On Tuesday afternoon, the Cincinnati Bengals failed to match the Cleveland Browns‘ offer for wide receiver Andrew Hawkins, and thus, he will now become a Brown. This is a solid signing for the Browns, and it instantly makes their offense better.
In 2013, Hawkins had 12 receptions for 199 yards and seven first downs in just eight games. He’s a slot receiver who can turn short gains into home runs. Standing at 5-foot-7 and weighing 180 pounds, he relies on his speed to get open, and that will make dangerous for the Browns. Look for him to become their home run threat.
While it may seem like they overpaid Hawkins at $13.6 million over four years, his role on the team will more than warrant the paycheck. Cleveland has a young receiver with a bright future, and it appears they have a quarterback in Brian Hoyer to throw them the ball. Adding Hawkins to play opposite of Josh Gordon is a definite upgrade to this offense.
The Browns have always had plenty of potential in their pass offense, but it has never quite come to fruition. Cleveland has a bona fide No. 1 receiver in Gordon and tight end Jordan Cameron is a threat in the passing game, as well. Greg Little has potential, but he’s been a bust and there’s no telling what the future holds for him now. With Hawkins on the team, Little’s days are likely numbered in Cleveland, as he’s in his contract year.
Cleveland is putting together a solid passing attack and if quarterback Hoyer can return to play as well as he did last year, then there’s something magical in store for the Browns this coming season. Last year, in two starts before going down with a knee injury, Hoyer threw for 590 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions. In both games, the Browns came out the victors.
Perhaps they don’t think Hoyer is the future. They also have Jason Campbell, and the NFL Draft is also coming up. Many believe the Browns should (or will) draft a quarterback with their first pick. Both Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater have been tabbed as likely draft picks for Cleveland. If that’s the case, then the sky’s the limit for this offense, particularly in the passing game.
The Browns have had quite the offseason and Tuesday’s signing is only icing on the cake. In the early days of free agency, they signed Karlos Dansby and Donte Whitner to boost the defense. While they did lose T.J. Ward, I think they have taken the necessary steps to lessen the impact of his absence.
Be excited, Browns fans. The 2014 season is shaping up to be an exciting one for you all.