Despite knowing that they could possibly lose starting wide receiver Josh Gordon for the entire 2014 season for reportedly failing a drug test, the Cleveland Browns chose not to add a wide receiver during the 2014 NFL Draft. Instead, they’ve chosen to go the free agent route in order to protect themselves from the potential loss of Gordon for an extended amount of time.
On Thursday, the Browns signed veteran wide receivers Miles Austin and Earl Bennett to their roster.
Bennett, who spent his first six NFL seasons with the Chicago Bears after being picked in the third-round of the 2008 NFL Draft, caught 32 passes for 243 yards and four touchdowns last year.
Austin, who was originally signed by the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2006, is a two-time Pro Bowler, who has been hampered by hamstring injuries the last few seasons. He was released by the Cowboys back in March after catching 24 passes for 244 yards.
Combined, Bennett and Austin won’t come close to replacing Gordon, who caught 87 passes for 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns last season. The Browns also signed veteran wide receiver Nate Burleson during the offseason, but he will be sidelined until the start of training camp with a fractured left arm suffered last week during an OTA session.
The Pittsburgh Steelers will open the 2014 season against the Browns at Heinz Field on September 7th.