Hawkins becomes the latest veteran addition to the Patriots this offseason, joining Brandin Cooks, Mike Gillislee, Rex Burkhead, and Dwayne Allen. Still, his spot on the 53-man roster is anything but a certainty. The Pats already have wide receivers Cooks, Julian Edelman, Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola, Devin Street, and special teams ace Matthew Slater under contract. Hawkins’ contract likely doesn’t have much in the way of guaranteed cash and perhaps has no guarantees, so there probably won’t be any real fiscal consequences for New England if they cut ties.
Until today, the 31-year-old had spent his entire career to date in the AFC North. After playing for the Bengals from 2011-2013, he hooked on with the Browns as a free agent prior to the 2014 season. Hawkins was initially a focal part of the offense in Cleveland, racking up 63 catches for 824 yards and two scores in his first season there. After that, however, his role shrank. Last year, he had just 33 catches for 324 yards and three scores.
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