CINCINNATI (AP) — Odell Beckham Jr.’s messy breakup with the Browns is officially over.
After three days of negotiations, the team and the troublesome receiver agreed to terms for his release on Saturday, clearing the way for him to potentially become a free agent, a person familiar with the agreement told The Associated Press.
Beckham, who was excused by the team this week for his conduct, signed off on the settlement and will be waived Monday, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.
On Friday, Beckham’s 29th birthday, Browns general manager Andrew Berry said it was time to cut ties with him after 2 1/2 seasons in which the three-time Pro Bowler produced few highlights on the field.
“It’s unfortunate,” Berry said. “But at the same time there are some situations in the NFL where things just don’t quite work out.”
Berry and Beckham’s agent spent the past few days working through details for the separation, which became inevitable when his father shared a video on social media showing times when Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield didn’t throw him the ball.
The video posting came hours before the trade deadline, and the Browns explored moving Beckham, whose value has been diminished by his contract, injuries and lack of productivity.
There were much deeper issues than Odell Beckham Sr.’s personal attack on Mayfield as Beckham had requested to be traded several times and in recent weeks showed his frustration at not being more involved in Cleveland’s offense.
The Browns and Beckham agreed to eliminate the non-guaranteed two years remaining on his contract after 2021, the person said.
Once Beckham’s waived, he can be claimed by a team that would have to pay the $7.25 million he’s owed for the remainder of this season.
If Beckham clears waivers Tuesday at 4 p.m., he’ll become a free agent and the Browns would owe him $4.25 million, saving the club $3 million.
NFL Network was first to report the financial terms,
By restructuring the deal, Beckham is more likely to become a free agent, which is his preference since he can then choose his team. In that scenario, the Browns would get a break financially.
Beckham was acquired in 2019 by the Browns in a trade from the New York Giants by former general manager John Dorsey, who wanted to give Mayfield a game-breaking playmaker.
Beckham didn’t deliver.
He arrived with a reputation for being self-centered and disruptive and never seemed to get comfortable in Cleveland. He had more 1,000 yards in his first season, but suffered a knee injury in 2020 and was out when the Browns ended a long playoff drought and won their first playoff game in 26 years.
Beckham’s situation was a distraction for the Browns (4-4), who play a critical game Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals (5-3). Cleveland has dropped three of four and can’t afford many more losses, especially inside the AFC North, if it wants to make the playoffs.