On Friday, November 5th, LeBron James got his wish as #FreeOBJ was finally put into motion. Following days of negotiations, the Cleveland Browns and Odell Beckham finally agreed to a restructured contract, allowing the two parties to go their separate ways as the three-time Pro Bowler was released. Now, on his 29th birthday, Beckham will look to latch on elsewhere in hopes of resurrecting a career once on a direct path to the Hall of Fame.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, prior to his release the Browns converted part of his $7.25 million base salary into a signing bonus, making it more likely another team claims the wideout off of waivers.
With Beckham’s services now up for grabs, you have your typical suitors garnering the most attention. ESPN Insider Jeremy Fowler named the Raiders, Saints, Packers, 49ers, etc, as likely destinations. However, in the back of everyone’s mind — including Fowler’s — there is that slight thought of Beckham returning to his roots in East Rutherford.
“This would be something. The Giants have been battered with injuries at the skill positions,” wrote Fowler who named the Giants as a sleeper landing spot for Beckham. “It’s doubtful this happens, but perhaps Beckham will realize he didn’t have it so bad in New York.”
Don’t Hold Your Breath
For what it’s worth, the Giants currently own the sixth-highest waiver priority in football and will have until 4:00 p.m. ET on Monday to place a claim on Beckham should they choose to do so. In reality, Beckham returning to the Giants remains a long shot, if not for anything else but the financial aspect of things.
While the exact details of Beckham’s restructured deal have yet to be revealed, claiming him off waivers means a team would need to eat a chunk of his salary for the remainder of 2021 — something that doesn’t exactly make sense for a Giants team unlikely to sniff the postseason for a fifth consecutive year. On top of that, New York currently owns the third-lowest estimated cap space for 2022 (per Spotrac), likely ruling out a long-term play for Beckham.
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The more likely scenario is that a team with legitimate Super Bowl aspirations takes a flyer on Beckham hoping he can revitalize his career in a new setting and emerge as the final piece to take them over the edge.
While unlikely, there is the slight possibility that Beckham clears waivers, which could make things interesting. A bidding war for the wideout would likely ensue. From there, chances are Beckham would side for the best fit/quarterback situation after enduring a grueling two-and-a-half-year run in Cleveland. That likely rules out the Giants — then again, Beckham’s star never shined as bright as when he was catching passes for Big Blue.
Selected No. 12 overall back in 2014, Beckham spent four mostly-superb seasons with the Giants. He kicked off his career becoming the first player in league history to record at least 90 receptions, 1,300 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns in each of their first three seasons. A fractured left ankle cut his 2017 campaign short after just four games. However, he returned to action in 2018, notching yet another 1,000-yard season under his belt.