NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday that the Bengals have informed the restricted free agent that they don't plan to match the four-year, $13.6 million offer Hawkins received from their AFC North rival. The team later announced they elected not to match the offer sheet.
The Browns will hand Hawkins $10.8 million over the first two years of the deal. It comes as little surprise the Bengals declined to match that when they already have wideouts A.J. Green, Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones under contract, not to mention tight ends Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert.
"He's small, but so is Wes Welker," Cosell told Shutdown Corner back in 2012. "And I think he has great lateral quickness -- he can run all those kinds of option whip routes that slot receivers run."
The 5-foot-7 Hawkins struggled to follow up on that potential last season, limited to just 12 catches after spending the first eight weeks of the campaign on short-term injured reserve with an ankle injury.
If he can stay healthy in Cleveland, his days of limited snaps are over.