The Cleveland Browns are staying true to form as the perceived "little brothers" in the Battle of Ohio and doing their best to sign Andrew Hawkins -- the Bengals third or fourth-best receiver -- to a deal that pays him like a No. 2 receiver for the first two years. Now, the Bengals appear unlikely to match their offer:
B/c of the structure of Andrew Hawkins' now-signed offer sheet with the Browns, I'm told the Bengals rethought things, now unlikely to match— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 13, 2014
The Cleveland Browns are clearly desperate to sign a wide receiver, and Andrew Hawkins appears to be right at the top of their list if they're offering this kind of contract to him:
#Bengals WR Andrew Hawkins signed his offer sheet with #Browns and wow. Big commitment. It pays him $10.8M over first 2 years. $13.6M over 4— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 13, 2014
#Browns made it hard on #Bengals for cap purposes. $3.8M roster bonus counts this year. In all, $5.8M cap hit for Hawkins Year 1. $5M Year 2— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 13, 2014
That contradicts what Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun reported earlier this week. He reported the deal was worth $12.2 million, but could reach $13.1 million if he claims $900,000 worth of escalators built into his deal. The signing bonus is worth $3 million.
His $1.8 million base salary in 2014 is guaranteed. The contract grows to $2.3 million in base salary in 2015 with $500,000 guaranteed if there's an injury.
If this "new" deal is the one that the Browns actually offered Hawkins, the Bengals may be having second thoughts about matching. As of now, they plan to once they receive the "real" contract.