A little less than one year after keeping Andrew Hawkins over Taylor Gabriel, the Cleveland Browns have decided to part ways with the veteran receiver. The team announced early Monday that it had terminated his contract.
Unlike most offseason roster moves, this one comes with a ton of quotes from Sashi Brown, Hue Jackson and Hawkins himself.
“Andrew was a great asset to the organization in his three seasons with our team,” said Executive Vice President of Football Operations Sashi Brown. “He was an outstanding example to our young players both on and off the field. The well-intended work he did in the Cleveland community was greatly appreciated and the respect he earned throughout our league for never being afraid to responsibly create an educated dialogue around a societal issue is commendable. I’m not sure where Andrew’s next stop will be but his history shows that whatever he sets his mind to accomplish, success is sure to follow.”
“It’s tough to say goodbye to men like Hawk, that have done everything you’ve asked of them and gone above and beyond when it comes to leadership,” said Head Coach Hue Jackson. “Hawk was a rock for us last season. He kept our locker room together and led by example as he gave everything he had on the field. Our young players are going to be better players and better people because of the time they spent with Andrew Hawkins.”
— UNINTERRUPTED (@uninterrupted) February 27, 2017
“I’m so grateful for my time in Cleveland, I will never forget my first tryout as a Brown back in 2008, praying for the opportunity to wear the Orange and Brown on Sundays,” said Hawkins. “Thank you to Jimmy and Dee Haslam, who have been both incredible owners and role models throughout my time here and I’m forever grateful for the opportunity they granted me. Thank you to Sashi Brown and Hue Jackson, who have supported me both on and off the field and will continue to be mentors to me for years to come. Thank you to my incredible teammates for allowing me the opportunity to be one of your captains, it was an honor to battle with you, week in and week out. And lastly, thank you Cleveland Browns fans, you are one of the best fanbases in all of the world, and the support you’ve given my family and I the last three seasons will not soon be forgotten. Your support and your passion is what drives this city and I can’t wait to one day celebrate a Cleveland Browns Championship with all of you. No matter where I play next, I will always be part of the Browns family.”
After missing a chunk of time in 2015 due to a bevy of concussion, Hawkins came back a season later and finished tied for second on the team with three touchdown catches in 2016. He logged 33 receptions for 324 yards, while appearing in all 16 games. In six NFL seasons between the Bengals (2011-13) and Browns (2014-16), Hawkins has appeared in 74 games and caught 209 passes for 2,419 yards with nine touchdowns. He joined the Browns as a restricted free agent in 2014 and led the team in receptions and receiving yards that season. He appeared in 39 games with the Browns and recorded 123 receptions for 1,424 yards with five touchdowns.
Hawkins was signed as a free agent during the Ray Farmer/Mike Pettine era and managed to stay aboard the Browns despite front office turnover1, an NFL Draft that featured four wide receivers being selected, and the emergence of Terrelle Pryor as a legit NFL weapon. Easily one of the best characters in the Browns locker room, it appears the 30-year-old fell victim to the numbers game on a team looking to build from their 1-15 season. Hawkins was due $1.8 million (entirely base salary), and was to be a free agent in 2018. This move comes without anything in the way of dead cap money for the team.
- He had history with Hue Jackson in Cincinnati. [↩]