Browns Reportedly To Release Odell Beckham Jr., Making Patriots Fantasy Possible

Nothing has been made official, though

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UPDATE (7:07 A.M. ET): Adam Schefter of ESPN has confirmed the Cleveland Browns are working toward releasing Odell Beckham Jr.

ORIGINAL STORY: The Odell Beckham era in Cleveland seemingly is nearing an end, giving hope to New England Patriots fans who long have coveted the star receiver.

The Browns plan to release Beckham on Friday, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk and Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports. It’s important to note multiple things: Florio stressed this “plan” could change. Mike Garafolo of NFL Media, a credible reporter, said Beckham’s release could happen Friday or soon thereafter.

Beckham’s release reportedly won’t happen unless certain adjustments to his contract are made.

“The move is expected to be accompanied by a revised contract that reduces the team’s obligation to pay Beckham if he’s not claimed on waivers and becomes eligible for the balance of his salary termination pay,” Florio wrote late Thursday night. “The challenge for Beckham becomes not making the reduced salary so low that someone claims the contract on waivers.”

Beckham was not moved before Tuesday’s trade deadline and was excused from Browns practice the next two days. His (and his father’s) social media activity before and after the deadline indicated he was unhappy in Cleveland.

If released, Beckham must pass through waivers before becoming a free agent. Any team claiming Beckham would be on the hook for his $8.05 million salary for the rest of the season, as well as $15 million cap charges in 2022 and 2023 (both of which are non-guaranteed). Of course, those numbers could change if Beckham and the Browns complete a contract restructure.

If he goes unclaimed, Beckham could sign anywhere for any price. This is the situation most likely to create a Patriots marriage, as New England currently could not fit Beckham within its $2.6 million in cap space.

Beckham previously has spoken glowingly of the Patriots, fueling rumors that have been around since before he was traded from the New York Giants in 2019. However, Beckham’s interest appeared rooted in playing both for Bill Belichick and with Tom Brady.

Is New England still a draw without Brady in town? Would Beckham be interested in playing with Mac Jones? Is Belichick even high on the 29-year-old Beckham, whose play has declined in recent seasons?

Those questions remain unanswered.

The Beckham situation obviously will be worth monitoring in the next couple of days. At the very least, a path apparently has opened for the Patriots to pursue the superstar wideout — if they even want him.

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