CLEVELAND — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from Jan. 20, 2021.
Once thought to be one of the strengths of the team's roster, the Cleveland Browns enter the 2021 offseason with no shortage of uncertainty at the wide receiver position. With Odell Beckham Jr. remaining a constant in trade rumors as he continues to recover from a torn ACL and Rashard Higgins set to hit the free-agent market, it remains unclear who Baker Mayfield will be throwing to in the coming year.
Factor in Cleveland's need for speed and it seems likely the Browns will be active at wide receiver when free agency begins on March 15. As a result, let's take a look at some of the best potential targets at the position set to hit the free-agent market.
Will Fuller V (Houston Texans)
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski expressed the need for his team's offense to be more explosive. If Cleveland is going to do that, it would be hard-pressed to find a better free-agent wide receiver to sign than Will Fuller V, who has been one of the league's most dynamic speedsters since being selected in the first-round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Prior to being suspended for the final five games of the 2020 season due to a violation of the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy, the Notre Dame product had turned in a career year, catching 53 passes for 879 yards and eight touchdowns. While he'll likely wind up out of the Browns' price range -- Pro Football Focus projects the 26-year-old Fuller to receive a five-year, $87.5 million deal -- Beckham's uncertain future in Cleveland could create unexpected flexibility for the team's front office.
Curtis Samuel (Carolina Panthers)
With D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson already under contract, Curtis Samuel could be the odd man out in Carolina. And while he may not have the same track record as Fuller, the former Ohio State standout could prove to be a younger, less expensive alternative.
With the ability to play outside, in the slot and even at running back, Samuel could provide Cleveland's offense with some newfound flexibility. Should the Browns let Higgins walk, the 24-year-old could prove to be not just a suitable replacement, but an overall upgrade.
Marvin Jones Jr. (Detroit Lions)
Of the former Detroit Lions wide receivers on the market this offseason, Kenny Golladay will command more attention -- and money -- but for Cleveland, Marvin Jones Jr. is the more realistic target. While the 30-year-old may be older than the players the Browns typically target, his downfield speed would add a much-needed dimension to Cleveland's offense.
In 16 games last season, Jones totaled 76 receptions for 978 yards and nine touchdowns. A short-term, front-loaded contract could make sense for the Browns depending on how the rest of the wide receiver market shakes out.
Nelson Agholor (Las Vegas Raiders)
After previously serving as a slot receiver in Philadelphia, Nelson Agholor thrived as a downfield threat for the Las Vegas Raiders last season. In 16 games, the USC product tallied 48 receptions for 896 yards and eight touchdowns, good for a career-high 18.7 yards per catch.
Consistency has always been an issue for Agholor, who lays claim to a career catch rate of 59.6 percent. That could, however, make him more affordable for Cleveland, where his versatility would make for a nice addition.
Breshad Perriman (New York Jets)
Breshad Perriman is no stranger to the Browns, having served as one of Mayfield's favorite targets during the 2018 season. While his production since leaving Cleveland leaves something to be desired, the return of his to the Browns offense would be welcomed and likely wouldn't come at a high price.
Other free agent wide receivers:
- Chris Godwin (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
- Allen Robinson II (Chicago Bears)
- Kenny Golladay (Detroit Lions)
- JuJu Smith-Schuster (Pittsburgh Steelers)
- Corey Davis (Tennesee Titans)
- Antonio Brown (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
- T.Y. Hilton (Indianapolis Colts)
- Sammy Watkins (Kansas City Chiefs)
- Keelan Cole (Jacksonville Jaguars)