Rumor: Browns interested in wide receiver Jermaine Kearse
By Thomas Moore
The Cleveland Browns may be looking for help at wide receiver and the team has been linked to Jermaine Kearse of the Seattle Seahawks.
The Cleveland Browns appear set at the top two wide receiver spots heading into the 2017 regular season with Corey Coleman and Kenny Britt.
But behind those two are a group of inexperienced receivers, including 2016 draft selections Ricardo Louis, Rashard Higgins and Jordan Payton, which makes it possible that the club is looking to add more experience to the group.
That is why it is not surprising that the Browns are being linked to Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, who is one of several wide receives that executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown is keeping his eye on, according to Mary Kay Cabot at cleveland.com.
Kearse is entering the second year of a three-year contract that could be worth up to $13.5 million if he makes it all the way through. He could be on his way out of Seattle, however, because the Seahawks have cheaper options on the roster, according to Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times:
"It has been thought all along unlikely Kearse would be back in 2018 when he has a $6.8 million salary cap hit which undoubtedly factors into any thoughts of trading him, with the team potentially trying to get value for a player who may not figure in its long-range plans."
"However, the fact that the team will have to take a $3.666 million salary cap hit on Kearse for this season — which it could split evenly over the 2017 and 2018 seasons, so meaning $1.8 million each year — and would save only $366,667 by releasing him has led to the idea that he would likely be with the team in 2017."
"But his contract coupled with less expensive receivers the team might like to keep around — as well as the probability that Kearse wouldn’t be with the team in 2018 regardless of what happens this season because of his salary cap hit — may have the team considering its options."
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There may be some merit to the Browns – who have more draft picks and cap space than they know what to do with – giving the Seahawks a call about Kearse.
He is still young enough at age 27 to fit into the rebuilding plan, and have big-game experience after appearing in five playoff games with the Seahawks.
His best year came in 2015 when he had 49 receptions for 685 yards and five touchdowns. Those numbers dropped last season, coincidentally after he signed his new contract, as he finished with 41 catches for 510 yards and just a lone touchdown.
Those are not necessarily great numbers, but Kearse would be coming in as the third wide receiver, or 2A with Britt if you prefer, so that level of production may be good enough for the Browns.
Kearse won’t be the only played linked to the Browns over the next 48 to 72 hours as teams across the league cut down their rosters to the league-mandated 53-player limit by 4 p.m. on Saturday.
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It just remains to be seen if any of those players evolve from rumors to reality.