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Odell Beckham Jr. release: What his contract looks like, how much the Browns owe him, who has cap space to claim him

The Browns are expected to release Odell Beckham Jr. We break down what he is still owed on his contract and who has room to claim him.

Odell Beckham Jr. #13 of the Cleveland Browns reacts during the second half against the Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 31, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

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.

UPDATE: NFL Network is reporting the current expectation is that Beckham’s salary would be reduced to near the league minimum. That would open the door to virtually any team having the cap space to place a claim on him. NFL Network also reported just before 10 a.m. on Friday that the release has officially been submitted by the Browns.

The Cleveland Browns are reportedly going to release wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. on Friday, ending his time with the team after less than three seasons. The move has not happened yet, but it seems pretty likely to happen sooner than later.

Since Beckham was on the roster through Tuesday, the Browns owe him this week’s salary. Once the Browns release him, he will go through the waiver wire process. If another team claims him off waivers, said team will pick up whatever remains of Beckham’s contract. If no team claims him, he becomes an unrestricted free agency and the Browns owe any remaining guaranteed money.

Beckham’s current contract runs through the 2023 season. His contract called for a $14.5 million base salary in 2021 and $13.75 million base salaries in 2022 and 2023. $12.79 million of his 2021 base salary was guaranteed. He is due $8.05 million for the rest of the season, and based on his guarantee, the Browns would owe him roughly $6.45 million of that if he is not claimed off waivers.

Multiple reports are stating that the team is working with Beckham’s agent to restructure his deal to reduce the team’s obligation to pay Beckham in exchange for his release. That would likely involve converting base salary to signing bonus so that the team takes the salary cap hit now on a lesser amount and then removes larger guarantees the rest of the way.

If the Browns convert half his salary to signing bonus, that would leave $4 million due to him this season. Some of that money could be turned into roster bonuses as well, which would change what he is owed the rest of the season. But at $4 million, roughly 18 teams would currently have the cap space to make a deal happen, per Over The Cap.

Of course, given how quickly teams are able to make adjustments to salaries, more teams could find room. Presently, the 14 teams that don’t have $4 million in cap space include the Rams, 49ers, Raiders, Chiefs, Bears, Bucs, Giants, Colts, Lions, Ravens, Cardinals, Dolphins, Falcons, and Saints.

Teams have proven time and again they can find cap space when they need it, so don’t rule out anybody on that list that is properly motivated. And if he doesn’t get claimed off waivers, everybody is fair game.