The NFL is no stranger to games, but in the case of Andrew Hawkins, one of the more interesting contests of the offseason is being played out against inter-divisional rivals. After an ill-conceived low tender on the diminutive slot receiver, the Bengals original plan was to let the market dictate Hawkins’ price tag. With the door left open, the Browns engaged a dastardly opportunistic squeeze-play.
Initial reports were that the Browns had offered the undrafted wideout from Toledo $12.2M, which resulted in a mildly stressful 24-hours for the fan base before word came that the Bengals would match. Here is where things got interesting.
The Browns delayed sending the offer sheet to the Bengals organization for almost a day. When it arrived, the numbers were closer to $13.6M with a large chunk frontloaded, approximately $10.8M over the first two years with a $3.8M signing bonus according to Browns beat writer Mary Kay Cabot. Branson Wright of the Cleveland Plain Dealer further reports that $5.3M is guaranteed money.
While there is still minor discrepancies within the media on the complete details of the offer, most have agreed that the Cincinnati will not match. Still, the organization’s lead editor Geoff Hobson has maintained (albeit quietly) that the Bengals are still mulling over matching the offer sheet. They have four days to decide.