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Full details of Odell Beckham’s contract should emerge today

Cleveland Browns v Minnesota Vikings

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 03: Odell Beckham Jr. #13 of the Cleveland Browns puts on his helmet before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium on October 3, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

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On Friday, a report emerged from ESPN regarding two of the details of the revised Odell Beckham Jr. contract that will officially hit the waiver wire on Monday. If there are other details, they’ll come to light today.

Per a league source with knowledge of the rules and procedures, the contract will be posted to the relevant league database on Saturday. At that time or not long thereafter, the NFL Players Association will do the same.

That sets the stage for the information to be leaked. Someone who has access to the information will share it with a reporter. Who will then, you know, report it.

Adam Schefter reported on Friday that the new deal reduces the remaining salary obligation to $7.25 million, and that the final two years of the contract have been eliminated, setting the stage for Beckham to become a free agent in March.

For all the talk of Cleveland using its ability to squat on Beckham as leverage to get him to take less, the number reported by Schefter as Beckham’s salary for the rest of the year reflects a reduction by Beckham in the amount of zero dollars and zero cents. That raises an obvious question. If Beckham didn’t reduce or restructure his salary at all, why would the Browns agree to wipe out the final two years of the contract

Is it possible that the remaining base salary was reduced to $7.25 million, not the remaining salary to be paid? If so, the team that claims the balance of the contract will be on the hook for only nine of 18 game checks, or $3.625 million. (Schefter’s report, as currently written, makes it clear that there’s $7.25 million remaining in unpaid salary. Which, again, reflects no reduction of any kind in Beckham’s salary.)

As to the removal of the final two years, it will be interesting to see whether the new deal includes a no-tag clause, preventing the team that gets the contract on waivers from applying the franchise tag or the transition tag in early 2022.

If Beckham is claimed, the ESPN report (if accurate) means that he’ll make $7.25 million from the new team. If he’s not claimed, he presumably will be eligible to get the full $7.25 million from the Browns plus whatever he gets from a new team, with no reduction. (The 2020 CBA has a convoluted provision regarding the interaction of guaranteed pay and termination pay that leads to the same result -- but that was aimed at plugging a loophole that allowed running back C.J. Spiller to argue in a grievance against the Saints that he was entitled to his remaining guaranteed pay from the Saints and then the full amount of his unpaid salary, including the guaranteed amount, as termination pay.)

There’s a chance the real number is $3.625 million. There’s a chance that other terms were added to make it less palatable to claim the contract. There’s a chance that $7.25 million remains the real number but that Beckham has waived his right to termination pay. (It’s possible that waiver of termination pay is not permitted; perhaps they found a way around this.)

Whenever the full details emerge or are reported, we’ll break them down here. With the Browns, who announced on Friday that Beckham will be released, planning to make the official move on Monday by 4:00 p.m. ET, teams will have until Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. ET to file a waiver claim.