Saturday, March 2, 2013
Top free agents in the division: No. 10
By Jamison Hensley
Free agency officially begins March 12, so the AFC North blog is counting down the 20 best free agents (unrestricted and restricted) from the teams in the division. Let's continue with No. 10 ...
Browns returner-wide receiver
The good: Cribbs remains one of the top all-around special-teams players for his consistently strong returns and his play on the coverage squad. He will probably go down as the best special-teams player in franchise history, especially among non-kickers. Cribbs ranked sixth in punt-return average and fourth in kickoff-return average last season.
The bad: He is no longer a touchdown threat as a returner. Relying more on power than speed at this point of his career, Cribbs has reached the end zone just once in the past three seasons. And, even though he has often campaigned for a bigger role on offense, he has made a minimal impact as a receiver. He turns 30 in June.
The bottom line: Cribbs recently said he would take a slight pay cut to remain with the Browns, but that likely won't help him come back. Travis Benjamin is the more explosive returner and represents a better bargain than Cribbs. It would be a disappointing way to end his Browns career, especially after he was the lone spark for many years. While returners are being devalued in the league, Cribbs should have no trouble catching on with another team. Cribbs, though, said he wouldn't go to a team within the division.