2020 NFL Draft

Browns free agency breakdown: Wide receivers


When coach Mike Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer met with reporters at the NFL Combine, they fielded more than handful of questions about the Browns' situation at wide receiver.

In an interview back at the team hotel with ClevelandBrowns.com's Nathan Zegura, Pettine laid out what the team is looking for at the position in matter-of-fact terms.

"We need to gain yards and score points," Pettine said at the NFL Combine. "You need guys you think can be special when you put the ball in their hands. We feel good about the guys you just mentioned but we're always looking to add. Hopefully this year's draft class will offer some of those guys."

But what about this year's crop of free agents?

The Browns made two shrewd signings at wide receiver last year when they plucked Andrew Hawkins away from the Bengals and saw him lead the team in receptions and yards. Veteran Miles Austin, who signed a one-year deal long after free agency opened, provided leadership in the locker room and was one of Cleveland's top options on third down before he was sidelined indefinitely with a kidney injury.

Even with Green Bay's Randall Cobb taking himself off the market late Saturday, there's no shortage of bodies and potential starting options in this year's group. Whether or not they're on the Browns' radar remains to be seen.

Here's a look at the landscape with 24 hours to go before free agency gets underway.

Who's coming back? (2014 stats)

Andrew Hawkins - 63 receptions, 824 yards, 2 TDs; 3 rushes, 15 yards

Taylor Gabriel - 36 receptions, 621 yards, TD; 4 rushes, 10 yards

Travis Benjamin - 18 receptions, 314 yards, 3 TDs; 3 rushes, 11 yards

Phil Bates

Kevin Cone

Rodney Smith


Josh Gordon - 24 receptions, 303 yards

Who's on the market?

Miles Austin - 47 receptions, 568 yards, 2 TDs

Marlon Moore - Used almost exclusively on special teams

Rankings of note

Yards by wide receivers - 2,630 - 11th

Touchdowns by wide receivers - 8 - T-30th

Top WRs available (Rankings from NFL.com’s Top 101 NFL Free Agents for 2015)

  1. Torrey Smith (Baltimore)
  1. Jeremy Maclin (Philadelphia)
  1. Michael Crabtree (San Francisco)
  1. Cecil Shorts (Jacksonville)
  1. Kenny Britt (St. Louis)
  1. Hakeem Nicks (Indianapolis)
  1. Denarius Moore (Oakland)
  1. Brian Hartline (Miami)
  1. Harry Douglas (Atlanta)

Wes Welker

Reggie Wayne

Eddie Royal

Nate Washington

Brandon Gibson

This article is part of the Road to the Draft series, driven by Liberty Ford.



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