The Cleveland Browns are releasing wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
The team announced their intentions on Friday via a statement from General Manager Andrew Berry.
The statement reads:
“After careful consideration, internal discussions and conversations 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.”
The Browns will convert Beckham’s base salary into a signing bonus to lower his cap number in an attempt to save money, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Beckham will now be eligible to be claimed off waivers, with the Detroit Lions having the first opportunity. If no one claims him by 4 p.m. on Monday he will become a free agent.
The move ends one of the most divisive times in recent franchise history.
Cleveland acquired Beckham to much fanfare in March of 2019 in a trade with the New York Giants, who were willing to give up on Beckham despite having signed him to a five-year contract extension worth $90 million, including $65 million in guaranteed money, the previous summer.
Things never went as planned, however, as Beckham continued to be plagued by injuries that have diminished his skills. Beckham played the entire 2019 season with a sports hernia that required surgery, which came on top of a quadriceps injury in 2018, which was preceded by a fractured ankle in 2017. Then there was the torn ACL in 2020 that ended Beckham’s season after seven games.
Odell Beckham Jr. has wanted out of Cleveland for months.@MikeGarafolo reports that the WR has asked the #Browns for a trade multiple times and he'll soon get his wish in the form of a release. pic.twitter.com/3UR6jCXK9h— Good Morning Football (@gmfb) November 5, 2021
Things did not get better this season as Beckham missed the first two games before returning to the lineup in Week 3. He had five catches that day for 77 yards, but in the five games since he has only totaled 12 receptions and 155 yards despite leading the team in targets.
Beckham reportedly has been asking for the Browns to trade him for some time now, according to Mary Kay Cabot at cleveland.com. The situation came to a head earlier this week when the Browns could not find any takers for Beckham at the NFL trade deadline and Beckham’s father ignited a social media storm when he shared a video highlighting all the missed opportunities when Beckham Jr. was open on a pass pattern from Weeks 3 through 6.
At last check, the expectation was Odell Beckham’s base salary would be reduced near the minimum, with the rest going to him in a signing bonus. That makes him very claimable and adds to the intrigue. https://t.co/4R5JZ8RkJQ— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 5, 2021
Beckham finishes his tenure in Cleveland having played just 29 games with 114 receptions for 1,586 yards and seven touchdowns. That is part of a trend that has seen him total just 2,940 yards on 216 catches and 16 touchdowns over the past five seasons.