The Browns and Odell Beckham Jr. will officially part ways Monday. They spent days reworking the disgruntled wide receiver’s contract, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets, and the sides reached a separation agreement Friday afternoon.
The Browns agreed to remove the final two years of OBJ’s contract, Schefter tweets. Beckham, whose Giants-constructed extension previously ran through 2023, is now set to be a free agent after this season. The veteran receiver will officially be waived Monday. Waiver claims on Beckham will be due Tuesday afternoon, though the redone contract is pending the NFLPA’s approval, per Schefter (on Twitter).
This might all be immaterial given Beckham’s 2021 salary. He is still due $7.25MM for this season’s remainder, Schefter tweets. The transaction could not be processed Friday because of an NFL rule prohibiting teams restructuring players’ contracts and cutting them on the same business day. Regardless, Beckham will be off the Browns’ roster by Monday, ending a messy divorce that escalated this week.
Although Beckham was once one of the NFL’s most talented receivers, his value has dipped considerably. Injuries have slowed the 29-year-old wideout in each of his three Cleveland seasons. He played through multiple issues in 2019 and saw a torn ACL shelve him midway through last season. That knee injury kept him off the field for this year’s first two Browns games, and Beckham has also run into a shoulder ailment this season. In six 2021 games, OBJ has just 17 receptions for 232 yards and no touchdowns.
Last week, Beckham caught just one pass. The Browns could not find a taker for the eighth-year vet ahead of Tuesday’s deadline, and Beckham did not practice with the team this week. He will not play against the Bengals and figures to be on another team by this time next week. Whether that will come via free free agency or the waiver wire remains to be seen.
Only nine teams (excluding the Browns) hold more than $7.25MM in cap space presently. Though teams have myriad ways to create additional room, adding that salary in November is a pretty big ask. A team claiming Beckham could spoil his plans to find a way to a better situation. With the waiver wire determined by inverse record order, OBJ runs the risk of being claimed by a struggling team. However, the lofty second-half salary still provides a fairly good chance this saga ends with Beckham unclaimed and picking his next team via free agency. Even that might be a rental agreement that precedes Beckham signing with potentially a fourth team in March.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.