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Bengals unlikely to match offer to Andrew Hawkins

The Cincinnati Bengals are rethinking their plans with Andrew Hawkins.

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NFL Media's Albert Breer reported Thursday that the team is unlikely to match the lucrative offer sheet the diminutive slot receiver netted from the Cleveland Browns, according to a Bengals source.

Cleveland made it tough on its in-state rival, floating Hawkins a four-year, $13.6 million deal set to pay the target $10.8 million over the first two years, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. Matching the contract would have forced Cincy to swallow a $3.8 million roster bonus and $5.8 million cap hit for the wideout they slapped with a "low" tender.

That's a pretty penny for a receiver who barely saw the field for a Bengals offense already housing A.J. Green, Mohamed Sanu, Marvin Jones and tight ends Tyler Eifert and Jermaine Gresham.

The Browns are paying for potential. The 5-foot-7 slot receiver has averaged just 2.5 catches per outing during his 35 appearances over three seasons in Cincy. Still, he generated interest from multiple teams attracted to his occasional flashes of playmaking ability.

It all but ends Cleveland's "strong push" for fellow slot man Julian Edelman. Assuming the Bengals don't change their minds, the Browns have landed an upgrade over what little production they got from Davone Bess one season ago.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" recaps the wild start of free agency.

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