go back to what he naturally does, put his hand in the ground and be able to pressure the quarterback and apply some pressure,” Dorsey said. “I think when you combine him with a Myles Garrett, now you have two guys on the outside that can put an incredible amount of pressure on the quarterback, and that's what you want in this defense. I think we've gotten better on the defensive line, and that's all you can ask for.”

Next up is the three-year, $39 million contract with Vikings free agent defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson that was agreed to on Tuesday.

On Wednesday Dorsey added two more players – Chiefs free agent tight end Demetrius Harris and Buccaneers linebacker/special teamer Adarius Taylor.

Once Richardson, Harris and Taylor pass their physicals and put pen to paper, those deals will also become official.