Cleveland Browns: Sterling Shepard is the most intriguing WR option

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 22: Sterling Shepard #87 of the New York Giants pulls in this reception against Robert Alford #23 of the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on October 22, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 22: Sterling Shepard #87 of the New York Giants pulls in this reception against Robert Alford #23 of the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on October 22, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Browns need help at the wide receiver position, and as the trade deadline nears, there is a growing list of intriguing options at the position.

One thing is certain after watching the Cleveland Browns the past couple of weeks: they need help at the wide receiver position.

When Rashard Higgins and Derrick Willies both went down with injuries in the same week, the position was put in a bad spot.

The group was not having a great season prior to their injuries, but the talent at the position diminished greatly when those two were forced out of the lineup.

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The Browns added Breshad Perriman to help shoulder some of the load at the position, but he only played 11 snaps against the Buccaneers, his first game on the active roster with Cleveland.

In order for the Browns to get the passing offense back on track, they are going to need a play-maker at wide receiver.

There are some wide receivers that are reportedly available via trade, such as Demaryius Thomas of the Broncos or DeVante Parker from the Dolphins. But the one wide receiver that is the most intriguing option for the Browns currently plays for New York Giants, and it is not Odell Beckham Jr.

Sterling Shepard is a young wide receiver that has showed promise in his three seasons in the NFL. Instead of trading for an older, expensive veteran like Thomas, or a young player that has not figured it out in the NFL like Parker, the Browns need a young player that has made plays on the field.

Shepard has proven that he can be a play-maker when he is on the field. He showed that on Monday against the Falcons, catching five passes for 167 yards. In seven games this season, Shepard has caught 36 passes for 508 yards and a touchdown this season.

The 24-year-old wide receiver has been targeted 51 times this season, and he has caught 70.6 percent of those targets. Compare that to Browns wide receiver Antonio Callaway, who has caught 38.1 percent of his 42 targets this season.

The Browns are not a veteran wide receiver away from contending the playoffs. Trading draft capital for someone like Thomas would not make sense. His production on the field has diminished, and he is owed $14 million next season. For the Browns, it would not fit their organizational plan to acquire Thomas.

Parker would fit the organizational plan of adding young players. He also would not be as expensive as Thomas. But Parker has been in the headlines for ripping Dolphins head coach Adam Gase. He has also struggled to stay on the field, and he has not produced like a first-round pick when he is available. He may not require a lot of assets to acquire him, but it would be a risk for the Browns to take on his personality.

The best option for the Browns would be Shepard. He is still young and on an affordable contract. He has experience playing with Baker Mayfield, as Shepard had the best season of his college career when Mayfield was under center.

It may be a surprise for the Giants to trade Shepard, as he is a young and talented play-maker that most teams would rather keep. But according to Jason La Canfora, the Giants could be on the verge of a fire sale before the trade deadline on October 30th.

Shepard’s contract expires after the 2019 season. With how much the Giants have struggled the past few seasons, it would make sense for them to consider receiving assets for Shepard instead of him walking after next season for nothing.

They also just gave Beckham Jr. a massive contract, and they may not want to invest too much money at the position. Shepard will be in line for a significant raise when his contract expires.

Shepard would fit exactly what the Browns need. He may not be a No. 1 receiver, but he is a good downfield threat and can be utilized in a variety of ways. The Browns have the cap space to offer him a contract that would interest him next season.

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Cleveland also has enough draft capital to make a reasonable offer to the Giants. So if the Browns want to add a receiver before the trade deadline next week, Shepard is the most intriguing option for them.