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Cleveland Browns ERFA Review: RB George Atkinson

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San Diego Chargers v Cleveland Browns Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Our preview on the Browns’ exclusive rights free agents begins with RB George Atkinson.

How and When He Joined the Browns: Originally an undrafted free agent with the Raiders in 2014, he was with Oakland through camp this year and had a great preseason with them. This preseason for the Raiders, he had 19 carries for 191 yards (10.1 YPC) and 3 touchdowns, and 6 catches for 60 yards. He also returned 1 kickoff 81 yards for a touchdown.

Cleveland claimed Atkinson off waivers at the start of the regular season, where he became the team’s kickoff returner.

Productivity Level Last Season: Because of the NFL kickoff rules, Atkinson never had a chance to make an impact in that area — he had 8 kickoff returns for 137 yards (17.1 per return) on the season. He wasn’t used as a running back until Week 17 after Duke Johnson was nursing a sore ankle. As a backup to Isaiah Crowell in that game, Atkinson looked impressive, running the ball 7 times for 34 yards (4.8 YPC) and 1 touchdown.

Why Keeping Him Could Make Sense: Although I think WR Mario Alford may have nabbed the kick return role from him, Atkinson warrants another season with Cleveland, where he can go through an entire training camp to showcase his skills.

What the Browns Should Do: Cleveland should offer Atkinson the minimum tender of $615,000. The fewer positions that the Browns have to worry about improving, the better.

Let us know below whether or not the team should try to tender or re-sign George Atkinson!