Browns Sign Andrew Hawkins
The Browns added another weapon on offense, signing former Bengals WR Andrew Hawkins to a four-year, $13.6 million contract. Since Hawkins was a restricted free agent, the Bengals had a chance to match the Browns’ offer but declined.
At 5’7” and 180 pounds, Hawkins will be penciled in as the slot receiver and figures to be the No. 3 target behind Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron, though Cleveland should continue adding offensive pieces through free agency and the draft.
With 4.34 40-yard speed and lightning-quick change of direction, Hawkins has always possessed playmaking ability, but he rarely saw enough opportunities in Cincinnati to show off his skills. He missed the first eight games of 2013 with an ankle injury and saw only 25 percent of the team’s snaps once he returned. He ended up with 12 receptions for 199 yards and zero touchdowns.
He also missed two games to injury in 2012, but he still enjoyed the best season of his career, logging 58 percent of the snaps en route to 51 receptions for 533 yards and four touchdowns. That year, he had a six-game stretch of 25 receptions, 329 yards, and two touchdowns, so he’s capable of putting up decent numbers.
Part of his allure is in his ridiculous yards-after-catch ability. In 2012, 350 of Hawkins 533 receiving yards came after the catch. That means 66 percent of his yardage came after he got his hands on the ball. Not surprisingly, Hawkins had the fourth-lowest average depth of target that year among qualified receivers. If the Browns need someone who can work underneath while Gordon works over the top, they’ve found their man.
At 28 years old, there’s still some breakout potential if he can stay healthy. Right now, Hawkins has the look of a WR 4/5 with upside, assuming he sees increased opportunities and Cleveland gets improved play from the quarterback position.
The Bengals played most of 2013 without Hawkins, so his loss shouldn’t impact their offense much. They still have A.J. Green, Marvin Jones, and Mohamed Sanu at wide receiver, plus they’ll continue to run two-tight-end sets with Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert. The most interesting change may come as new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson is expected to install a more run-oriented offense than was employed by the outgoing Jay Gruden.
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Johnny B. Davis is a staff writer for PFF Fantasy. He likes to root out raw, young dynasty talent and spread the gospel of IDP. Follow Johnny on Twitter @JohnnyBDavis