If you thought the injury bug that hit the Browns was terrible before, think again.
On Wednesday, the Browns announced that receiver and kick returner Jakeem Grant tore his Achilles and would miss this season.
It’s a tough loss for the Browns at a position already highlighted as a weakness.
While Amari Cooper will lineup as WR1, he’s had his own ankle problems so far in training camp.
And David Bell, the team’s rookie receiver, missed the first handful of training camps while dealing with a foot injury.
While Grant might not have been a significant contributor, he has three kick return touchdowns over the last two seasons and would have provided some much-needed depth at the position.
Here are two players Cleveland might want to look at to replace Grant:
1. Will Fuller
Admittedly, a move for Fuller would be more than just a “depth signing.”
While he’s never put up a 1,000-yard season, Fuller is just one NFL campaign removed from a solid 879-yard outing in 2020.
He also went for a career-high eight touchdowns that season.
Fuller spent the first five seasons of his career with the Houston Texans, paired with Deshaun Watson.
When Watson came to Cleveland, it was almost penciled in that the free agent Fuller would also make the trek to Lake Eerie.
#Browns returner WR Jakeem Grant been down for several mins after getting tangled up in a 1 on 1 drill pic.twitter.com/pzHxoTbfUv
— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) August 9, 2022
But the Browns might have some weariness about bringing in Fuller after a disappointing 2021-22.
Injuries plagued Fuller, limiting him to just two games of action with the Miami Dolphins.
Nonetheless, Fuller is a near-lock for 500 yards or more per season.
The only season he didn’t make the half-millennium mark was 2017 when he notched 423 yards.
Fuller’s catch percentage also blossomed before last season.
Between 2018-2020, Fuller caught 70% of his passes sent his way, a monster figure showing his ability to be a ball magnet.
And Fuller also brings some experience as a kick returner, though he’s far from the specialist that Grant is.
Ultimately, if the Browns are weary about keeping their receivers healthy, Fuller might not be the option, given his questionable medical history.
But Fuller would certainly bring an added dimension to Cleveland’s offense, likely competing for the second or third receiver spot.
2. DeDe Westbrook
In DeDe Westbrook, the Browns should know what they’re getting.
He isn’t the Will Fuller/Cole Beasley/Odell Beckham, Jr. receiver that will come in and potentially make the starting roster.
Rather, Westbrook is a respectable signing and additional body to throw on the field if (and when) the Browns need it.
A five-year vet, Westbrook had a productive first three seasons in Jacksonville.
He tallied nine scores and over 1,700 yards over those three seasons.
Browns WR/KR Jakeem Grant (Achilles) likely out for the season. (via @RapSheet) pic.twitter.com/qB2gUXmtYL
— NFL (@NFL) August 10, 2022
But since then, Westbrook has struggled to put it all together.
Last season, playing behind Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen in Minnesota, Westbrook struggled to get the same number of looks as in Jacksonville.
Nonetheless, he still managed three touchdowns in 15 games.
Westbrook has experience playing behind other, more established starters, which is precisely the situation he would enter in Cleveland.
Leave a Reply