The Browns may have taken their first real step in adding an option to compensate for their lack of depth at wide receiver. Jake Jones of KFBB in Helena, Montana is reporting that the Browns have signed former Bears wide reciever Earl Bennett.
#Browns sign Earl Bennett, formerly of Chicago. Not a game changer, but solid guy nonetheless.
— Jake Jones (@JakeJonesKFBB) May 15, 2014
The 27-year-old Bennett caught 32 passes for 243 yards and four touchdowns last season, his sixth with the Bears after being selected in the 3rd round in 2008. The 6-foot wideout was on the field for just under 54% of the team’s snaps last season, but he was primarily used as an underneath option, with 26 of his 32 receptions coming from passes shorter than 10 yards. The Bears cut their third receiver after he refused to take a pay cut on March 18th.
With Josh Gordon facing a potential year-long suspension, the Browns have free agent signees Andrew Hawkins and Nate Burleson (who broke his arm in training camp) along with incumbents Greg Little, Josh Cooper, Travis Benjamin, Tori Gurley, and Charles Johnson. They also signed undrafted free agents Chandler Jones, Jonathan Krause, Kenny Shaw, and Willie Snead following last weekend’s draft.
The Browns weren’t going to replace the threat that is Josh Gordon, though a second or third round selection at the position could have provided a player that would likely make an immediate impact and ease the blow. As it stands, the Browns will likely need to continue to puruse trade options or more cap casulaties to add another veteran option. Right now, they have a bunch of capable third and fourth receivers without any proven legit first or second options.