According to a report by NFL.com, the Cleveland Browns will meet with free agent wide receiver Steve Breaston this Tuesday. The reason that Breaston falls under a different category than other soon-to-be free agent receivers, such as Mike Wallace and Greg Jennings, is because he was released from his contract by the Kansas City Chiefs last week. Therefore, he is open to anybody.
The article is unclear as to where Breaston will meet the Browns. If he comes to Berea on February 26, that would be the final day of the NFL Combine, and I would expect head coach Rob Chudzinski, CEO Joe Banner, and Directory of Player Personnel Michael Lombardi to still be in Indianapolis. Breaston is reportedly meeting with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, and is drawing interest from other teams like Detroit, Dallas, and Tennessee.
Breaston is actually a pretty compelling free agent, and might be exactly the type of "veteran presence" Cleveland is seeking. He was originally a fifth-round pick by the Arizona Cardinals in 2007. He had a career year in 2008 when he started 9 games and caught 77 passes for 1,006 yards and 3 touchdowns. He was the third wheel behind Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin that year, catching passes from Kurt Warner, as all three receivers went over 1,000 yards en route to a Super Bowl appearance.
Over the following three seasons (2009-2011), the latter of which came with the Kansas City Chiefs, Breaston averaged about 55 catches and 740 yards receiving each year. For whatever reason, he just fell out of favor with Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll last season. Although he was listed as starting 4 games, he only caught 7 passes for 74 yards on the season, as he was mostly delegated to bench duties despite being one of the team's best receivers.
When Andy Reid was hired as the Chiefs new head coach, Breaston, who had a five-year deal, was cut loose, much like Frostee Rucker was in Cleveland.
The Browns' interest in Breaston does confirm something, though: Cleveland is interested in adding a legitimate veteran receiver to the roster, which could spell the end for a guy like Mohamed Massaquoi, who is set to be a free agent in March.
What do you guys think about Breaston? He isn't one of the top guys that Jon talked about the Browns potentially signing yesterday, but he is the type of guy who could see the field in three- or four-receiver sets.