6:22 p.m. update: Adam Schefter is reporting the Browns restructured Beckham’s contract to officially release him. The new deal ends after the 2021 season and any team claiming Beckham would owe him $7.25 million in salary. The only teams that currently have that much cap space are the Jaguars, Eagles, Broncos, Seahawks, Panthers, Washington, Steelers, Chargers, and Bengals.
10:03 a.m. update: The Browns announced their plans to release OBJ.
9:53 a.m. update: NFL Network reported just before 10 a.m. on Friday that the release has officially been submitted by the Browns.
The Cleveland Browns and Odell Beckham, Jr. appear to be at some sort of standoff. The team has excused him from practice while OBJ has indicated he would like to be practicing. Head coach Kevin Stefanski has said OBJ is not part of the team at this point, according to numerous reports.
Pro Football Talk is reporting the Browns plan on releasing Beckham on Friday with a “revised contract that reduces the team’s obligation to pay Beckham, if he’s not claimed on waivers and becomes eligible for the balance of his salary termination pay.” NFL Network is reporting the expectation is Beckham’s salary would be reduced to nearly the league minimum.
That could change until the move actually happens, but we should know by 4 p.m. ET if the Browns have released the receiver.
If the Browns release Beckham, he will have to go through the waiver wire before he can become an unrestricted free agent. Prior to the November 2nd trade deadline, a release would have resulted in him becoming a free agent because he is a vested veteran (at least four years of accrued service time). After the trade deadline, the NFL rules require all players, including vested veterans, to go through waivers.
The waiver wire allows any of the other 31 NFL teams to place a claim on a player. If one of those teams claimed Beckham, they would take on his entire remaining contract. Waiver priority is in reverse order of record, which means the 0-8 Detroit Lions currently hold the top waiver priority. If Beckham is released on Friday or Saturday, teams will have until 4 p.m. ET on Monday to place a waiver claim.
If no team claims Beckham, the Browns owe him any remaining guaranteed money and he is then free to sign anywhere else.