The Browns are making a "strong push" to sign New England Patriots free-agent wide receiver Julian Edelman, Michael Giardi of CSNNE.com reported today.
The Browns need to add a couple of receivers – a No. 2 and a slot – to the mix with All-Pro Josh Gordon. They could address the position during May's draft, but they're obviously looking at free agents, too. The organization agreed to an offer sheet with restricted free-agent slot receiver Andrew Hawkins Tuesday, but the Cincinnati Bengals reportedly plan to match the offer.
Edelman, who played quarterback for Kent State University, would certainly fill the void in the slot created by the departure of Davone Bess, whose off-field issues led to the Browns cutting him last week. Edelman also returns punts, something Bess did last year for the Browns along with Travis Benjamin, who suffered a season-ending torn anterior cruciate in his right knee Oct. 27.
Last season, Edelman became the go-to target of quarterback Tom Brady and led the Patriots with 105 catches for 1,056 yards and six touchdowns. Brady even nicknamed the 5-foot-10, 198-pound Edelman "Minitron."
Edelman's previous season-best in catches was 37 as a rookie in 2009, when the Patriots drafted him in the seventh round (No. 232 overall).
Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer spent three seasons with the Patriots and Edelman. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported that Hoyer has been trying to recruit Edelman to Cleveland.