Cleveland Browns: Is Mohamed Sanu a good fit?
By Thomas Moore
The Cleveland Browns have been linked to Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Mohamed Sanu. But is the free agent slot receiver a good fit for the team?
The Cleveland Browns will be looking to upgrade their offense this offseason in an attempt to bolster an attack that was just 30th in scoring in 2015.
Wide receiver is one position that could use an infusion of talent as, after Travis Benjamin, there was a large drop off in production due to injuries and declining skills.
With money to spend the Browns have the means to take a look at wide receivers when free agency begins on March 9, and one of those targets may reportedly be Mohamed Sanu of the Cincinnati Bengals.
According to Alex Marvez at FoxSports.com, there is “virtually no chance” that Sanu will return to the Bengals as he wants the opportunity to find a more prominent role than the one he had with the Bengals in 2015.
“I think about that all the time,” Sanu said. “When you’ve got so much talent on one team, it’s hard to get the ball. It definitely crossed my mind going elsewhere. We’ve just got to see how everything unfolds.”
It is natural to think that the Browns may have interest in Sanu as head coach Hue Jackson spent the past two seasons as the Bengals offensive coordinator, meaning he should have a good idea of how Sanu can fit into an offense.
But does that mean the Browns should look to bring Sanu up I-71 to Cleveland?
More from Dawg Pound Daily
- How the Browns could maximize Nick Chubb in 2023
- Can Deshaun Watson get to Patrick Mahomes level for Cleveland Browns?
- 3 Cleveland Browns who should see an expanded role in 2023 and 1 who should not
- Is Marcus Davenport on the Browns radar in 2023?
- 5 Free agents from Super Bowl LVII Cleveland Browns should target
The fourth-year receiver showed a nice progression during his first three years with the Bengals, increasing his catches from 16 as a rookie to 56 in 2014, and his yards per catch from 9.6 to 14.1 in the same time period. Those numbers dropped this past season as A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert returned from injuries, cutting Sanu’s targets almost in half from a career-high 98 in 2014 down to just 49.
Sanu would also add some versatility to the Browns’ attack as, in addition to his 11 receiving touchdowns, he has rushed for two touchdowns and passed for another two. Having a nose for the end zone is something that associate coach of offense Pep Hamilton said the team is looking for.
“Ultimately, we just want guys that can score touchdowns,” Hamilton said this week. “If you look at just some of the defensive trends over the past few years, teams are starting to play a lot more man coverage. Having guys that are elusive, quick, fast, regardless of their size, that can create separation and can score the ball is what’s most important for us in this offense.”
So what’s not to like?
As Stripe Hype points out, while Sanu may believe he is ready to be a team’s top target, the reality is he may be better suited for the role the Bengals had him in as a third option:
"Mohamed Sanu has been a great gadget player for the Bengals, posing as a receiving, rushing and passing threat. With 15 career touchdowns (two passing, two rushing and 11 receiving), Sanu has done everything–including throwing a touchdown pass to his quarterback. Sanu is clearly best suited as the Bengals’ third receiver. While he excelled in spurts as the primary green in A.J. Green‘s late 2014 absence, Sanu has never really shown enough promise to trust as one of the team’s top targets."
"Cincinnati has leverage in negotiations and likely won’t throw a ton of money Sanu’s way. While he’s valuable as a gadget player, he hasn’t overly impressed as a receiver. And considering his zero touchdown receptions in 2015, other teams may not throw a lot of money at Sanu, either."
Like with virtually every player, the decision on Sanu will come down to money. The free agent market for wide receivers is expected to be thin this year, so if a team is willing to pay Sanu as a No. 1 wide receiver, it’s hard to see the Browns pursuing him.
But if he is open to a more reasonable deal – one comparable could be the four-year, $14.8 million extension that Jarius Wright signed with the Minnesota Vikings – then the Browns might be in the discussion.