According to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Via Twitter), Nate Burleson and the Browns have reached an agreement on a one-year deal. There are no details yet regarding the value of the contract. Burleson had also shown interest in the Dolphins and visited Miami a few days ago.
The Browns are widely considered to be in the market to add a wide receiver to spell their breakout First Team All-Pro, Josh Gordon. Many thought the team, which had an incredibly eventful offseason both in the front office with the addition of GM Ray Farmer and on the field with several key players, would perhaps address this concern with Clemson standout wide receiver Sammy Watkins with the fourth overall pick in the 2014 Draft. The signing of Burleson could show that Farmer might look instead to either a quarterback, one of Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater, or Derek Carr, or Auburn tackle Greg Robinson with their first round selection.
Although Burleson has only played in 17 total games over the past two seasons, the Nevada product has proven to be a reliable target over his 12-year career, particularly as a second option. In fact, Burleson’s most successful campaign was in 2004 when he caught 68 passes for 1006 yards while playing alongside Randy Moss. This is intriguing because Gordon was drawing strong comparisons to Moss before he even entered the NFL, evidenced by NFL an executive telling ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Gordon possessed “Randy Moss-like talents.” Burleson further added to his résumé as a second fiddle wide receiver in Detroit over the past four years, playing with perennial All-Pro Calvin Johnson during his emergence as a generational receiving talent. While Burleson’s recent injury troubles mean he likely will not be lined up opposite of Gordon as a true number two option on most plays, he can likely help take defensive pressure off of the young star.
As Brian Hoyer and Alex Tanney are currently the Browns’ only rostered quarterbacks, it largely remains to be seen who will be throwing passes to Gordon and Burleson in 2014. However, this addition certainly seems to dampen the probability of the Browns selecting Watkins with the fourth overall pick.