It’s been a while since Odell Beckham, Jr. was a great wide receiver, many of the NFL’s players at the position who are under 27 are now bigger, faster, stronger, and they can also do one-handed catches. But that doesn’t stop OBJ from being one of the league’s most well-recognized and marketable stars, the type who draws headlines for positive and negative reasons, and consistently makes fans believe that a change of scenery will unlock the beast who entertained us so many times in the mid-10’s.
Update, 11/4, 8:39 PM PT: ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio reported on Thursday night that the Browns plan to release to Odell Beckham Jr on Friday — but he left it open that the team might change its mind. If OBJ is waived, then he will be subject to the wire, and if a team claims him they must assume an $8 million cap hit for 2021. The Rams do not have that. If OBJ clears waivers, then he can sign with any team for any amount of money.
With Tuesday’s trade deadline now past and the Cleveland Browns unable to find a desirable return package, the franchise may be willing to let the star receiver walk so that he can pursue some of that new scenery.
#Browns coach Kevin Stefanski says GM Andrew Berry and Odell Beckham's agent are talking through Beckham's status.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) November 3, 2021
Reports coming out of Cleveland on Wednesday lead with the fact that Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski “hasn’t talked to OBJ in over 24 hours” and that Beckham’s agent is currently in the process of meeting with team GM Andrew Berry. It could be that by the conclusion of that meeting, the veteran is waived and available to the other 31 teams. If a team picks Beckham up on waivers, they would owe him $8.05 million this year and assume his current contract with the Browns.
Given how expensive that is relative to his production, it seems more likely that Beckham will clear waivers and be free to sign with any team on a small one-year contract.
#Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski has not spoken with Odell Beckham Jr. but EVP/GM Andrew Berry is having discussions with Beckham’s representatives today.— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) November 3, 2021
#Browns Kevin Stefanski said he hasn't talked to Odell Beckham Jr. over the last 24 hours.— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) November 3, 2021
If and when the Browns do release Beckham, the Los Angeles Rams will have to be one team that is mentioned in the same breath as his potential next destinations. The new scenery. The Rams waived DeSean Jackson on Tuesday and placed Tutu Atwell on season-ending injured reserve, leaving the team with Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, Van Jefferson, and Ben Skowronek on the 53-man roster.
Update: Shortly after this article was posted, the Rams signed WR J.J. Koski to the 53-man roster from the practice squad
The #49ers should NOT claim Odell Beckham Jr. if he’s released by the Browns.— Sterling Bennett (@49ers_Access) November 3, 2021
He’s owed $8.05M in 2021 and $13.75M in 2022/2023 (‘22-‘23 are non-guaranteed).
They’re better off hoping he clears waivers and signing him to a cheap 1-year prove it deal, if he’ll take it.
Sean McVay and Matthew Stafford should feel confident that that foursome doesn’t need much in the way of receiving help — Jackson and Atwell weren’t getting many, if any, opportunities — but that’s only the opinion of early November. The Super Bowl, which is of course McVay’s preferred next destination, is still over three months away.
And throwing the ball is something critically important to the Rams offense.
But on top of LA’s own needs, the Rams must also monitor where Beckham, Jr. lands if it’s not in SoFi Stadium. The NFC race is a tight one and you can bet that the Packers, Bucs, and Saints no less would be interested in receiving reinforcements.
However, Beckham as said in the opening, hasn’t been great in a long time.
OBJ hasn’t caught a touchdown this year and he has just 17 catches on 34 targets for 232 yards in six games. His argument might be that he’s trying to get away from the Browns because stats like that are not his fault. However, Beckham was never a dominant number one — or even number two — during his three years in Cleveland and at times the Browns offense did seem quite potent without him.
But Beckham is also just 29 and any time “receiver change of scenery” is mentioned with a star of that caliber, Randy Moss’s age-30 transition from sucking with the Raiders to dominating with the Patriots will not soon be forgotten. Moss is a much better overall player than Beckham, but we may not remember that he was really ineffective for the three seasons prior to finding a fit with Tom Brady.
It’s the fantasy that Matthew Stafford could do wonders for Beckham — sort of like Brady also doing wonders for Antonio Brown, who has managed to carve out an important role on an offense that like LA, has two starting wideouts already — that makes a potential marriage so fascinating.
But first OBJ needs to get divorced. That could be soon.