When the Browns officially release receiver Odell Beckham Jr., he’ll be exposed to waivers. All teams will have a chance to claim his contract; the Lions have dibs, thanks to their 0-8 record.
He surely prefers not to be claimed, so that he can become a free agent for the first time in his career. But the rules allow any team to claim him.
One team to not entirely ignore is the Giants. Depending on the specific terms of the revised Beckham contract, maybe the team that opted to give him a gigantic contract six months before trading him will decide to bring him back, whether he likes it or not. And maybe, at some level, they’d be acting out of a little bit of spite.
Rewind 20 years. In 2001, cornerback Deion Sanders didn’t want to play for new Washington coach Marty Schottenheimer. So Sanders retired. A year later, Sanders wanted to play for the Raiders during their Super Bowl run. Washington released him from the reserve-retired list. The move happened after the trade deadline. Schottenheimer, who spent only one year in Washington, had become the coach of the Chargers. And Schottenheimer claimed Deion on waivers, blocking his desire to play for the Raiders.
It would be delicious and fascinating if the Giants, who have more than a few receiver injuries, would make that move. It’s highly unlikely that they would, but it’s fun to consider the possibility.
Other fringe contenders, like the Eagles or the Falcons, could be tempted to bolster their receiving corps by claiming Beckham on waivers.
As reported last night, the teams to watch, if Beckham becomes a free agent, are the Saints, 49ers, and Seahawks. Some believe he prefers to go to Seattle, which makes sense given the presence of quarterback Russell Wilson and other receivers who attract plenty of attention.
Aaron Rodgers potentially wants Beckham in Green Bay, Patrick Mahomes perhaps wants Beckham in Kansas City, and Tom Brady possibly wants Beckham in Tampa Bay. For now, though, those teams aren’t considered to be serious contenders for OBJ.
Then there are the all-in Rams, who can never be ruled out of any potential transaction involving a talented veteran player. And this is one they can acquire without giving up more draft picks.
Regardless of how it goes, he’ll likely be with a new team fairly soon — and he could be playing by Week 10, when the Seahawks play the Packers, the Rams play the 49ers, and the Saints play the Titans.
Finally, don’t entirely rule out the Patriots. He’s always been fascinated by New England. And, in Week 10, the Patriots host the Browns.