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Cleveland Browns Reportedly Not Likely to Meet Josh Cribbs' Demands

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 23:  Josh Cribbs #16 of the Cleveland Browns returns a punt against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on December 23, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Browns 34-12.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Mike HoagCorrespondent IIFebruary 24, 2013

The Cleveland Browns are unlikely to meet Josh Cribbs’ asking price, leaving him to test free agency this offseason, according to NFL.com’s Aditi Kinkhabwala.

Cribbs is reportedly looking for around $1.8 to $2 million per season, according to the report, a price the Browns are seemingly unwilling to pay for an aging specialist.

This report came just hours after the return man expressed his desire to stay in Cleveland, citing a love for the Cleveland area and the rabid fanbase as his primary reasons (h/t WTAM in Cleveland).

There is no denying the positive impact that Cribbs has made in Cleveland during his eight seasons with the team. He has been terrific in the return game, setting NFL and franchise records in the process.

Cribbs owns a share of the record for most all-time kickoff return touchdowns (eight) with Seattle Seahawks' Leon Washington. He also holds the NFL record with two 100-plus-yard kickoff return TDs in a single game.

He will turn 30 this summer and will undoubtedly find a team willing to pay his asking price.

Despite not finding the end zone in 2012, Cribbs was still at the top of his game. He compiled 1,635 total return yards, finishing in third-place in kickoff returns (1,178 yards) and second-place in punt returns (457 yards).

Cribbs’ interest in staying in Cleveland is strange considering the wide receiver never fully got along with management about his role in the team’s offense. Various regimes dictated that role over the eight-year span of his career, but none of them incorporated him enough for his liking.

That’s especially true of Pat Shurmur’s staff, the latest group to come and go.

Cleveland will likely look to transform second-year wide receiver Travis Benjamin into Cribbs’ replacement. The undersized rookie demonstrated blazing speed in 2012. His 93-yard punt return touchdown in Week 14 set a franchise record.

If not they may take a chance on finding their new return man during April’s draft or through the upcoming start to free agency.

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