Cleveland Browns: How to replace Travis Benjamin?
By Thomas Moore
One of the reasons the San Diego Chargers moved so quickly to strike a deal with Travis Benjamin was because the free agent market for wide receivers is incredibly thin this year.
Now with Benjamin, Marvin Jones, Rishard Matthews, Mohamed Sanu and Jermaine Kearse off the market, the pickings are even slimmer.
Among the top names still available are James Jones, Rueben Randle, Nate Washington and Mike Wallace.
Related: 10 options to replace Mitchell Schwartz
As one would expect, none of those players is a long-term option at wide receiver and each carries their own set of baggage.
Here is what Pro Football Focus has to say about Jones:
"The top five receivers are all players who entered the league in 2012 and can sign long-term contracts. If a team wants more of a short-term fix with less upside (but less bust potential), James Jones is their best option. His 17.8 yards-per-catch were the best for receivers with at least 35 catches. While he was invisible in some games, in others (with the right cornerback matchup) he was capable of huge showings. For most of his career, Jones has benefited from having Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, but even in 2014 in Oakland, Jones was still an average receiver."
"Most receivers on this list helped their stock in 2015, but Randle was an exception to that rule. After three straight years of increasing playing time and improved production, Randle saw plenty of playing time in 2015 with not enough production. He had just 1.31 yards-per-route-run, which was sixth-worst for those with at least 500 routes. This was due to a lack of big plays in 2015. In 2014, he forced 13 players to miss tackles on him, which was 10th-best among receivers. If he can return to his 2014 form, he would be a solid second receiver."
"The top seven wide receivers on this list are all outside players with little to no experience in the slot. At his best, Washington is a dependable receiver who is capable of moving the chains. He’s been penalized just three times over the last five years, and during the majority of seasons, he’s an above average run-blocker. At his age (32), there probably isn’t much left in the tank, but he can still be part of a wide receiver rotation."
Here is what Bleacher Report has to say about Wallace:
"Mike Wallace re-entered free agency as a cap casualty for the Minnesota Vikings. He was cut just one season into his Vikings tenure because of his diminishing physical skills. He had just 39 receptions, 473 yards and two touchdowns in 2015. His ability to create big plays has been practically absent the last few seasons, and he hasn’t been a major deep threat since 2011."
Maybe those internal options are not such a bad idea for the Browns after all.
Next: Draft Options