It’s over in Cleveland. Where it goes from here remains to be seen.
“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,” G.M. Andrew Berry said in a statement released by the team. “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.”
Because the transaction is occurring after the trade deadline, Beckham must pass through waivers.
The two sides are believed to have agreed on a revised contract that presumably limits the team’s financial obligation to Beckham and/or spreads some of the cap burden to future years by converting some of the salary into a signing bonus. The negotiations undoubtedly tried to find a sweet spot that would reduce Beckham’s pay from Cleveland in order to allow him to get his wish to play elsewhere. At some point, however, the remaining salary becomes sufficiently low to entice a team to claim Beckham on waivers. Perhaps a team for which Beckham doesn’t want to play.
One way to avoid that outcome would be, as someone far smarter than me (it’s a low bar) pointed out last night, to insert significant per-game roster bonuses into the revised contract. This would dissuade a team from claiming the contract while also limiting Cleveland’s total payment to Beckham.
It will be interesting to see the terms of the revised deal, and then it will be interesting to see whether someone claims Beckham.