The Cincinnati Bengals signed wide receiver Andrew Hawkins off of waivers back in 2011 after the St. Louis Rams dropped him. Hawkins made his debut during week 2 of the preseason catching his first NFL pass for 15 yards before being waived on the final day of cuts and re-signed to the practice team the following day. Hawkins’ future with the Bengals looked uncertain until Jordan Shipley landed on the injured reserve after tearing his ACL and MCL in week 2 of the season against the Denver Broncos and Hawkins was added to the active roster. Since then, his stats have been as follows:
2011 – 263 yards, 0 touchdowns
2012 – 533 yards, 4 touchdowns
Hawkins showed flashes of greatness last season with a 50-yard and 59-yard touchdown, showing his fantastic speed and ability to find space. He was also heavily utilized by quarterback Andy Dalton on 3rd-down situations seeing nine completions, but offensive coordinator Jay Gruden rarely used him, and he finished on 51 catches and WR5 yards for the season. On the down-side, Hawkins is a play-maker when he can get his hands on the ball, he has proven that he is a down field threat, yet he is being extremely under utilized. On the up-side, Hawkins is an exclusive-rights free agent, so they will get him cheap.
Exclusive-Rights Free Agent:
For Hawkins, this means that as a two year player he is not under contract, but he can’t sign with any other team. The team can then offer him the 3-year veteran contract minimum and he has no choice but to take it or leave the NFL.
The Bottom line:
The Bengals aren’t very good at parting with their money, but Hawkins is a low-yardage receiver at the moment so he will probably get the veteran minimum plus performance bonus options.
Bonus: Maximum $1 million