The big news around the NFL this fine Friday morning is that following weeks of speculation on a potential trade, but no deal done at the trade deadline, the Cleveland Browns are set to release Odell Beckham Jr.
Sources: The #Browns are releasing star WR Odell Beckham Jr., as the two sides came together on a resolution to end his Cleveland tenure. At long last, he’s out and he’ll head to waivers.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 5, 2021
With the trade deadline having passed, that means that all players, regardless of their years of service in the NFL are subject to waivers, so OBJ will now be available on waivers to all 32 NFL teams. So, the question for Field Gulls readers becomes whether or not the Seattle Seahawks will put in a waiver claim, and that answer is probably not.
The reasoning behind this is simple. OBJ and the Browns have been working to restructure his contract for most of this week, and reports Friday have the Browns converting much of his 2021 base salary into signing bonus in order to lower his cap hit for the remainder of this season.
Odell Beckham Jr. has $8.05M remaining in base salary. The #Browns have salary conversion rights in his contract. This means the club has the ability to convert his salary into signing bonus. The more $ converted, the less salary left making it easier for a team to claim him.— IG: JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) November 5, 2021
What the tweet from Josina Anderson means is that Cleveland can reduce Beckham’s base salary for the remainder of the 2021 NFL season down to $537,500, which would be half of $1,075,000. That means that any team claiming Beckham could replace a minimum salary player on the roster with OBJ and would need just $207,500 in additional cap space over the remainder of the year to do so. That opens things up for teams that are operating with limited cap space to get involved in the claim wars, including the:
- Kansas City Chiefs: $1,597,483 in cap space
- New Orleans Saints: $710,136 in cap space
- San Francisco 49ers: $3,285,000 in cap space
- Los Angeles Rams: $4,078,438 in cap space
Meanwhile, the Seahawks are sitting around with $12,591,904 of available cap space per the NFLPA Public Salary Cap Report, meaning they are one of the few teams that could claim Beckham without needing his contract restructured first. Thus, if the Seattle front office were serious about bringing Beckham on board through the waiver process, all it would likely require is a phone call to Cleveland and stating, just hypothetically, that if the Browns were hypothetically planning on releasing OBJ there would be no need to restructure as they could simply claim him at the higher salary.
Then, once on the roster the Seahawks could restructure his contract, much like they did with Carlos Dunlap in 2020, in order to make the cap number more palatable for the remainder of the 2021 season. In short, there’s likely to be no shortage of hoping and wishing from Seattle fans over the weekend regarding a potential waiver claim on Beckham, but at the end of the day on Monday, he’ll more than likely be a member of an NFL team that is not the Seahawks.