A Baker Mayfield-Odell Beckham Jr. Reunion In Baltimore Would Have Been So Sweet For Browns Fans

A reunion of Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham Jr. in Baltimore would have been so fun to watch for Browns fans. (ESPN)

A reunion of Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham Jr. in Baltimore would have been so fun to watch for Browns fans. (ESPN)

A Baker Mayfield-Odell Beckham Jr. reunion in Baltimore would have been so sweet for Browns fans

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Editor's note: Tony Grossi is a Cleveland Browns analyst for TheLandOnDemand.com and 850 ESPN Cleveland. He has covered the Browns since 1984.

Ten takeaways from happenings around the NFL …

1. I know you can’t have everything in free agency. But I think I’d feel a lot better about the Browns’ defensive line if they had signed one of the following tackles – Javon Hargrave, Fletcher Cox or Calais Campbell. As it is, Jim Schwartz is going to have to work some magic to turn Jordan Elliott and Dalvin Tomlinson into the pair of pocket-pushing penetrators Schwartz is most accustomed to having in the middle of his defensive line.

2. He’s two years removed from turning the Browns’ season upside down and Odell Beckham Jr. still exhausts me. Can somebody sign him already? Please?

3. For decades under former GM Ozzie Newsome, the Baltimore Ravens were one of the smartest organizations in the NFL. Lately, though, they’ve opened up a giant-sized bottle of dumb pills. They’ve seemingly destroyed their relationship with franchise quarterback Lamar Jackson, first by failing to show proper respect in signing him to a second contract soon as he became eligible after his third season, and then by giving him the cheaper non-exclusive franchise tag this year. Then came a report out of Tampa, unsubstantiated, that the Ravens actually made an offer to Baker Mayfield, which he spurned for a measly $4 million deal to compete with Kyle Trask for the post-Tom Brady starting job with the Buccaneers. And now the Ravens reportedly have made an offer to Beckham? For the love of Art Modell, a reunion of Mayfield and Beckham in Baltimore would have been the next-best thing to a Browns Super Bowl.

4. The theory that the Haslams are pitching a renovated stadium proposal that they know won’t be accepted is not far-fetched. Seems to me that everyone realizes an indoor stadium is in the best interest of long-term Cleveland lakefront redevelopment. But whoever proposes it first is going to carry the stigma of being attached to a project that probably will exceed $2.5 billion by the time shovels hit the ground. When I asked Haslam how he would respond if Mayor Justin Bibb proposes a new indoor stadium as part of his plan, he answered with a laugh, “Depends on how much he wants to fund.”

5. A point of fact: On Jan. 31, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway diversified conglomerate executed the second phase of its purchase of Haslam’s Pilot Travel Centers, acquiring another 41.4 percent for $8.2 billion. That followed a first phase purchase in 2017 of 38.6 percent of the company for $2.76 billion. So that means the Haslams have realized $10.96 billion in the last five years for 80 percent of the company founded by Haslam’s dad. The Haslams retain 20 percent of the company, which generates more than $1 billion in yearly pre-tax earnings. Haslam also is sitting on a 25 percent ownership stake in the NBA Milwaukee Bucks for a reported $875 million. The Haslams earnestly want to be players in the lakefront development. Their record as Browns owners is not good, but they could generate a lot of goodwill by footing a fair share of future stadium costs.

6. The defections to the AFC of quarterbacks Russell Wilson (Broncos), Jimmy Garoppolo (Raiders) and, soon enough, Aaron Rodgers (Jets), have left the NFC with a dearth of so-called elite quarterbacks. It’s fairly undisputable that the best quarterback in the NFC now is Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles.

7. Twenty-six running backs have signed contracts since the free-agent season opened on March 15. The biggest contract went to Miles Sanders, who moved from the Eagles to the Panthers in a four-year deal for $25 million, an average annual value of $6.25 million. Among the more than dozen unsigned veteran running backs are Ezekiel Elliott and Kareem Hunt. Hunt was the NFL rushing champion in 2017; Elliott in 2018. Hunt averaged $6 million in his last contract with the Browns over two years.

8. The prospective field for the team featured on HBO’s Hard Knocks this summer may come down to the Bears, Saints, Commanders and Jets. Unless another team volunteers for the program – highly unlikely – the Jets are a prohibitive favorite. Which should interest Cleveland viewers inasmuch as the Jets play the Browns in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game in Canton. Could be some Browns-related tidbits in an early episode if the Jets are the featured team.

9. According to the latest computations by overthecap.com, the Browns are spending more on offensive players ($146.126 million) than any NFL team. They are 10th in spending on quarterbacks, third on running backs, seventh on wide receivers, 10th on tight ends, and fifth on offensive linemen. The Browns are 14th in overall spending on defense ($101.106 million). They are second on paying edge rushers, 23rd on interior lineman, 24th on linebackers, seventh on safeties and, surprisingly, 15th on cornerbacks.

10. Seeing as though the Browns don’t have a pick until 74th overall in the third round, I’m not planning to do a mock draft until the first round on the morning of April 27. I am fairly sure the first two picks will go down this way: 1. Carolina, QB C.J. Stroud, Ohio State; 2. Houston, QB Bryce Young, Alabama.