The Cincinnati Bengals, Hawkins’ former club, had five days to match the offer from Cleveland but did not. Hawkins is now a member of the Browns without any compensation owed to the Bengals.
Hawkins a 5-7, 180-pound wide receiver out of Toledo, is the sixth player signed by the Browns in the new league year, which began March 11.
Taking the next step in a career that actually began with a tryout invitation to the Browns’ 2008 rookie mini-camp, Hawkins is in his fourth NFL season. Entering the NFL officially as a free agent signed by St. Louis in 2011, he was acquired by the Bengals via waivers prior to his first regular season. He has appeared in 35 NFL games, all with Cincinnati, totaling 86 receptions for 995 yards with four touchdowns. He also has 13 rushes for 58 yards.
Prior to entering the NFL, Hawkins played two years (2009-10) with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League, helping the team capture the Grey Cup both seasons.
In 2013, Hawkins missed the first eight games with an ankle injury suffered during training camp. He saw action in the final eight contests and caught 12 passes for 199 yards, a team-best 16.6-yard average per reception.
In college, Hawkins became Toledo’s first two-way player in 40 years, seeing action at wide receiver and cornerback. He totaled 67 receptions for 634 yards, four receiving touchdowns and one rushing score. A native of Johnstown, Pa., Hawkins attended Bishop McCourt High School.