The rumors and speculation pile up as March 10th marks the start of the NFL Free Agency period. With Cleveland needing a wide receiver and Cecil Shorts set to become a free agent, one can’t help but gossip about a reunion. Shorts once resided in Ohio as he attended Collinwood High School and Mount Union.

After a productive college career, Shorts was drafted by Jacksonville in the fourth round of the 2011 draft. As a rookie, he had a quiet year, only catching two passes, but had a breakout 2012 campaign with 55 receptions for 979 yards and seven touchdowns. The 27 year old’s production slightly dipped in 2013 and took a bigger hit this past year. Due to hamstring issues, Shorts missed three games and recorded just 557 yards and a touchdown on 53 catches.

Although the wide-out regressed, Shorts was stuck in a struggling offense with a rookie quarterback. Additionally, he lost reps to drafted and undrafted rookies Marqise Lee, Allen Robinson, and Allen Hurns.

This production decline makes Cecil Shorts an affordable asset for the Cleveland Browns. Although he hasn’t played a full 16 game season, the receiver has tremendous upside with playmaker ability. As a serious open field threat he can make defenders miss resulting in his 17.8 yards per reception in 2012.

If the price is right, Shorts can be a great complementary piece to a number one receiver, which Cleveland might obtain in the first round of the upcoming draft. Health is a concern when it comes to the hometown native, but the potential he can bring to this team can’t be ignored. Also, considering the mutual interest between the parties, I’m sure a reasonable deal can be agreed upon.

Come back home Cecil, come back home.

-Max Gold

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