According to multiple reports, the Cleveland Browns will release star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. It's yet another twist of events in a situation that has quickly progressed and spiraled out of control in recent days. The Browns excused Beckham from practice on Wednesday and Thursday following the drama that was created by his father on social media. It represents the conclusion of an era that began so promising but has now ended in profound disappointment.
Beckham will now be subject to the NFL's waiver claims process. General manager Andrew Berry put his creative hard-hat on and reworked Beckham's contract in order to make claiming him financially appealing, and we are just days away from finding out where Beckham will take his talents to.
31 other general managers will now weigh their options and decide whether or not absorbing the remainder of Beckham's current contract is worth it. The former LSU standout is technically signed through 2023 but could void the final year of his contract, which would allow him to hit free agency a year earlier in 2022.
Beckham will now serve as a fascinating option for teams looking to upgrade their offensive personnel in hopes of making a run at Super Bowl LVI. These four teams serve as realistic options for Beckham's next destination.
LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
Largely considered the favorites to land Beckham by several online oddsmakers, it’s easy to understand why general manager Mike Mayock would have interest in adding the uber-talented Beckham to his receiver room. The Raiders’ pass-catching corps needs an addition after the recent release of wide receiver Henry Ruggs following his tragic DUI incident.
The surging Raiders currently sit at 5-2 and in first place in the ever-competitive AFC West. It’s going to take something special from interim head coach Rich Bisaccia and his Raiders to fend off challenges from the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs. Starting quarterback Derek Carr has been in excellent form this season. The Raiders currently own the league's second-best passing offense (307.9 passing yards per game) and would almost certainly improve by adding Beckham. The division title is still very much up for grabs at this point and the Raiders would be wise to increase their chances by claiming Beckham.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Sticking with the wildly unpredictable AFC West, Kansas City's offense would benefit greatly from adding another talented pass-catching weapon to help support the likes of Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. The Chiefs are still the owners of an elite offense by every metric used to measure the effectiveness of offensive play, but they've been freefalling in several categories after averaging a measly 11.5 points per contest over their last two games.
Patrick Mahomes leads the league in interceptions with 10 and has rarely shown any signs of chemistry with a pass-catcher not named Hill or Kelce. The Chiefs will almost certainly continue to fight for a playoff spot in the AFC despite their struggles and pedestrian 4-4 record. Claiming Beckham would somehow make this offense even scarier than it currently is.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Beckham may be hoping to land with a team that possesses a more established, veteran starting quarterback, but head coach Bill Belichick has infamously managed several difficult personalities over the years. The surging Patriots pulled off an incredibly impressive victory when they shockingly bested the Los Angeles Chargers a week ago, and have now won two consecutive contests. Belichick's Patriots now appear poised to make a legitimate run at a playoff spot in the AFC.
Rookie signal-caller Mac Jones has shown some drastic signs of improvement during New England's active two-game winning streak by throwing for a combined 525 yards and two touchdowns while taking care of the football to the tune of zero turnovers. New England has plenty to play for down the stretch, and Beckham would immediately slot into their No. 1 receiver role.
Ravens fans were quick to create buzz on social media following Beckham's release, a development that even prompted starting quarterback Lamar Jackson to take notice via a comedic tweet of his own.
Baltimore's ability to efficiently move the ball through the air is much improved from a year ago. Jackson has made noteworthy strides as a passer, and the Ravens are averaging a healthy 268.1 passing yards per contest. General manager Eric DeCosta and head coach John Harbaugh have assembled a team that is currently firing on all cylinders, and appear poised to be serious contenders to represent the AFC in Super Bowl LVI. Widely considered a top-three team in the conference, the Ravens have plenty of reasons to strengthen their receiver room by submitting a claim for Beckham.
The surging Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals, and Cleveland Browns will continue to fight to wrangle away first place in the AFC North, and the Ravens should do everything in their power to maintain their slim lead. Beckham would form an excellent pass-catching trio alongside the likes of Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown. We are very much here for this possibility.