Receiver Odell Beckham Jr. officially hit waivers Monday, which only ramped up the speculation the Seahawks could put in a claim for him — or hope he goes unclaimed and then sign him as a free agent.

And Seahawks coach Pete Carroll did nothing to dissuade the idea that Seattle is at least seriously considering it when asked Monday afternoon if the team would put in a claim for Beckham.

“You will have to wait and see how this all goes,” Carroll said. “But at this time I don’t know. I have been on the practice field, so I don’t know what’s going on. As you would think, we are aware of what’s going on, have been involved to understand, and are competing to know what’s happening. We will let you know what’s going on as it all happens. We have to wait. So, I didn’t say yes or no because you will see.”

Beckham’s name hit the waiver wire at 1 p.m. Monday. That means teams now have 24 hours to claim him in descending order of record, or what would be the current draft order.

Seattle is currently ninth in the claiming order.

Any team claiming Beckham would have to pick up all of the $7.25 million remaining on his contract for the rest of this season.

If no one does, he becomes a free agent at 1 p.m. Tuesday Seattle time.

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In a follow-up question about why the Seahawks would be interested in Beckham, Carroll delivered another answer that seemed to confirm that Seattle is giving it serious consideration. Pro Football Talk reported over the weekend that Beckham “prefers” the Seahawks of possible next teams, while several stated Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson is pushing for the team to sign him.

“He’s a really good football player,” Carroll said. “He’s as talented as you could be in the years past, and so you’re always looking for guys that can do special stuff. I’ve forever shared with you guys that we’re looking for uniqueness and people that are different than other people and give you different dimensions to their play. So that’s what we’re trying to figure out and investigate and see if there’s a chance and all that kind of stuff. If it makes sense. In essence, I’m going to stall telling you what’s going on, just because.”

Beckham was waived by Cleveland in large part due to his unhappiness with how he was being used in the team’s offense, and his increasingly frayed relationship with quarterback Baker Mayfield.

Beckham, who made the Pro Bowl from 2014-16 with the Giants, has just 17 receptions for 232 yards on 34 targets in six games with the Browns this season, returning from an ACL injury suffered last October that held him to seven games last season.

Beckham, who tuned 29 Friday, worked out a restructured deal with the Browns over the weekend in which he is assured of getting $4.25 million in salary from Cleveland if he is not claimed. But he will not get $3 million in roster bonus if he is not claimed. Essentially, Beckham risked giving up $3 million for the potential to become a free agent.

His high cap number has led to the prevailing thought that he will not get claimed, and one report over the weekend said Beckham could cause “issues” if a team claims him for which he doesn’t want to play.

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Only nine teams, including the Seahawks, currently have the cap room to add Beckham, according to OvertheCap.com. Seattle has $13.3 million as of Monday, according to OTC.

The Saints have also been considered as a possibility for Beckham due to their need at receiver and because he was born in New Orleans and played at LSU. The Saints, though, do not have the cap room to claim him, and coach Sean Payton said Monday that “it’s impossible” for New Orleans to claim him because of its cap situation — the Saints have just $889,285 available as of Monday, according to OTC.

But if Beckham becomes a free agent, he could negotiate a deal with a team for less than the needed cap room to claim him, specifically by backloading the money in future years.

And while Seattle has the money to claim Beckham, Seattle’s preference might be to sign him as a free agent — or claim him and then work out a deal to bring down that number for this year.

A $7.25 million cap hit for the rest of this season would be a higher cap number than all but four other Seahawks have for the entire 2021 season (Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, Duane Brown and Tyler Lockett).

RB Chris Carson to be back Wednesday?

While the Seahawks declared Wilson, receiver Dee Eskridge and cornerback Nigel Warrior as returning to practice Monday off injured reserve, they did not make such a move with running back Chris Carson, who also is now eligible to come off IR.

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But Carroll indicated that might still happen this week.

Carroll said last week that Carson would meet with doctors Monday and then a determination would be made if he has recovered well enough from the neck injury that has held him out the past four games to return to practice.

“What I was told today is Wednesday he’ll be on the field,” Carroll said. “We’ll see how that goes. One day at a time.”

If Carson is declared as returning to practice Wednesday that will then open up a 21-day window in which he can practice before the team then either has to activate him to the 53-man roster or leave him on IR for the rest of the season.

Carson was placed on IR on Oct. 15 after rushing for 232 yards on 54 carries in the first four games.

WR Dee Eskridge ‘looked good’ in return

Eskridge, the team’s first pick in the 2021 draft at No. 56 overall, has not played since suffering a concussion Sept. 12 at Indianapolis.

Seattle waited a few weeks to put him on IR as he battled lingering effects from the concussion, particularly related to vision.

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He was cleared to return last week after visiting a specialist in Florida and officially was taken off IR Monday.

The Seahawks held a light workout Monday, and Carroll said the team will need more time before knowing when Eskridge might be able to return to play.

“I can’t tell you that right now,” Carroll said. “He looked good running around today. That’s all I know.”