BEREA, Ohio — Even after an offseason in which they acquired 4-time Pro Bowl selection Amari Cooper, one could argue that wide receiver remained a position of need for the Cleveland Browns. And that was before 2022 third-round pick David Bell landed on the Physically Unable to Perform list with a foot injury and Anthony Schwartz suffered an apparent knee injury in Thursday's practice.
Suffice to say, when it comes to unproven positions on the Browns' roster, wide receiver stands out. With that in mind, here are five wideouts that Cleveland could look to acquire, via free agency or trade.
Darius Slayton, New York Giants
When it comes to wide receivers who might be available via trade, Darius Slayton stands out. Entering training camp, the fourth-year pro is a member of a crowded New York Giants wide receivers room and appears to be the odd man out.
After catching at least 48 passes for 740 or more yards in each of his first two seasons, the Auburn product saw his production (26 catches, 339 yards and two touchdowns) slip in 2021. Still just 25 years old and with one year remaining on his rookie contract -- and having run a 4.39 40-yard dash coming out of college -- Slayton is the type of low-risk, high-reward player that Cleveland would likely be targeting at this point in the offseason.
Will Fuller V, free agent
After Julio Jones signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers earlier this week, Will Fuller V is arguably the top wide receiver remaining on the free agent market. While he only appeared in two games during an injury-plagued 2021 season with the Miami Dolphins, the 2016 first-round pick has been one of the NFL's most viable deep threats since first entering the league.
The Browns have been linked to Fuller since acquiring his former quarterback, Deshaun Watson, in a blockbuster trade earlier this offseason. It's notable that four months later, Fuller remains un-signed, but until the Notre Dame product as a new team, expect his name to continue to come up in conversations.
T.Y. Hilton, free agent
Following 10 largely productive seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, T.Y. Hilton remains unsigned. While he recorded career lows in catches (23), yards (331) and touchdowns (3) in 2021, the four-time Pro Bowl selection's experience -- and speed -- could both be welcome additions to Cleveland's wide receiving corps.
At this point in the offseason, the market appears to be slim for the 32-year-old, who has largely only been linked to his former team. Still, he may be worth a low-risk flier, especially considering the current state of the Browns' wide receivers.
Dede Westbrook, free agent
While his production has been limited in each of the past two seasons, Dede Westbrook has the type of athletic profile that could appeal to Cleveland. Listed at 6-foot, the 2016 Biletnikoff Award winner ran a 4.39 40-yard dash coming out of Oklahoma.
While he was primarily used as a kick returner with the Minnesota Vikings in 2021, Westbrook has experience as a slot receiver and caught at least 60 passes for at least 660 yards in 2018 and 2019 with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Considering he's still just 28 years old, it's not crazy to think that the 2017 fourth-round pick still has productive football ahead of him.
Odell Beckham Jr., free agent
To say that the end of Odell Beckham Jr.'s first stint in Cleveland was messy would be an understatement. After all, it was only after Beckham's father, Odell Beckham Sr., posted an 11-minute Instagram video showing Baker Mayfield missing his son on various throws that the Browns agreed to release the 3-time Pro Bowl receiver, who went on to win a Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams.
But with Mayfield no longer in Cleveland, the idea of a Beckham return doesn't seem as crazy as it would have six months ago and was something that was even speculated about after the Browns acquired Watson. The only issue -- it's still too early to know when the LSU product will be available, as he recovers from a torn ACL that he suffered in the Rams' Super Bowl win.