When the Cleveland Browns signed Andrew Hawkins to a restricted free agent offer sheet the immediate rumors were that the Bengals would not match. Due to the rules on Hawkins the Browns would not owe the Bengals any compensation in way of draft picks. Quickly after that the rumors have been that the Bengals will match the offer sheet and retain Hawkins. This makes sense based on Hawkins skill level but not based on how the Bengals have used him. Currently he would still sit 4th or 5th on their depth chart. Then this report just appeared on Twitter which could impact the Bengals decision:
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 13, 2014
So the Browns could make the Bengals decision difficult as a majority of the contract is up front. The Browns could still look to add another receiver, Julian Edelman could be a great fit with Hawkins, while waiting for the Bengals decision. The Bengals will most likely take the full 5 days and make the Browns sweat it out, and possibly wait to sign another player. Not a bad game of cat and mouse between two division rivals. The Bengals have to pay a bunch up front and a bigger cap hit while the Browns have to wait 5 days. Tough stuff on both sides.
Do you have high hopes for Hawkins on the Browns? Does the fact he was the team’s first offensive signing say something about how they want to use him? Do you think the Bengals should match? Will match?