Shortly after the conclusion of Thursday Night Football, between the Indianapolis Colts and New York Jets, it was reported by Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk that the Cleveland Browns plan on releasing wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. on Friday.
With the obvious caveat that plans can change, the Browns currently plan to release Odell Beckham Jr. on Friday. The move hinges on an agreement to reduce the money the Browns would owe him if he's not claimed on waivers. https://t.co/1qrFkRvPrl
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) November 5, 2021
It had not been a secret that the fit between Odell Beckham Jr. and the Cleveland Browns haven’t been great. It seems that Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers was the needle that broke the camel’s back. He finished the game with one catch on one target for six yards. In six games this season Beckham has 17 catches off of 34 targets for 232 receiving yards and zero touchdowns.
Beckham had embraced the fact that Cleveland is a run-first team under head coach Kevin Stefanski. However, it has become apparent that quarterback Baker Mayfield lacks chemistry with Beckham and that he does not look for Beckham often enough in the passing game. Quarterbacks should not be forced to feed their star receivers if it is detrimental to the team. However, for the last three seasons, Beckham feels like his skill set has been under-utilized in passing scenarios. Many people who follow the Browns or the NFL, in general, could agree with that.
Earlier this week Odell Beckham Sr., the father of the wide receiver, posted a video on Instagram showing Baker Mayfield missing opportunities to get his son the ball when he is wide open.
This led to a sports media uproar that led to people asking the Browns to free Odell Beckham Jr. his current situation whether that be Mayfield being more mindful of the receiver talent he has or letting him go to a team that will. Even Cleveland legend, multiple-time NBA Champion, and current Los Angeles Laker Lebron James got involved tweeting something about freeing Odell Beckham Jr.
OBJ will show again why he’s special. WR1 #FreeOBJ
— LeBron James (@KingJames) November 2, 2021
This all led to trade speculation considering the 2021NFL Trade Deadline was November 2nd. Following the passing of the deadline, it was reported that the Browns and New Orleans Saints had talked about a potential deal that would send Beckham Jr. to New Orleans according to ESPN’s Kimberly Martin. The Saints had just received news that former All-Pro wide receiver Michael Thomas was to miss the entire 2021-22 season due to an ankle injury that had been bothering him since the beginning of the season before. Trade talks fell through because neither party could agree on compensation considering how much of Beckham Jr.’s remaining salary New Orleans would have to pay.
Despite him not being moved at the deadline, there was still some unrest between both parties. Beckham was asked to sit out practice both Wednesday and Thursday. According to NFL Reporter Michael Silver, Cleveland Browns’ head coach Kevin Stefanski told his players that Odell Beckham Jr. is not on the team right now and was asked to stay home. Yesterday Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd reported on his talk show that he heard from a source that Browns General Manager Andrew Berry and Odell Beckham Jr.’s representatives were meeting to discuss his future with the team. He also heard that it was extremely likely that he could be released.
What is holding Cleveland back from releasing him right now appears to be his remaining salary according to Mike Florio’s report. Both sides are apparently working on a revised contract that would allow the Browns to let Beckham go and have it be more likely for a team to pick him up off of waivers. If Beckham was picked up off of waivers then his new team who claimed him would pick up his remaining salary. However, if Beckham was to clear waivers then he could pick his new team and Cleveland would have to pay a $12.79 million dead cap hit according to Over the Cap.
If Beckham was claimed off of waivers the remainder of his salary would go as follows according to ESPN’s Field Yates.
*IF* the Browns release OBJ he'd then be subject to waivers.
If claimed, a new team would inherit his deal:
2022: $13.75M salary, $1M roster bonus, $250K workout bonus
2023: $13.75M salary, $1M roster bonus, $250K workout bonus
2022-2023 are non-guaranteed.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) November 3, 2021
Before his stint in Cleveland, Odell Beckham Jr. was considered one of the league’s best wide receivers. He was drafted by the New York Giants with the 12th overall pick in 2014. During his rookie season, Beckham blew up as a superstar posting 91 receptions off 130 targets for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns. He blew up on the scene during a Sunday Night Football game against the Dallas Cowboys making an outstanding touchdown catch that is considered by many as one of the greatest touchdown catches of all time. He was named Offensive Rookie of the Year at the conclusion of the season.
Beckham had outstanding production the next two seasons being named to back-to-back Pro Bowls along with being named Second Team All-Pro each season. For the next two seasons, Beckham had not produced at an elite level due to injury and an aging Eli Manning. It felt right for the Giants to move on from Beckham for the team’s future and his own.
Prior to the 2019 NFL Draft, New York had traded Beckham to the Browns for former first-round pick Jabril Peppers, a 2019 first-round pick (used to select Dexter Lawerence), and a 2019 third-round pick (used to select Oshane Ximines). In his first season in Cleveland, Beckham had an off-year by his standards posting 74 receptions off of 133 targets for 1,035 yards and four touchdowns. Last season in seven games Beckham had only 23 receptions off of 43 targets for 319 yards and three touchdowns.