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Browns releasing WR Odell Beckham; WR heading to waivers

The end of the Odell Beckham era in Cleveland is upon us.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Friday that the Browns are releasing the wideout, per sources informed of the situation.

The release comes about as OBJ and the team agreed to a reworked contract, Rapoport added. Beckham will now head to waivers; the receiver's release was not officially processed Friday, so he is not yet on the wire. The team later confirmed it's finalizing the process.

"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."

The writing was on the wall all week after Tuesday's social media push to get the wideout out of Cleveland, which included Beckham's father sharing a video showing Beckham open on routes but quarterback Baker Mayfield not throwing his direction. Cleveland attempted to trade Beckham ahead of Tuesday's deadline but couldn't cultivate a deal before the window closed.

The Browns excused OBJ from practice on Wednesday and Thursday, indicating they planned to move on if they could figure out the contract situation.

It's a tumultuous end to a dud of an era in Cleveland.

In 29 games, Beckham caught 114 of 210 targets for 1,586 yards and seven touchdowns over two and a half seasons. In six games in 2021, OBJ caught 17 of 34 targets for 232 yards and hasn't scored. In Sunday's loss to Pittsburgh, Beckham had one reception for 6 yards, the fewest in a full game for his career.

Beckham leads the team in targets through eight games.

The star wideout never found a rapport with Mayfield. The duo got off to a fine start together in 2019, with Beckham playing 16 games and producing 74 catches for 1,035 yards, but a lack of chemistry clouded the tepid production.

The past two years, Beckham's struggles have been magnified in Kevin Stefanski's offense. Beckham got off to a slow start in 2020, catching 23 passes for 319 yards and three scores before tearing his ACL after seven games. This year, the issues hit a new height after Beckham returned from the injury but was relegated to a sideshow.

Yes, Mayfield missed Beckham too often and didn't see the wideout at other times, but it takes two to tango. Beckham's effort wasn't always great, and he didn't dominate corners as he had early in his career. He generated a -7.9 expected completion percentage, per Next Gen Stats.

Stefanski's scheme also didn't play to OBJ's strength. The timing offense predicated on wideouts being at a specific spot and the QB reading the progression negated some of what made Beckham a star in New York.

Beckham, who turns 29 years old Friday, wanted out of Cleveland. The Browns granted that wish rather than deal with the dissatisfied distraction.

Cleveland becomes the second team to give up on OBJ despite the natural talent and Hall of Fame-level start to the wideout's career. The Giants traded him to Cleveland after five years and 5,476 yards with 44 TDs. Following three Pro Bowl seasons to start his career, Beckham has generated just 2,940 total yards on 216 catches and 16 TDs the past five seasons with the Giants and Browns.

Now the question turns to where Beckham lands. Like all players after the trade deadline, OBJ is subject to waivers. If he's not claimed, Beckham would be a free agent for the first time in his career.

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