CLEVELAND — Odell Beckham Jr. is up for grabs.
The challenging wide receiver, who has battled injuries the past few seasons, was formally waived Monday by the Cleveland Browns and can now be taken by any NFL team at a $7.25 million price tag for the rest of this season.
Beckham essentially forced his exit last week from the Browns, who traded for him 2 1/2 years ago but reached a point where they wanted to get out of the stormy relationship as badly as he did.
The 29-year-old Beckham can be claimed on waivers — the Detroit Lions (0-8) get first crack — but any team that takes him would have to pay the $7.25 million he’s owed for the rest of this season. The Browns and Beckham’s agent agreed to restructure his deal last week by eliminating the two non-guaranteed years that were left.
If Beckham clears waivers by Tuesday at 4 p.m., he’ll be a free agent and can sign with any team. In that case, the Browns will have to pay him $4.25 million for this season, saving them $3 million.
There are only a handful teams with enough current salary-cap space to take on Beckham’s contract this season, so it’s likely he won’t be picked up.
Beckham thought playing in Cleveland gave him his best chance of getting to a Super Bowl, so it’s obvious he’ll want to join a contender. He’s not the playmaker he once was, but he can still stretch a defense.
But there’s much more that comes with Beckham, who remains one of the league’s most popular players despite a dip in productivity. He had just two 100-yard games in 29 with Cleveland.
On Friday, the Browns announced their intention to release him, ending a strange week that began with his father, Odell Beckham Sr., posting a social media video of plays in which Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield didn’t throw the ball to his son.
Mayfield was “surprised” by the public attack but said after Sunday’s win in Cincinnati that he had no hard feelings toward Beckham.
“I wish him well,” Mayfield said. “From a personal standpoint, he’s a good friend of mine. We still haven’t talked, but that doesn’t change things. I wish him the best in his career, but I’m worried about the guys in our locker room.”
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