The Cleveland Browns and Odell Beckham Jr. have reached a settlement that will void the final two seasons of his current deal and make him a free agent in 2022, according to CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports the Browns will waive Beckham on Monday and that the former All-Pro receiver will be eligible to be claimed Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET.
Beckham’s remaining $7.25 million salary must be absorbed by a claiming team, which would greatly diminish the amount of teams willing or able to make a waiver claim. If Beckham goes unclaimed, he will become a free agent on Tuesday and can sign with any team for the veteran minimum.
Cleveland announced on Friday that they would would release Beckham, who was excused from practice all week. The two sides have been negotiating to turn his remaining salary into a base salary, which would make it easier for another team to claim him, CBS Sports NFL Insiders Jonathan Jones and Josina Anderson confirmed.
Here is what the Browns wrote in a tweet about the decision:
“After careful consideration, internal discussions and considerations with Odell and his representation, we’ve determined that it is in the best interest of all parties involved that Odell no longer play for the Cleveland Browns. We appreciate all his efforts and contributions while in Cleveland, but we’ve just reached a point where it is best that we move forward as a team without Odell. We are finalizing the process of granting Odell his release and we wish him well as he continues his career.”
Beckham had been excused from practice this week after Cleveland declined to trade him prior to Tuesday’s deadline. Yahoo! Sports’ Charles Robinson claimed that the team did not receive any trade offers for the disgruntled receiver. The Saints did, however, express interest.
Beckham has accumulated 17 receptions for 232 yards in six games. He missed the first two games until he was fully recovered from a torn ACL that caused him to miss 11 games, including the postseason, in 2021.
Early this week, Beckham’s father posted a montage of moments on social media where his son was open but quarterback Baker Mayfield did not throw to him. In media availability Wednesday, Mayfield said that he was not hurt by the comments, but he was surprised. When asked if he felt Beckham’s father was speaking for his son, Mayfield paused before giving the following answer:
“I can’t exactly speculate exactly as to who he was speaking on behalf of. I think a lot of it comes from his father’s perspective. I think you know obviously naturally he wants his son to succeed. I can’t blame him for that. I want Odell to succeed. That is where we were or at least so I thought. That is all I really have about that one.”
Mayfield added that, as of Wednesday afternoon, he had not spoken to the wide receiver since the video was published. He has spoken to Beckham’s best friend and teammate Jarvis Landry.
“He is extremely close with Odell. Like I said earlier, we all want to see O succeed. There is no doubt about that. We are just going to take it one day at a time. We did not get into too many details because I do not want to draw that line in between them at all. That is not what I am trying to do. Jarvis wants to win just as badly as I do. Those are the types of guys and the types of focus that we need to have right now.”
In media availability Oct. 7, Beckham shared what communication with his now ex-quarterback looks like after a game.
“Film. We watch the film. We talk about it. I talked to him after the game. I talked to him Monday after meetings. Played (Call of) Duty with him on Tuesday,” he laughed. “We talk all of the time you know. Anybody who is great and expects greatness out of themselves is going to be upset when they miss an opportunity. He wants to be great. I want to be great. Yeah, we want perfection. We want the best, but it happens.”
Frustrations boiling over are obviously in line with the team’s disappointing start to the season. The Browns are 4-4 coming off a loss to the Steelers. Blame certainly falls on Mayfield for missing some throws and not seeing Beckham at times. However, the wide receiver deserves some blame as well. He has had some drops in critical moments.
Ahead of the trade deadline, Beckham’s representation requested a trade and then later asked for his release, according to Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot.
In March of 2019, Cleveland acquired Beckham and defensive end Olivier Vernon from the Giants in exchange for safety Jabrill Peppers, offensive guard Kevin Zeitler, a first-round pick and a third-round pick. Beckham had ruffled some feathers in the Big Apple with some comments directed at quarterback Eli Manning.
The LSU product is now subject to waivers where 31 other teams will have the opportunity to claim him. If he goes unclaimed, then he would become an unrestricted free agency. Cleveland owes him $7 million for the rest of the season. Beckham, 29, was scheduled to make $15 million each of the next two seasons. However, there was zero guaranteed money left on his deal and the team saves all of that money towards the salary cap.
CBSSports.com’s Cody Benjamin has created a list of 10 potential landing spots now that Beckham is free to roam about the country. Here’s a look at SportsLine’s odds for where the receiver will wind up.