The Cleveland Browns have made their final decision on Odell Beckham Jr. and plan to release the polarizing wide receiver on Friday, November 5, per Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio.
Florio broke the news late Thursday night after Beckham was excused from practice for a second consecutive day.
The key word in this is ‘plan,’ because plans can always change. As Thursday night comes to a conclusion, however, we’re told that the Browns currently plan to release receiver Odell Beckham Jr. on Friday.
Florio noted that the release is “expected to be accompanied by a revised contract that reduces the team’s obligation to pay Beckham” if he clears waivers. If he’s claimed, another team would be responsible to pick up his salary. Beckham is owed a balance of around $8 million for the rest of this season, which was likely a sticking point for the Browns when it came to releasing him.
For that amount of money, it would have made more sense for the team to try to make it work, but Browns general manager Andrew Berry was working with Beckham’s representation this week on a possible compromise in a buyout of sorts.
Release Is End of Complicated Era for Browns
The release marks the end of the tumultuous OBJ-era for Cleveland, which never truly lived up to its potential and closed on a sour note. The trade deadline was filled with drama due to his father, Odell Beckham Sr., posting a video and openly blasting quarterback Baker Mayfield on social media.
Lakers star LeBron James also jumped on the “Free Odell” bandwagon with a tweet, which many saw as an orchestrated campaign from Beckham to get out of Cleveland at the trade deadline.
Mayfield spoke eloquently about the situation this week and said he’d be willing to put his ego aside to make it work and win games.
“I am prepared to do whatever. If he is back, then we will work through it and do whatever it takes. I can put my ego and pride to the side to win because that is all I care about is winning,” Mayfield told reporters. “If not, then we will roll with the guys we have out there, and those guys will know that I completely trust them and they will know that I am always here for them. That is the leader and that is the quarterback I am.”
Beckham came over from the New York Giants via a trade engineered by former Browns GM John Dorsey in 2019, with the Browns sending picks and safety Jabrill Peppers in exchange for the four-time Pro Bowler.
Despite breaking the 1,000-yard barrier during his first season in Cleveland with Freddie Kitchens at the helm, Beckham did not live up to the wild expectations set for him. He finished with 1,035 yards and four touchdowns.
Before tearing his ACL last season, Beckham had 23 catches on 43 targets for 319 yards and three touchdowns, also adding a rushing score.
Browns Locker Room Not Divided Over Beckham Situation
The distraction caused by Beckham had the potential to split the locker room in half, with some supporting Mayfield and others OBJ. However, Browns defensive leader John Johnson III said that hasn’t been the case.
“I do not feel that way. I do not get that vibe,” Johnson told reporters on Thursday, November 4. “I do not think it is dividing the team in any type of way. I just feel like we are a hard-working bunch of guys. If there is any way that he can get back in the building, I will be tremendously happy, but you just have to move forward.”
If Beckham’s tenure in Cleveland does end on Friday, his career in a Browns uniform will end with 114 catches for 1,586 yards and seven touchdowns.