Sunday, August 7, 2022

Browns urged reconsidering adding deep threat wide receiver amid injuries

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It appeared the Cleveland Browns were done expanding their wide receiver base. Then the injury struck – three times.

It could have made a strong argument that Cleveland needed another playmaker on the sidelines even before the injury streak. At least as an insurance policy, there seems to be little to debate on this front. Another pass catcher would prove extremely important for the Browns, and a couple notable wideouts remain free agents, each with ties to the organization.

Odell Beckham Jr., who is recovering from a cruciate ligament injury he sustained during the Los Angeles Rams’ Super Bowl win in February, is a longer shot considering he just dropped from the roster of the Los Angeles Rams midway through last season Browns has urged. With Baker Mayfield out and Deshaun Watson in (at least eventually), the Cleveland situation might be an easier sell for the three-time Pro Bowl pass catcher.

The better pick, however, is former Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller. Fuller, a teammate of Watson’s in Texas, remains capable of both stretching and snapping NFL secondaries and has a chemistry with Watson built over four seasons as teammates.

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Fuller was recently named one of the “Top Free Agents” Still Available in 2022, according to Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine. In fact, Ballentine listed Fuller as the sixth best player on the market and ranked him second among wide receivers behind only Beckham on Friday, July 29.

Ballentine lobbied for Fuller in his six seasons in the league, despite a long and questionable injury history, and named the Browns one of the best fit for the wideout along with the Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts.

Given his history with Watson and his status as a prolific veteran, Fuller would certainly contend for a starting job among Cleveland’s wide receivers if he’s healthy.

Amari Cooper will be the top target in the passing game while the next two spots remain an open contest. At the start of training camp last week, rookie David Bell and Donovan Peoples-Jones were the front-runners for the No. 2 and No. 3 spots.

However, Bell suffered a foot injury before camp and could be out for several weeks. Anthony Schwartz, who appears to be in fourth place on the depth chart and is likely to play the role of first receiver off the bench, suffered a knee strain during Friday’s practice and everyday life. Undrafted free agent Isaiah Weston was pulled from the practice field on Saturday and details of his injury are still pending.

If the Browns bring him in, Fuller would add valuable depth to the positional group even if he can’t capture a starting role. Its price would almost certainly be modest, well under $10 million per year even with incentives, which is an investment Cleveland could make fairly easily with more than $48 million in salary cap remaining, according to Over The Cap .

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