Cleveland Browns: Is a Braylon Edwards Return Possible?

Jarrod ArgobrightCorrespondent IFebruary 16, 2011

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 23:  Braylon Edwards #17 of the New York Jets runs for yards after the catch against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 2011 AFC Championship game at Heinz Field on January 23, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers won 24-19.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

One of the biggest needs for the Cleveland Browns this offseason has to be wide receiver.

The Browns do not currently have a bona fide No. 1 receiver and their leading receiver in 2010 was their starting tight end, Benjamin Watson.

Watson's 68 receptions for 763 yards were commendable numbers for a man playing his position.  Yet with the hiring of new head coach Pat Shurmur and the subsequent installation of the west coast offense, Watson seems headed for a decrease in production from the get go.  The west coast offense is primarily based on short, timed routes to wide receivers.

One theory on how the Browns can upgrade their receiving corps is via the draft. 

There are many fans and media types in Cleveland who believe that Georgia standout AJ Green is the wide receiver they should be targeting. Green, at 6'4'' and 215 pounds, is a big, quick receiver who has also has tremendous athletic ability when it comes to catching the football.  The thinking here is that if Green is available when Cleveland picks at No. 6, they would be fools to pass on him.

Another possible option the Browns could explore would be to acquire a veteran receiver via trade or free agency. 

Should the current collective bargaining agreement expire next month, they would have to put this idea on hold.  But there are a laundry list of free agent wide receivers available this offseason, including Vincent Jackson, Santonio Holmes, and... Braylon Edwards?

The very thought of the Browns re-signing Edwards more than likely does not sit well with many Browns fans for a couple of reasons.  There is the assumption by many fans and members of the media the Braylon did not want to be in Cleveland in the first place, and his numerous drops were a convenient way to get traded to a better team. 

Then there was the nightclub flap with LeBron James' best friend.

Yet the fact remains that Edwards has been one of the more productive wide receivers Cleveland has had in the last five seasons.  In fact, during three of his last four seasons in Cleveland, he averaged at least 55 receptions and over 800 yards per season with his career high being in 2007, when he had over 1,200 yards and 16 touchdowns. 

In fact, it wasn't until 2009 when Eric Mangini brought his run oriented game plan into Cleveland that Edwards saw a significant decline in production.

Bringing Edwards back might allow him to mentor younger receivers such as Mohamed Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie, both of whom struggled in only their second seasons.  It would also give Colt McCoy a legitimate No. 1 receiver.

Fans need to forgive and forget when it comes to Braylon Edwards.  Sure, he dropped passes, but there is not a receiver in the league worth his salt who hasn't. 

And the LeBron thing, well, LeBron isn't even in Ohio anymore. 

The only thing Cleveland fans need to worry about is whether adding Braylon Edwards will make the team significantly better. 

And the obvious answer is yes, it will.

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