Browns Logical Landing Spot for $43 Million WR With 31 Career TDs

The Cleveland Browns recently traded for a wide receiver and have added one in each of the past three NFL drafts, but the time may have come for the franchise to try its hand in free agency.

Market For WR Tyler Boyd Expected To Heat Up After Draft | Yardbarker

David Kenyon of Bleacher Report on Sunday, April 28, listed Cincinnati Bengals wideout Tyler Boyd as among the “10 best NFL free agents” still unsigned as of the conclusion of this weekend’s draft.

If the Cincinnati Bengals had unlimited financial resources, they probably wouldn’t want Tyler Boyd to leave. However, the 29-year-old receiver may be eyeing one final long-term contract, and the Bengals have less than $14 million in available cap space.

While Boyd’s production has dipped in recent years, that’s largely because he’s splitting targets with Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins. Boyd’s catch rate has remained near 70 percent in every season since 2020. Any legitimate playoff hopeful with a bit of cap space — and one that didn’t use an early-round pick on a wideout — should be calling Boyd.

Kenyon mentioned the Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles as his top two landing spots for Boyd, however Cleveland makes sense as well at the right price.

Tyler Boyd Has Proven Solid Option for Bengals Over 8-Year NFL Career

Former Cincinnati Bengals WR Tyler Boyd could be an option for the Dallas Cowboys

GettyFormer Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd remains a free agent following the 2024 NFL draft.

The Browns aren’t in any better shape than are the Bengals when it comes to the 2024 salary cap, with approximately $13.6 million in space as of Sunday, according to Over The Cap.

But Cleveland is all in on its current team, which could mean the Browns front office is more willing to engage in an exercise in cap gymnastics to make a deal for a player like Boyd than a franchise such as the Bengals. Cincinnati also wants to win now, but with quarterback Joe Burrow locked up through 2029 and a long-term extension likely on the way for Chase, its winning window figures to be open longer than the current one in Cleveland.

Boyd, who will turn 30 years old in the middle of the upcoming season, played a solid third fiddle for the Bengals over his most recent four-year contract in Cincinnati, which paid him $43 million in total. He caught 271 passes (67.75 per season average) for 3,098 receiving yards (774.5 per season average) and 16 TDs (4 per season average), according to Pro Football Focus.

Spotrac projects his current market value at just shy of $16 million over a new two-year deal (approximately $8 million annually).

Tyler Boyd Would Play Similar Role for Browns Behind Amari Cooper, Jerry Jeudy as He Did for Bengals

New Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jerry Jeudy clapped back at his critics.

GettyCleveland Browns wide receiver Jerry Jeudy.

The Browns already made a splash move this offseason by trading the Denver Broncos a fourth-round pick and a sixth-rounder, both in 2024, for receiver Jerry Jeudy. Cleveland then extended him to a three-year deal that pays the wideout $52.5 million and keeps him under contract through the 2027 campaign.

The investment was a considerable one on Cleveland’s part, particularly given the fact that current No. 1 receiver and Pro Bowler Amari Cooper is heading into the final year of his deal and will carry a cap hit of nearly $24 million this season. Cooper is a good candidate for an extension this offseason, which would bring down his cap hit in 2024, though injuries at the end of each of the last two campaigns make such a call more precarious.

It is unclear if Jeudy can be a true No. 1 after four mediocre years in the AFC West Division. As such, Boyd could be a valuable addition for Browns this season, playing a similar role to the one he occupied behind Chase and Higgins in Cincinnati for the past three years. He could also potentially step into a bigger role if Cooper departs following 2024.

The Browns did some hedging for the future at the position over draft weekend, selecting receiver Jamari Thrash out of Louisville with the No. 156 overall pick in the fifth round on Saturday.

“In his lone season at Louisville, Thrash’s 858 receiving yards led the team and were fourth-most in the ACC, earning him Second Team All-ACC honors,” Daniel Oyefusi of ESPN wrote on April 27. “Thrash transferred from Georgia State, where he was also First Team All-Sun Belt in 2022.”

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