Earlier this week, it was widely rumored that the Cleveland Browns were in the market to add to their receiving corps prior to the start of the 2017 regular season. Instead of waiting until Saturday’s roster cuts to make that happen, the word was they were looking to make their addition via a trade. And now, there’s a name to attach to those rumors: the Seattle Seahawks’ Jermaine Kearse.
According to Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot, a source has said that a trade for Kearse is indeed on the Browns’ radar, as “one of a number of receivers the Browns are considering.” And Kearse is on the trading block; ESPN’s Dianna Russini as well as the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport have reported Seattle is trying to find a suitor for the 27-year old and to get a deal done before teams reduce their rosters to 53 players on Saturday afternoon.
Sources say Seattle is trying to trade wideout Jermaine Kearse #Seahawks— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) August 30, 2017
Kearse, whom the Seahawks added as an undrafted rookie in 2012, earned a right to be a full-time starter in 2014, following a sophomore campaign where four of his 22 receptions were for touchdowns. He has surpassed 500 receiving yards over the past three seasons, prompting Seattle to give him a three-year, $13.5 million contract last spring.
But Kearse wasn’t as productive in 2016, with 41 receptions for 510 yards and one score, a decline from his 49 catches for 685 yards and a career-best five touchdowns in 2015. The Seahawks no longer have interest in carrying his contract moving forward; in 2017, Kearse is set to make $4.03 million in salary and bonuses and next year that number rises to over $6.83 million, $5 million of which is in the form of salary. Though Seattle could cut Kearse outright on Saturday, the more economical move is to seek a willing trade partner, which the Browns apparently are.
The Browns don’t have very many veteran receivers on their roster, with only Kenny Britt having more than one season of professional experience. It makes sense to link the Browns with Kearse. And if this rumored deal does not materialize in the coming days, expect Cleveland to be in play for some other veteran to provide help in the receiving corps this season.