CLEVELAND -- This is no time for a soft shoe in Cleveland -- or a soft pedal.
The NFL world has turned upside down.
The Cleveland Browns, that sad-sack team that couldn't win a game for a season or find a quarterback for so long, have suddenly and dramatically gone all-in for 2019. All-in not just for a playoff spot but for a Super Bowl.
That's the most dramatic impact of one of the most dramatic trades in Browns history, which is set to become official Wednesday. The acquisition of Odell Beckham Jr. by general manager John Dorsey takes the Browns' offense to a new level, and in the era of offense and passing, that takes the team to a whole new level.
While the Pittsburgh Steelers are saying goodbye to two of their best players, the Browns are welcoming one of the most dynamic receivers in the league who's playing in his prime.
While the Baltimore Ravens' defense has been gutted by free-agent defections, Dorsey has built one of the best defensive lines in the NFL.
While the Cincinnati Bengals languish, the Browns lavish. They lavish their team with an offense that has weapons all over the field. They lavish their young quarterback with two top-tier receivers. Most important, they lavish their fans with real and true hope -- something that has been long absent with this team.
Consider: The Browns lose this year's first-round pick (No. 17 overall) and a starting safety (Jabrill Peppers) in this deal and they yawn. That's how good this trade is for this team.
For a change, it's the other team -- this time the Giants -- having to explain a bizarre move that saw them trade a player they made the NFL's highest-paid receiver less than a year ago. (You almost wonder if they wake up to a New York firestorm and wonder if they should proceed.)
The Browns? They're the team smiling, both at what is and what can be.
Where does an opposing team start when it comes to defending this offense? Baker Mayfield had a historic rookie season at quarterback. Nick Chubb ran for 996 yards as a rookie. Duke Johnson is a weapon out of the backfield. Kareem Hunt, who led the NFL in rushing in 2017, will be on the field at some point. Tight end David Njoku had 56 catches in 2018. At receiver, Beckham joins Jarvis Landry as a one-two combination that treats 1,000-yard seasons as routine. Beckham is dynamic, Landry sure-handed. Both are close with Mayfield.
Breshad Perriman balked at staying with the Browns after word of the trade broke, which is interesting. Perriman's commitment to sign was treated with excitement before the trade. After the trade, it became another yawner. If Perriman prefers Tampa, then so be it. But you have to wonder why a guy wouldn't want to be part of this team. At this point, it would seem that players should want to join the Browns' party.
With the personalities and star power on this team, and a freewheeling coach in Freddie Kitchens, who's ready to try anything at any time, the Browns will be quite the party -- on Sundays, Mondays and every other day that ends in "y." This team will work to win, and if it does, it will have a rollicking good time.
The Browns suddenly belong in all those NFL conversations they have strived to reach for too long. That includes the conversation not only to win the AFC North but also to advance in the playoffs -- perhaps to the one game they have yet to take part in, the super one.
Let the excitement build.
Let the expectations roar.
New England and Kansas City are talented. Pittsburgh has its quarterback.
But there is no reason to hold back on the Browns.
This is a team all-in for 2019.