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Browns release Odell Beckham Jr.; ESPN lists 49ers as a potential landing spot

San Francisco is currently 12th in the waiver wire order

NFL: OCT 07 Browns at 49ers Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Odell Beckham Jr. saga in Cleveland is finally over. Per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported, both parties discussed a new contract structure to reduce OBJ’s base salary as low as $1 million. As a result, the Browns would potentially eat as much as $7.25 million of Beckham’s remaining salary, while the team, if Beckham Jr. is claimed, inherits his veteran minimum salary off waivers.

That’s how claiming Beckham Jr. is possible. It also makes OBJ more claimable on waivers, so he couldn’t pick his destination. If the Lions, who have first priority on waivers, want Beckham Jr., then he’s theirs.

Here’s a look at the waiver order, where the 49ers are currently 12th:

Lions
Dolphins
Texans
Jaguars
Jets
Giants
Washington
Eagles
Seahawks
Bears
Falcons
Niners

What I find fascinating is whether OBJ will hold out if he’s claimed by a non-playoff team. If I were a general manager, I’d claim Beckham Jr. and, if he played well, move him in the offseason. You land a free draft pick that you were never going to get, and you don’t have to play OBJ anything more than the veteran minimum.

At this point, OBJ carries more weight in his name than in his actual production. Beckham has -17 receiving DYAR this year, ranking him 58th out of 65 qualifying receivers. Last year he had 13 DYAR in limited playing time. In Beckham’s defense, you have to be targeted when you’re open to produce, which he and his dad would say has happened.

By now, you’re aware that the 49ers have done this dance with Beckham Jr. seemingly every offseason for three years in a row now. That’s one of the reasons Fowler listed the 49ers as a potential landing spot for OBJ. Here’s what Fowler said:

The problem here is San Francisco is a run-first attack, which is what Beckham has in Cleveland. But the thought of Deebo Samuel and Beckham as matching yards-after-catch players must be intriguing to coach Kyle Shanahan. There were whispers that Beckham wanted to be a 49er awhile back.

Brandon Aiyuk hasn’t been the reliable No. 2 the 49ers need, though he showed signs of life in Week 8. The 49ers have nearly $3.5 million in cap space to work with.

If Beckham wants to come to the Bay Area, then you make it happen. The teams' Fowler listed ahead of San Francisco were the Panthers, Seahawks, Saints, and Raiders. Only Seattle has a higher wavier claim than the Niners.

Let’s talk about the cap space because there is always a way. Let’s say the 49ers are operating with anywhere between $3.5-$3.8 million in cap space. They could easily clear up $1.3 million in cap space by releasing Travis Benjamin, Jeff Wilson Jr., and Dre Kirkpatrick.

If San Francisco wanted to ensure they were the team to land OBJ, they’d have to create the cap room by the end of the 24-hour claiming period. They could extend Laken Tomlinson or Jimmie Ward or ask Jimmy Garoppolo to re-work his contract. Again, easy workarounds to land a player that would be an upgrade to Mohamed Sanu.

If OBJ doesn’t work out, then so be it. You sign him to prevent other teams from landing him as well as to give your offense — a passing offense that’s been lackluster all season — a boost.