Andrew Hawkins is staying in Ohio.
OK, well we knew that was going to happen no matter what, but on Tuesday, the Cincinnati Bengals elected not to match the Cleveland Browns' offer sheet for the restricted free agent, officially completing his move to the in-state rival.
The team's official Twitter feed confirmed the news:
NEWS: #Bengals decline to match Browns' offer to WR Andrew Hawkins— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) March 18, 2014
The 28-year-old Hawkins is a dynamic wide receiver. You'd be hard-pressed to pick him out of a crowd of people on the street—he stands at 5'7" and weighs 180 pounds—but he's a dangerous slot weapon with game-breaking ability once he gets the ball in his hands.
He suffered through injuries in 2013, recording just 12 catches for 199 yards in eight games, but during his three seasons with the Bengals, he pulled in 86 receptions for 995 yards and four touchdowns, showing plenty of glimpses of the offensive impact he can make when utilized properly.
But is that kind of production and talent worth the offer sheet the Browns signed him to, which, as NFL.com's Ian Rapoport noted, pays him $10.8 million over the next two seasons?
Not everyone can agree on an answer.
Bleacher Report's Ian Kenyon believes Hawkins' playmaking ability makes him worth the price:
Bengals are dumb for not matching that offer sheet on Andrew Hawkins. If he's healthy, he's Tavon Austin.— Ian Kenyon (@IanKenyonNFL) March 18, 2014
Others, such as Sports Illustrated's Chris Burke, believe it was the right move by the Bengals:
It's hard to blame the Bengals. From A.J. Green to Mohamed Sanu to electric running back Giovani Bernard, Marvin Lewis' squad already has plenty of offensive weapons, and with the need to extend players like Green, cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and others on the horizon, it's hard to give that kind of money to a fourth offensive option.
Right decision by the Bengals?
It's not a surprising move considering the team's current situation, but don't let that serve as a slight to Hawkins.
This is still a nice addition for the Browns, who were in need of more playmakers to complement Josh Gordon and continue to make significant strides forward this offseason as they seek to establish themselves as contenders in the AFC North.