Could Chiefs claim Odell Beckham Jr. on waivers?

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The Cleveland Browns stunned the league on Friday, announcing the release of WR Odell Beckham Jr. in a mutual agreement to part ways. It ends a three-year stint with the Browns after the veteran wideout was traded to Cleveland from the New York Giants ahead of the 2019 NFL season.

So what are the chances that Beckham Jr. could end up with the Kansas City Chiefs? It doesn’t seem all that likely, but it is possible. The Chiefs have just over $2 million in cap space available after trading for Melvin Ingram and Daniel Brown, while trading away Laurent Duvernay-Tardif.

Beckham Jr. would typically be owed upwards of $8 million in 2021 upon his release, but as part of that agreement to part ways, the Browns agreed to a contract restructure. This allows the team to take Beckham Jr.’s base salary down to what amounts to a veteran minimum contract by converting the rest of his guaranteed salary into a signing bonus. Technically, Beckham Jr. is under contract through 2023, but those remaining two years are not guaranteed.

Would Cleveland bring Beckham Jr.’s salary down for a team like Kansas City, who they’ll potentially be competing with for a wild-card spot down the stretch? They’d be on the hook for his full salary should he clear waivers, so they actually have good reason to lower his salary for any team that claims him.

Speaking of waivers, with his release occurring after the NFL’s trade deadline, Beckham Jr. will be subject to the NFL’s waiver wire system. As of Week 9, a total of 16 teams will have a chance to claim Beckham Jr. before Kansas City. Here is the current order:

  1. Detroit Lions

  2. Miami Dolphins

  3. Houston Texans

  4. Jacksonville Jaguars

  5. New York Jets

  6. New York Giants

  7. Washington Football Team

  8. Philadelphia Eagles

  9. Seattle Seahawks

  10. Chicago Bears

  11. Atlanta Falcons

  12. San Francisco 49ers

  13. Minnesota Vikings

  14. Indianapolis Colts

  15. New England Patriots

  16. Denver Broncos

  17. Cleveland Browns

  18. Kansas City Chiefs

Three teams to monitor ahead of Kansas City on the waiver wire include the Lions (1), the Seahawks (9) and the Colts (14). Detroit had inquired about receivers ahead of the NFL’s trade deadline. The Seahawks could consider Beckham Jr. a future investment for when Russel Wilson returns from injury. The Colts find themselves in the thick of the AFC South race with the Titans losing Derrick Henry.

So, could the Chiefs claim Beckham Jr. on waivers? Assuming he makes it through the waiver order, yes, they could. Whether they should or not is an entirely different story.

The now 30-year-old receiver has just one season since 2016 with more than 12 games played. He’s recently dealt with groin and knee injuries that have required surgery, costing him time on the field. He also just hasn’t been very productive this season with 17 catches on 34 targets totaling 232 yards in six games. If Kansas City were sure they were getting the 2014-2016 version of Beckham Jr., it would be a slam dunk. But that’s not a guarantee at this point in his career.

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