It is being reported that the talks between breakout wide receiver Travis Benjamin and the Cleveland Browns have broken down and now Benjamin will test free agency, according to Cleveland.com. The Browns may have played hardball with Benjamin, thanks to what should be the imminent return of Josh Gordon. They need to be smart about where they are allocating their cap space as they enter 2016 with a new head coach in Hue Jackson, and almost certainly a new starting quarterback.
Benjamin finished the 2015 season with 68 catches, 966 receiving yards, and 5 touchdown catches. At only 26, he still has a lot of room for development, but it is clear the Browns are not willing to overpay for him, reports CBS Sports. With receivers such as Andrew Hawkins and the newly acquired Terrelle Pryor, Cleveland could lose Benjamin, especially considering Pryor could be a breakout candidate in 2016.
The Browns also have Brian Hartline and Dwayne Bowe, but both were major disappointments after being acquired in free agency. It is likely that Bowe will be flat out released, however the Browns will have around $38 million in cap space, which means they can attempt to re-sign him if they do not get priced out of the bidding by another team.
The San Francisco 49ers are in desperate need of wide receivers, so they might be willing to pay top dollar for Benjamin. The Browns will likely select their next franchise quarterback after the Johnny Manziel fiasco, according to USA Today, so it is necessary to make sure they have the weapons around them to succeed.
Cleveland could also have its sights set on a new free agent wide receiver such as Marvin Jones or Rishard Matthews. The Browns will need to do everything in their power to make sure their next quarterback is in the best position to succeed, and has solid targets to throw to.