They play the Battle of Ohio twice every season and the Browns and Bengals are playing a round this offseason over wide receiver Andrew Hawkins.
The Bengals tendered Hawkins as a restricted free agent at the original round level, which meant that they were not eligible to get draft pick compensation if he signed elsewhere but could match the offer. The Browns took the bait and extended a four-year offer to Hawkins on Tuesday.
It doesn’t look like he’ll be winding up in Cleveland, though. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the Bengals will match the offer, which is for $12.2 million with $5.3 million in guaranteed money. That’s much more than the $1.431, one-year tender that the Bengals extended to Hawkins, which makes it a little surprising that the Bengals made a call to match so quickly.
Hawkins played just eight games for the Bengals last season after a stay on injured reserve/return and caught just 12 passes while playing a limited role in the offense. With A.J. Green, Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu all back in Cincinnati, it will be interesting to see if Hawkins gets a role more in line with his new deal.