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Report: Bengals Not Likely To Match Browns' Offer For Wide Receiver Andrew Hawkins

The interesting saga surrounding bitter AFC North rivals and wide receiver Andrew Hawkins continues with a recent ESPN report that the Bengals will not match a signed offer sheet.

John Grieshop

It's always interesting when embittered professional sports rivals square off in mind games. A major example of this has taken place in the NFL's free agency period this year with the apparent arms race that has ensued between the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots. Another interesting game of chess is occurring in the AFC North between the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns.

To recap the situation around Bengals wide receiver Andrew Hawkins would be a bit confusing, but I'll still attempt to do so. There was a report on the first day of free agency that the Browns signed Hawkins to an offer sheet as he was tendered at the lowest restricted free agent level. Early reports had the contract as a four-year deal for up to $13 million where Hawkins would be making just under $2 million in the first season and just north of it in the second.

Though the contract was seen as a bit high for a guy with limited production, it was then reported that the team was probably going to match. Here is where things get weird though: Geoff Hobson joined us on Who-Dey Weekly on Wednesday and said that the Bengals hadn't received the offer sheet. Finally, on Thursday, it was reported that the Browns altered the offer sheet where over $10 million of the $13.1 million total are in the first two years. With roughly a $5 million cap hit in 2014, it makes it tough to rationalize paying that much to a receiver who would likely fall on the lower end of the Bengals' receiving totem pole.

Now, according to a report by Coley Harvey and Pat McManamon of ESPN, a source of theirs claim that the Bengals will not match the offer sheet. While that seems like a distinct possibility, it is safe to say that many could be hesitant to fully buy into it because of the many twists and turns that this whole scenario has endured. This whole saga will likely play out to the final day that the Bengals have to match the offer.