Cecil Shorts: Browns Free Agency Profile


The Cleveland Browns season is over. We will spend a good amount of time reviewing the season but we will spend even more time preparing for the off-season. Browns free agency seems destined to be an interesting one. The Browns spent a little bit of money last year with anticipating of building through the draft for long term success. The 2014 was expected to be another down year with high expectations towards the future. Instead the 2014 started off strong and ended with a thud.

Now the Browns are full of salary cap space, even though they have a few free agents of their own they might like to sign, as well as 10 picks in the NFL Draft, including two 1st rounders. It is likely that GM Ray Farmer and Head Coach Mike Pettine see a greater need for more veteran talent on a very young roster and we expect them to be aggressive in seeking to bring in that talent during Browns free agency.

In preparation for such we will be taking a look at certain players that we think the Browns could target. Keep in mind we are not saying that these are players they are targeting, although some rumors may start to leak of the Browns having interest in them, instead these are players that we think the Browns could or should have interest in. Our profile will try to include as much information as possible to prepare you for free agency.

Every Free Agent Profile Done Can Be Found Here: 2015 Browns Free Agency Profile List


Cecil Shorts





2014 Team

Jacksonville Jaguars


13 Games, 53 REC, 557 YDS, 1 TD

PFF Grade/Rank: (Link)

Grade: -8.2. Rank: 45th

2014 Free Agent Signing Comparison Contract

Kenny Britt (1 year. $1.4 million with St. Louis)

(Editor’s Note: Britt is an interesting comparison contract. Britt’s off the field issues really hurt his value. There will be a ton of value to go around so Shorts will likely see far more, at least it will look like more, but his value dropped this year for sure.)

Fit with the Browns

The Browns WILL need some fresh bodies at wide out, mainly due to the uncertainty of Josh Gordon‘s future.  Additionally, Miles Austin is a free agent, and while it’s unknown whether the team intends to try to bring him back, his injury history (even with this year’s freak kidney injury notwithstanding) should also serve as caution the Browns. Building solid depth will be important, especially before seeing how the draft shapes up. While Shorts would not be a replacement for Gordon, he has good hands and some big play ability. The Browns coaching staff has proven an ability to maximize the production from an unheralded cast of smaller receivers, like Andrew Hawkins and Taylor Gabriel, or those thought to be past their prime due to injuries, such as Austin. Shorts has proven his ability to be a number one receiver the past couple of seasons (albeit on a team that has struggled even more than the Browns for several years) and he has led Jacksonville in receiving yard for the past 3 seasons, despite missing a few games with injury.

Also, there is the “hometown” factor. Shorts is a Cleveland native and graduate of Collinwood High. While this obviously shouldn’t be a main factor in deciding whether to pursue him, Shorts could be inspired by fellow Clevelander Donte Whitner‘s return home and motivation to help lead the team to prominence.

The bottom line-Shorts is a player in his prime who would come at a very manageable cost. While the uncertainty of the quarterback situation may make him hesitate to sign with the team, the Browns are arguably trending upward more than Jacksonville, and Kyle Shanahan’s offensive system should be appealing due to the success of other receivers last year .

Browns Player Signing Could Impact

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Travis Benjamin. While Benjamin showed in improvement as a receiver earlier in 2014, he suffered from some drops later in the year and his production dropped off significantly (although in fairness it should be noted that the offense as a whole stalled). His main problem though, how he struggled all year as a returner. If the coaching staff and front office isn’t convinced that he can contribute in that capacity, his value to the team would be greatly minimized. With Shorts, Hawkins and Gabriel, the Browns would posses a fairly strong receiver corps at the 2-4 positions, putting Benjamin in a spot where he would be fighting for a roster spot. If Austin returns, Benjamin would be pushed even farther down the pecking order.

How Signing Could Impact the NFL Draft

Mostly minimal, at least in the early rounds. As mentioned above, Shorts would not likely be seen as a replacement for Josh Gordon, and it’s still likely that the Browns will seek a true number one receiver in the first or second round. However, the need to add receivers later in the draft would be minimized.


Medium- Again, what the Browns need the most in offensive skill players (outside of an answer at quarterback) is a big, fast number one wide out. Shorts likely would not be the answer to that. However, he would prove to be a solid addition to the offense.

What do you think about targeting Cecil Shorts in Browns Free Agency?

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