The Cleveland Browns signed former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Austin Miles on May 15. The team also signed former Chicago Bears punt returner Earl Bennett.
The Cleveland Browns signed former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Austin Miles on May 15.
The Browns issued a press release on Miles' acquisition on their official website:
"The Cleveland Browns have agreed to terms with wide receiver Miles Austin.
"The longtime Dallas Cowboy led the NFC in receiving in 2009 with 1,320 yards and is a two-time Pro Bowler. Austin boasts 34 career touchdowns in eight career seasons.
"We speculated the Browns' interest in Austin earlier this week and wrote the following:
"How many times in sports do we see someone who we think is on the decline, only to see a a new city and jersey do wonders for the player?
"Austin became a victim of not getting the football enough in the Dez Bryant/Jason Witten-centered offense. His stats suffered. His mindset wandered. He might not be the Pro Bowler he was in 2009, but his career isn't over, either.
"Austin, 29, has plenty left to offer and could become a hefty asset to Cleveland's new-look offense. He joins Nate Burleson as the other new veteran to join the Browns' wide receiving corps.
"The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Monmouth alum had 49 catches for 244 yards in 2013."
In addition, the Browns also signed former Chicago Bears wide receiver Earl Bennett in anticipation of a possible year-long suspension for Josh Gordon, who failed a drug test, per Tom Reed of The Northeast Ohio Media Group.
"The Browns are saying nothing about the potenial one-year suspension of All-Pro receiver Josh Gordon for reportedly failing another drug test.
"The club's actions in the free-agent market seem telling, however.
"They announced the signings of veteran wideouts Miles Austin and Earl Bennett 30 minutes apart Thursday afternoon.
"While general manager Ray Farmer has refused to comment on Gordon's possible season-long ban -- as first reported by ESPN on Friday -- he's at the very least protecting himself by adding depth.
"The rookie GM provided no timetable Saturday on word regarding the the team's best offensive weapon. The Gordon matter remains in the hands of the NFL, whose officials are also not commenting.
The addition of two veteran receivers might suggest the Browns are bracing for bad news. They opted not to select a wideout in last week's draft, passing on chances to take Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans even though Farmer was aware of Gordon's latest off-field issue. Perhaps, the club already knew what direction it was charting."
Browns head coach Mike Pettine told Reed on May 12 working on the team's depth should help them contend next season.
"We're confident that we have a plan. The situation didn't call for panic. That's something that we weren't going to do. The league obviously prohibits me from speaking on that specifically but, just in general, I know that I agree with Ray 1,000 percent; we have to build this team so that no one player drives the ship.
"That we can be insulated losing players for extended periods of time potentially is part of the game.
"Successful franchises are the ones that have enough depth built and enough options to account for it -- coaching-wise, scheme-wise to account for it -- I think those are the ones that are successful."
ESPN's Pat McManamon also stresses Miles and Bennett signing with the Browns could very well mean they will be without Gordon for a lengthy period of time. With the two veteran wideouts on board, Greg Little might also be on his way out of Cleveland.
"Austin and Bennett joining the Browns may be a sign that the team plans to be without Gordon for the upcoming season. Gordon is facing a season-long suspension after another failed drug test months ago, this time for marijuana, sources told ESPN's 'Outside the Lines' this past Friday.
"If Gordon can somehow shorten the suspension, or even avoid it, the Browns should be well-stocked at receiver with the additions of Austin, Bennett, Andrew Hawkins and Nate Burleson this offseason.
"The moves might lead to the end of Greg Little's time in Cleveland, depending on Gordon's status."
The 29-year-old Austin is entering his ninth NFL season and has amassed 4,481 receiving yards and 34 touchdowns on 301 receptions -- all with the Cowboys -- per Pro-Football-Reference.com.
On the other hand, the 27-year-old Bennett has caught for 2,277 yards and 12 touchdowns on 185 recpetions in six seasons with the Bears, according to the same website.
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