The Cleveland Browns are in desperate need of wide receivers. Mario Manningham just finished making the play of his career in Super Bowl XLVI, part of the New York Giants‘ championship-winning drive.
It seems like a match made in heaven, but with his performance throughout the playoffs, Manningham, a free agent, is likely to command big money on the open market in 2012.
Without taking his Super Bowl performance into consideration, Manningham was the third receiving option in the Giants offense. He finished the 2011 season with 39 catches for 523 yards and four touchdowns in 12 games. Underwhelming numbers, yes, but Manningham has had solid seasons in the NFL:
- 2010: 60 catches for 944 yards and nine touchdowns
- 2009: 57 catches for 822 yards and five touchdowns
Those are certainly better numbers, but Manningham is also listed at 6-0, 185 pounds, which doesn’t make him much of a physical threat. Yes, the Browns are in need of wide receivers, but the one thing they have plenty of are undersized pass-catchers that top out somewhere between being a No. 2 or a No. 3.
Look at Greg Little. As a rookie, he caught 61 passes for 709 yards in an anemic offense. Listed at 6-2, 220 pounds, Little is a much more physical threat in the passing game and will likely develop into a dependable No.2 option. Mohamed Massaqoui is 6-2, 207 pounds and Josh Cribbs is 6-1, 215 pounds. The Browns don’t need another receiver hovering around six feet in height.
Because of his production in the playoffs and the Super Bowl, Manningham is going to earn money that is likely out of his talent range. Other teams will be willing to overpay for his services, but the Browns need to be careful with their cap space, despite having plenty of it.
What they really need is a receiver who can stretch the field, that much is obvious. That’s not to say the Browns shouldn’t look to sign a veteran receiver through free agency, because they should, but it has to come at the right price.
Manningham’s an Ohio guy, but he’s just not the right fit for the Browns.