There was a lot of confusion the past day or so in regards to when the Cleveland Browns would know for certain whether or not the Cincinnati Bengals were going to match the offer sheet that Cleveland gave to WR Andrew Hawkins last week. Everyone knew that Tuesday, March 18, would be the final day for the Bengals to decide, but how late into the day would they have -- 4:00 PM EST or midnight EST?
The NFL clarified when the deadline is, though, and it is at midnight tonight.
Is anybody else going to stay up until midnight, on the edge of their seats? The Browns might be over-paying for Hawkins, but if they are able to secure him, that means they certainly intend to use him as a big part of their offense this season.
Getting Hawkins would sort of "complete the package" of what the team set out to do since free agency began, meaning they would have, presumably, hit on most of the free agents on their wish list -- a sharp contrast from what one might have expected the previous front office to be able to accomplish.
UPDATE (3:45 PM): According to Adam Schefter of ESPN and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, the Bengals have informed WR Andrew Hawkins that they will not be matching the Bengals' offer.
Bengals not matching Browns offer sheet for Wr Andrew Hawkins. He's a Brown.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 18, 2014
Word is that the conversion between the Bengals and Hawkins went down like this:
UPDATE (3:52 PM): The Bengals have now confirmed they won't match the offer. He will join the Browns!
NEWS: #Bengals decline to match Browns' offer to WR Andrew Hawkins— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) March 18, 2014