If the Browns had released receiver Odell Beckham Jr. last Monday, he would have immediately become a free agent. Now that the trade deadline has come and gone, he must pass through waivers.
His revised contract with the Browns didn’t do much to dissuade a team from claiming him. The total cost over the balance of the season — $7.25 million — is the same for a team that claims his on waivers as it would have been if his contract hadn’t been changed. Creative terms could have been used to scare a team off from claiming him. They weren’t.
Of course, the Browns want him to be claimed. If that hapens, the Browns will owe him nothing.
Roughly a third of the league has the cap space to absorb Beckham’s $7.25 million compensation package over the balance of the season: the Jaguars, Eagles, Broncos, Seahawks, Panthers, Washington, Chargers, Steelers, and Bengals. Others would have to scramble on Monday to create some cap space. (It makes sense to watch for moves along those lines.)
Beckham reportedly wants to play for a contender and/or a team with a winning culture. There will be “potential issues” if a team that doesn’t land in those categories claims him.
Will that dissuade someone from doing it? The NFL teams and its players don’t like it when players dictate terms. If someone claims him and he doesn’t show up, that’s on him. He can pout. He can get friends and family to tweet #FreeOBJ. But he can’t force his way to the open market if someone claims him on waivers.
It’s worth paying attention to whether someone does it.