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Browns reach financial settlement with OBJ

Team will waive veteran wide receiver and save at least $3 million in salary.

NFL: New York Giants at Cleveland Browns Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns reached a financial agreement with wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. that will lead to the team officially waiving Beckham on Monday.

The deal will grant Beckham his “freedom” from the Browns while general manager Andrew Berry set up the agreement to likely save the Browns a nice chunk of money.

The deal was first reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Under the terms of the agreement, Beckham cannot try to get termination pay and the final two years of his contract, which were not guaranteed, are voided. If a team claims Beckham, they — and not the Browns – are responsible for paying the $7.25 million left on Beckham’s contract for 2021.

While not out of the realm of possibility as there are 12 teams with the cap space to take on the full amount, most notably the Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Chargers, Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals. It would be a bit of a surprise if a team claimed Beckham given that they would be running the risk of having to deal with an upset player for the rest of the season.

The more likely scenario is that Beckham goes unclaimed, which would make him a free agent. If/when that happens, he can sign with any team he wants and the Browns would then be responsible for paying Beckham $4.25 million.

The Browns come out on the plus side in either case, as they either save the full $7.25 million or $3 million to move on.

This should be the final move to end one of the most divisive times in recent franchise history.

Cleveland acquired Beckham 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.

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 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.