The Cleveland Browns are in the process of figuring out who their starting receiver will be for the upcoming season, and Odell Beckham Jr. is no longer on that list after missing practice with what team officials initially called a “soreness.” The New York Giants wideout took to social media Wednesday night before his flight home to announce he’s planning an announcement soon.
Odell Beckham Jr. has been excused from Cleveland Browns practice for the second straight day amid wide receiver’s uncertain future, a source tells ESPN.
BEREA, Ohio (AP) — According to a source, Odell Beckham Jr. was excused from practice for the second day in a row on Thursday as his agent and the Cleveland Browns continue to hammer out a deal for his future.
After his father uploaded a video on Instagram showcasing moments when quarterback Baker Mayfield either didn’t throw the ball to Beckham or missed him when he was open, Beckham was ordered not to attend Wednesday’s practice.
For the Browns, Beckham seems to have played his last game. Browns coach Kevin Stefanski told the squad before Wednesday’s practice that Beckham will no longer be a Brown as the club prepared for Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals, according to several sources.
Stefanski and Mayfield both said they hadn’t heard from Beckham since his father’s Instagram pictures went viral on Tuesday.
Browns safety John Johnson III said on Thursday that he hopes Beckham returns “if at all possible,” and that the “majority” of his teammates agree.
Johnson said, “The majority of this locker room would love to have him in this facility — flat out.”
In addition to other remarks, Odell Beckham Sr. commented in the comments section of a post that indicated Mayfield was “either hating on Odell or he simply doesn’t want him shining,” with three green check points. In response to a tweet that dubbed Mayfield “mediocre,” Beckham Sr. used the hashtag “#bigfacts.”
Beckham, who turns 29 on Friday, is under contract for another two seasons but does not have any guaranteed money remaining on his contract. The NFL’s trade deadline expired Tuesday, thus Cleveland won’t be able to deal Beckham until the next league year begins in 2022. Each of those seasons, the three-time Pro Bowler is owed a $1 million roster bonus on the first day of training camp.
If the Browns trade or release him over the offseason, they will save $15 million on their salary cap.
Mayfield said Wednesday that he was “very startled by the video and the intents and the sentiments behind it,” but that if Beckham comes to the Browns, “we’ll work through it and do whatever it takes.”
In Sunday’s 15-10 defeat to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Beckham had one grab for 6 yards. Late in the game, Mayfield targeted Beckham again, but the wide receiver went up for the ball with just one arm and failed to snag it.
In recent weeks, Cleveland’s passing offense has faltered, and the Browns have dropped to 4-4 and last place in the AFC North rankings. Mayfield has just six touchdown throws and ranks 27th in QBR (42.2). Meanwhile, Beckham is ranked 151st in the NFL in receiving yards per target and 139th in receiving yards per route run.
This season, both Beckham and Mayfield have played with shoulder problems. Since the Browns acquired Beckham in the 2019 offseason, the players have battled to maintain their bond. According to ESPN Stats & Information, they’ve dropped to 57th place out of 62 quarterback-receiver combinations with at least 125 targets since then.
Beckham and Mayfield are also 59th and 60th in completion percentage (55%) and off-target percentage (60%) respectively (27 percent ). Mayfield has also underthrown or overthrew Beckham on 27% of his throws, which is the third-highest percentage of any quarterback and receiver since 2019.
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