BEREA, Ohio– Odell Beckham Jr. and Olivier Vernon are officially members of the Cleveland Browns.
The team acquired the two in a trade with the Giants that sent guard Kevin Zeitler and safety Jabrill Peppers to New York, the Browns said in a news release when the new league year opened on Wednesday. Cleveland also gave up its first-round draft pick and third-round draft pick.
“It’s a reflection of the direction the organization is headed,” said Browns general manager John Dorsey in the news release. “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.”
“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,” Dorsey continued.
Beckham, who Dorsey called one of the top WRs in the NFL, recorded more than 1,000 receiving yards in four of his five seasons. The 26-year-old is a three-time Pro Bowler. Despite missing four games last season, he still logged 77 receptions for 1,052 yards and six touchdowns.
“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,” Dorsey said.
“I’m extremely excited about the opportunity to be part of this organization and the direction they are headed,” Beckham said in the news release. “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. This is a fresh start for me and it’s going to be great to join Baker (Mayfield) 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.”
On the other side of the ball, Vernon had seven sacks and a forced fumble last year.
Vernon was selected in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Dolphins. He signed a five-year deal with the Giants in 2016 and was elected to the Pro Bowl two years later.
“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.”