Browns release Odell Beckham Jr.
"After careful consideration, internal discussions, and conversations with Odell and his representation, we've determined that it is in the best interest of all parties involved that Odell no longer play for the Cleveland Browns," general manager Andrew Berry said in a statement.
"We appreciate all his efforts and contributions while in Cleveland, but we've just reached a point where it is best that we move forward as a team without Odell. We are finalizing the process of granting Odell his release, and we wish him well as he continues his career."
Cleveland will remove the final two years of Beckham's contract before placing him on waivers, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Any club that claims him will have to pay his $7.25 million salary for the rest of the season.
The Browns will be responsible for only $4.25 million of Beckham's salary if he goes unclaimed on waivers, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports. He also agreed not to go after termination pay for his release, Rapoport adds.
The tumultuous relationship between player and team seemingly reached a crossroads this week when, hours before Tuesday's NFL trade deadline, Beckham's father reposted a video montage of his son getting open in coverage and Baker Mayfield either missing on throws or not looking in the receiver's direction.
Beckham's father was also active in the comments section of his post, echoing sentiments that were critical of the Browns quarterback.
LeBron James, a close friend of Beckham's, added fuel to the fire when he tweeted the following the same morning:
The Browns were reportedly in contact with the New Orleans Saints about a trade for Beckham, but they were unable to come to terms on a deal before Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET deadline.
Beckham was excused from practice for each of the next two days, and head coach Kevin Stefanski told reporters that general manager Andrew Berry was meeting with the wideout's representatives to discuss Beckham's future with the club.
Stefanski told Browns players Wednesday that Beckham was essentially not on the team at the moment and had been told to stay home, according to NFL insider Mike Silver.
Beckham's release will end a disappointing three-year stint in Cleveland. Acquired in a blockbuster deal with the New York Giants in 2019, the three-time Pro Bowler was expected to be a major factor in the Browns' emergence as a potential contender.
Instead, he struggled to get on the same page as Mayfield and his production fell off drastically. He was off to a particularly slow start in 2020 before he suffered a torn ACL that October, and the Browns went on to end their playoff drought without him.
After returning to the lineup in Week 3 this year, he tallied just 17 receptions for 232 yards and zero touchdowns across six games. In what will be his final game in a Browns uniform, he was held to one catch for 6 yards as Cleveland fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.