For more than a year, talk of Odell Beckham's miscasting in Cleveland was never actually acknowledged by either the team or the star wide receiver. Now? The Cleveland Browns released the three-time Pro Bowl receiver, and on Tuesday he cleared waivers.
Baker Mayfield and coach Kevin Stefanski had long supported Beckham's presence on the team, but with the latter now voicing displeasure behind closed doors -- and, apparently, through ancillary sources like his father, or Cleveland sports legend LeBron James -- his days in a Browns uniform are through.
With that in mind, where could Beckham end up now that he has cleared waivers and is a free agent? Here are some potential landing spots:
Beckham doesn't necessarily feel like a culture fit here, but at 3-5, with T.Y. Hilton perpetually banged up, they could really use another weapon for Carson Wentz as they try to stay alive in the AFC South. As long as Wentz is under center, their focus will be to win now. And OBJ would get his fair share of targets opposite Michael Pittman
How spicy would this be? Dallas doesn't need WR help, with Dak Prescott comfortably in the MVP conversation thanks to help from CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper. OBJ also wouldn't necessarily get an abundance of work in such a crowded room. But Michael Gallup has been banged up, and Jerry Jones could view this like an Antonio Brown-to-the-Buccaneers kind of move: a luxury addition to a Super Bowl-caliber lineup. As for Odell, what could be better than getting the America's Team stage before a potential return to free agency, and maybe getting another shot at the Giants along the way?
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Baltimore has gotten No. 1 WR production from Marquise Brown, and they're capable of making a run as is. But Beckham would easily make for an upgrade on the other side, taking pressure off Sammy Watkins and Rashod Bateman to stay healthy. Lamar Jackson's off-script style might not always gel with Odell, but the latter would also get to stick it to Cleveland by staying in the North.
San Francisco has quietly slipped out of the limelight in recent weeks, but fresh off a promising win with Jimmy Garoppolo, they could be itching to catapult themselves back into the NFC West conversation. They fell in love with Beckham before, exploring a trade for the former Giants star, and haven't trusted Brandon Aiyuk all year. He'd be an easy upgrade over Mohamed Sanu opposite Deebo Samuel.
Their offensive problems aren't solely or primarily stemming from a lack of talent, but one way to help Patrick Mahomes settle down might be giving him yet another big-play outlet. Beckham would be playing second fiddle to Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, perhaps, but K.C. throws it so much that he'd still see a bump in action. The Chiefs, remember, sniffed around WR additions prior to this season.
The Raiders have been burned by splashy moves for troubled WRs before (see: Brown, Antonio; Bryant, Martavis), but Mike Mayock is all in on a playoff run this year, even with all the outside controversy of this season. With Henry Ruggs III suddenly out of the picture, they could really use WR help to stay out front in the AFC West. Derek Carr would surely work hard to get OBJ his targets.
No one takes more chances on discarded big-name veterans than New England, and the Patriots can also promise him a decent role, with Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor best suited for complementary spots. The Patriot Way may or may not be a long-term match, but with the team hanging around in the AFC East, they have reason to gamble to help out Mac Jones. As a bonus, front-office consultant Eliot Wolf was the Browns' assistant GM when Cleveland traded for Beckham back in 2019.
Yes, DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett are about as good as you can get when it comes to a one-two punch at wideout, but Pete Carroll playfully danced around rumors of Seattle's interest, and the Seahawks should be doing everything in their power to help Russell Wilson upon his return, especially with the NFC West quickly slipping away.
They reportedly discussed a trade for Beckham prior to the deadline, so it's obvious they're interested. And even though Sean Payton shot down the idea of Beckham going to New Orleans via the waiver wire, it's now become a real possibility. With Michael Thomas now , they desperately need WR help, and even more so with Jameis Winston also sidelined for good. Beckham might not salivate at the thought of catching passes from Trevor Siemian or Taysom Hill, but he's from the area and would instantly become WR1 again -- likely with a chance to return to the market in 2022.
They've dealt with different forms of Aaron Rodgers drama all year, so we're not sure they'd welcome another potential headache. But if Rodgers is running the show, why not? Davante Adams is the clear No. 1, but Beckham would properly relegate Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb to secondary roles, giving Green Bay a major one-two punch out wide for a title run. And it's been reported that Green Bay is Beckham's top landing spot, so he's ours as well.