CLEVELAND (AP) - Free agent wide receiver Andrew Hawkins has joined the Browns after the Cincinnati Bengals declined to match an offer sheet for him.
The Bengals announced their decision Tuesday, eight hours before a five-day deadline to equal Cleveland's offer to Hawkins was to expire. The Browns signed Hawkins, a restricted free agent, to a four-year, $13.6 million offer sheet last Thursday.
The 5-foot-7, 180-pound Hawkins fills a major need at slot receiver for the Browns, who recently released troubled wide receiver Davone Bess and were in the market for an inside playmaker. Hawkins fits that bill and should help Cleveland's offense with his elusiveness and big-play potential.
Hawkins had just 12 catches for 199 yards last season, when he was sidelined by a high-ankle sprain.
In 2012, he had 51 catches for 533 yards and four touchdowns.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org