NFL.com reporter Aditi Kinkhabwala is reporting the Cleveland Browns are unlikely to meet wide receiver and return man Joshua Cribbs' asking price of $1.8 to $2 million per year. On the NFL Network scrolling news bar, it also indicated that the 49ers and Chargers have expressed some measure of interest in Cribbs.
Although Cribbs is listed as a wide receiver, he has generally focused on the return game. Last season he finished fourth in kick return average and sixth in punt return average. At the same time, he had only seven receptions on the season. 2011 was probably his best season as a receiver, catching 41 balls for 518 yards and four touchdowns.
At first glance, this would seem like a signing meant to focus on the return game. In that regard, I'm not sure I see it happening. LaMichael James showed solid skills as a kick returner, and Kyle Williams could provide a spark as the punt returner. The 49ers brought back Ted Ginn Jr. last year at a cap value of just under $1.4 million. Ginn is younger than Cribbs, and given the regression of the return game as a whole with Ginn, would the 49ers be willing to spend more money on Cribbs?
Where it could get interesting in my mind is if Greg Roman thinks he can better utilize Cribbs in the offense. Cribbs brings size and athleticism and you know Roman has to think he could do some good things with him in the offense. The team could of course get fancy with the cap hit on something like a three-year deal, so I'm not sure that money is necessarily a big deal.
What does everybody think? From a perspective as just a return man, and also from a perspective of whether Roman could get more out of him, is Cribbs worth considering?