Time could be running out on the relationship between wide receiver Josh Cribbs and the Cleveland Browns.
That’s a theory being pushed by Jeff Schudel of the News-Herald in Northern Ohio. Cribbs is entering the final year of his contract and Schudel thinks he’d need to take a pay cut from the $1.438 million he’ll make this season in order to stick around with the team. There are two reasons driving this view.
Changes to the rules on kickoffs made Cribbs less than a weapon than he has been in past seasons. While he actually had better numbers on returns than he did in 2010, Cribbs got just 39 chances to return kickoffs. That’s the lowest total of his seven-year career and it’s not likely to change much with the rules still in effect this season.
Drafting Travis Benjamin could push Cribbs to fourth on the wide receiver depth chart, something that would limit his value to the Browns even more as they move forward. Cribbs has never developed into a consistent receiving threat for the Browns and he’ll be turning 30 before the 2013 season, which makes it unlikely that there’s a great leap forward coming on that front.
Cribbs provides the Browns with more than just kick returns. He’s a key part of their special teams coverage units and returned a punt for a touchdown last season, but the question will be whether or not the team and Cribbs put the same dollar value on his role beyond this season.