Cleveland Browns: Marqise Lee an option in free agency?
By Randy Gurzi
The Cleveland Browns have plenty of needs and a lot of cap room to fill those those needs. Could that lead them to targeting wide receiver Marqise Lee?
So much of the offseason is going to go through the Cleveland Browns whether we like it or not. They own 12 picks in the 2018 NFL Draft, including the No. 1 and No. 4 choices. On top of that, they have more cap space than any other franchise, and a new general manager looking to make a name for himself.
That combination could lead to them being serious players in free agency despite their 0-16 record in 2017. While a lot of the focus has been on quarterbacks like Kirk Cousins and A.J. McCarron, there are other players at different positions that can help the team get better.
One such guy could be Marqise Lee of the Jacksonville Jaguars. While Allen Robinson gets more attention, Lee was actually drafted ahead of Robinson as the Jags spent the No. 39 pick in 2014 on the USC star and then later took Robinson at No. 61.
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It’s easy to see why Lee took a back seat because Robinson became such a solid player, but Lee was no slouch during his four seasons for Jacksonville. He did have a slow start, but by 2016 he developed into a trusted receiver. Lee had 63 receptions for 851 yards and three touchdowns. He followed that up with 56 more catches in 2017 for 702 yards and three scores.
Lee hasn’t become the player many thought he could be when he left USC, but the 6-foot, 192-pound wide out has enough talent to keep defensive backs honest. He should also come in considerably cheaper than other options like Robinson.
The question is, should the Browns give him a call. It seems like it could be a good idea because as it stands now, Cleveland is trusting Josh Gordon to stay clean and Corey Coleman to stay healthy. Even if both those things work out, there’s nothing wrong with adding Lee to the mix.
Next: Can Tyrod Taylor be the bridge quarterback the Browns need?
If Cleveland could find moderately priced contract for Lee — which for a No. 2 wide out could be anywhere from $6-$8 million — they should surely pull the trigger.