Browns Named Top Destination For 2 Big-Name Free Agent Wide Receivers

Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns

Getty Quarterback Deshaun Watson #4 of the Houston Texans walks off the field after a 37-31 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals at NRG Stadium on December 27, 2020 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

The Cleveland Browns selected two wide receivers during the 2022 NFL Draft but now that all the picks are in, the team remains on the hunt for a No. 2 pass catcher to pair with Amari Cooper.

Cleveland has been linked to a reunion with Jarvis Landry, who the Browns cut two days prior to the start of free agency, though working out the money could prove an issue.

Erin Walsh of Bleacher Report suggested another reunion, one that has also gotten some press in recent weeks, with former Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham. After forcing his way out of Cleveland midway through last season, Beckham became a productive member of the eventual Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams. He scored a touchdown in the championship game before tearing his ACL during the second quarter, an injury likely to keep him sidelined until mid-2022.

Beyond a landing spot for Beckham, Walsh also mentioned that Cleveland could be a destination for former Atlanta Falcons All-Pro Julio Jones. Also hampered by injuries in recent years, Jones has appeared in only 19 of a possible 33 regular season games over the last two seasons, posting career lows in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns during a one-year stint with the Tennessee Titans in 2021.

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Mayfield’s Likely Exit Makes Browns More Attractive Landing Spot

Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns

GettyWR Odell Beckham Jr., formerly of the Cleveland Browns, celebrates with WR Jarvis Landry after Landry caught a seven-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter of a game against the Miami Dolphins at FirstEnergy Stadium on November 24, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

A reunion with either Beckham or Landry would have been hard to feature were it not for the move the Browns made in mid-March to trade for embattled Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Beckham’s issues with four-year starter Baker Mayfield exasperated his frustrations with the team and was regarded as a primary reason for Beckham’s mid-season exit. Landry, too, expressed frustrations with Mayfield and the offense throughout the year. The QB remains with the team for now, though Cleveland is actively shopping Mayfield via the trade market.

Considering all the factors impacting what the Browns are doing under center and at the wide receiver position, Walsh laid out her argument for Jones or Beckham potentially landing with the team in 2022, though she suggested that Jones is the better bet.

The Browns could also use an elite receiver for quarterback Deshaun Watson, whom they acquired from the Houston Texans this offseason. Jarvis Landry is gone, and Beckham likely won’t be headed to Cleveland, so it’s possible the franchise could target Jones.

The Browns currently have Amari Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Rashard Higgins, Anthony Schwartz and Jakeem Grant as their top receivers, but could use some depth at the position following the departures of Landry and Beckham over the last year.

Cleveland did select David Bell out of Purdue with the 99th overall pick in the draft, but he likely won’t step into the lineup immediately.

Browns Select Two Wide Receivers in 2022 NFL Draft

Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns

GettyQuarterback Deshaun Watson of the Cleveland Browns is introduced by general manager Andrew Berry (left) and head coach Kevin Stefanski (right) during a press conference at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus on March 25, 2022 in Berea, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images)

For now, it appears Watson’s top targets will be Cooper, who came over from the Dallas Cowboys via a trade in March, and tight end David Njoku. However, the team also added a couple of names to the wide receiver depth chart via this year’s draft.

As Walsh noted above, Bell came first to Cleveland in the third round, with Yahoo Sports contending that he has a shot at the No. 2 wide receiver job depending on trades and free agent signings the Browns pursue at the position moving forward.

Cleveland also selected Michael Woods of Oklahoma in the sixth round (No. 202 overall). ESPN draft analysis indicated that Woods’ top skill is running deep routes, adding that “he doesn’t have elite top-end speed, but he tracks the deep ball well and has the length to compete for 50-50 balls.”

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