Saturday, August 6, 2022

Veteran pass catcher eyes signing with Browns amid injuries

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The Cleveland Browns could be looking for another wide receiver at the position after a string of injuries in training camp, and veteran pass catcher Kenny Stills tosses his hat in the ring.

The Browns lost undrafted rookie passcatcher Isaiah Weston to what appears to be a serious knee injury during practice on July 29, and speedster Anthony Schwartz is also on the shelf with knee problems. The Browns are also without rookie third-round pick David Bell, who came into camp with a foot injury on the PUP list.

While the Browns still have their two best passers in Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones, the team is in a difficult position at depth. Stills is a free agent and came across a tweet asking the Browns to sign him. He sounds ready for the challenge.

“let’s get it” Stills replied to the tweetwhich also mentioned Will Fuller and Desean Jackson as options.

Still, he has played 23 games in the last two seasons but doesn’t have much to show for in terms of stats. The 30-year-old Oklahoma product has just 17 catches and a 202-yard tally in that span. He was waived by the Saints in December of last season.

However, Still has previously played with new Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson in Houston.

Still’s best year was 2014 with the Saints, when he caught 63 balls for 931 yards and three touchdowns. He also had a productive few years in Miami before signing with the Texans. He may not be a key factor at this point in his career, but he could provide the Browns with an experienced pair of hands for camp with a chance of making the list.

Fuller is another name routinely floated as an option for the Browns. Like Stills, Fuller previously played with Watson but put on some big numbers during their partnership in Houston. He had 53 catches for 879 yards and eight touchdowns in 2020 and missed five games with hamstring and groin injuries.

However, Fuller has his own injury worries, having only played two games for the Dolphins last season and never playing a full season in his career. Fuller was recently mentioned by Bleacher Report as an option for the Browns.

“Will Fuller V has dealt with injuries throughout his career. He only played in two games last season [with the Miami Dolphins] after sustaining a broken thumb,” wrote B/R’s Brent Sobleski. “But if he’s healthy, Fuller is a legitimate vertical threat with four seasons alongside Watson,” Sobleski wrote. “At 28, Fuller can agree to a little longer than a one-year contract while Cleveland awaits a disciplinary ruling on the quarterback’s status.”

The Browns have remodeled their wide receiver room this offseason, with the big addition being Amari Cooper. Cleveland sent a 2022 fifth-round pick and traded 2022 sixth-round picks with the Cowboys for Cooper, which has proven to be a significant steal for the Browns given the skyrocketing salaries for the best passers in the league and Coopers now looks at a modest looking $20 million a season.

Cooper gives the Browns one of the best distance runners in the league and head coach Kevin Stefanski raves about his skills.

“The first thing that strikes you about Amari is its size. I think his forward lean at that size really gets defenders’ attention. With double moves – a single move or a double move – you really need to know exactly what you’re doing on the first move. I think he has the smarts to realize how much he needs to spend on that first move before you go for the second move,” Stefanski said. “With Amari and the number of iterations he’s had over the course of his career, he has the know-how and wherewithal to sell first route first.”

Cooper has 1,000 yards potential but is still waiting on who his quarterback will be next season. The Browns are awaiting a decision from Sue L. Robinson on a possible suspension of Watson as the NFL seeks a full-year suspension. According to Cleveland.com, a decision is expected this week.



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