Analysis

Odell Beckham Jr.'s next NFL team? Here are six ideal fits for the three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver

UPDATE: Odell Beckham Jr. cleared waivers Tuesday, becoming a free agent for the first time in his eight-year career, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported.

The relationship between the Cleveland Browns and Odell Beckham Jr. is coming to a close. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Friday that the club would release the high-profile wide receiver. Rapoport reported Saturday that the two sides signed the settlement to finalize his release, providing details of his reworked contract.

The Browns had excused OBJ from practice on Wednesday and Thursday in the wake of a social media push spearheaded by Beckham's father and Cleveland icon LeBron James to get the three-time Pro Bowler moved by Tuesday's trade deadline, which ultimately came and went with the wideout still on the roster.

Beckham, who initially burst on the scene as a first-round pick and Offensive Rookie of the Year for the New York Giants, came to the Browns in a blockbuster trade during the 2019 offseason. The pairing just never clicked, though, as injuries and a lack of chemistry with QB Baker Mayfield marred Beckham's Cleveland tenure. Despite missing the first two games this year while fully recovering from last year's ACL tear, Beckham was targeted a team-high 34 times over the first eight weeks of the season. But the wideout produced just 17 catches for 232 yards without a touchdown. In this past Sunday's loss to the rival Steelers, Beckham caught one pass for 6 yards.

So, what's next? Beckham, who coincidentally turned 29 years old on Friday, will be subject to waivers. If he goes unclaimed, he will become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career. It's impossible to say how this plays out in the moment, but there's no doubt numerous rosters could use a receiver of Beckham's talent for the second half of the season. With that in mind, here are six teams that could be ideal fits for the play-making wideout:

1
Green Bay Packers
7-1 · 1st in NFC North

We've never seen what Beckham can do when matched with an elite passer, and in the eighth season of his career, the window for such a pairing could be starting to close. Enter the Packers' Aaron Rodgers, a nine-time Pro Bowler who would unquestionably embrace any edge that could aid a Super Bowl run. The reigning MVP, who's currently on the reserve/COVID-19 list, has been quite vocal in recent years with his desire for the front office to upgrade his weaponry. Beckham certainly wouldn't be WR1 in Green Bay -- Davante Adams has that role on lockdown -- but he could be a valuable complementary option, especially if Marquez Valdes-Scantling's hamstring injury lingers as a problem all season.

2
New Orleans Saints
5-2 · 2nd in NFC South

Sean Payton's team managed to get to 5-2 without its top receiver, Michael Thomas, but now New Orleans is without QB Jameis Winston, as well. With Thomas announcing Wednesday that he won't return this season, Odell Beckham Jr. in a Saints uniform is an attractive prospect for a team that's now looking at a QB-WR1 connection of Trevor Siemian to Marquez Callaway.

3
Las Vegas Raiders
5-2 · 1st in AFC West

The club just released Henry Ruggs III, who's facing a felony charge of DUI resulting in the death of another person. Football's obviously insignificant in the grand scheme of this tragedy, but the Raiders are forced to move forward. Las Vegas' rushing attack hasn't been as good as expected this season, making this offense the Derek Carr show. But without Ruggs, who led the team with 469 receiving yards this season, the Raiders have a void that might not be fillable by anyone on the current roster, making Beckham an enticing possibility. One caveat: Carr distributes targets in all directions, and that wouldn't change for OBJ.

4
New England Patriots
4-4 · 2nd in AFC East

There's some history supporting New England as a destination that works out well for unhappy players (SEE: Randy Moss and Corey Dillon, among others). Why not OBJ? Bill Belichick has a reputation for getting the most out his players, a quality that would likely bring to light exactly how good Beckham can still be. At 4-4, the Patriots need to make a second-half push for a postseason berth, and their receiving corps could use an upgrade to go with the ever-improving Jakobi Meyers.

5
Buffalo Bills
5-2 · 1st in AFC East

Just imagine how wide open OBJ could get with Josh Allen's ability to buy more time to throw. Room would have to be made within a receiving corps that's played well this season, so it can't be said that there's a glaring need; as the outside receiver opposite Stefon Diggs, Emmanuel Sanders leads the team in yards per catch at 17.2. Still, a rejuvenated Beckham could help even the NFL's highest-scoring offense, and nothing rejuvenates a player like jumping from the bottom of one division to the top of another.

6
Atlanta Falcons
3-4 · 4th in NFC South

Receiving options suddenly look in short supply for Atlanta, with standout WR Calvin Ridley taking a leave from the team to address his mental health. Rookie TE Kyle Pitts is a budding star, but when there isn't a feared presence outside, defending Pitts becomes easier, as the Carolina Panthers demonstrated in Ridley's absence this past Sunday. Defensively-challenged, the Falcons will go no further than QB Matt Ryan can take them, and Beckham can help win the shootouts.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter.

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