From 2007-2012, Dwayne Bowe caught 415 passes for 5728 yards and 39 touchdowns in 88 games in his career, despite playing with the likes of Brodie Croyle, Damon Huard, Tyler Thigpen, Matt Cassel, Tyler Palko, Kyle Orton, and Brady Quinn at quarterback. That earned him a 5-year, 56 million dollar deal, but it’s been all downhill for Bowe over the past 2 seasons since signing that deal. Despite playing with Alex Smith over the past two seasons, who has been easily the best quarterback he’s had in his career, but Bowe has put up 57/673/5 and 60/754/0 slash lines in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
I thought he was a nice buy low candidate on the open market this off-season, but the Browns don’t seem to know what that means. This deal will pay Bowe 12.5 million over the next 2 seasons, an annual average of 6.25 million. That means that Bowe will still be the 18th highest paid wide receiver in the NFL, which is ridiculous considering he hasn’t been good since 2012, he’s going into his age 31 season, and he’s gotten criticism for his work ethic in recent years. Something in the 2-year, 8 million dollar range with 4 million guaranteed was what I was expecting and a deal that would have been much more appropriate.
There’s bounce back potential for him, but, given how much they’re paying him, there’s little upside on this deal. I get that the Browns had a need at wide receiver and money to spend, but that’s no excuse for an overpay like this, especially considering Jabaal Sheard, one of the Browns’ best defensive players last year, signed for cheaper than this in New England this off-season. Bowe could take away valuable practice and game reps from a rookie on a young team next season. The worst part might be that the Browns, for whatever reason, guaranteed 9 million. Because Bowe is unlikely to be cut after 1 year and 9 million, that basically means this 2-year, 12.5 million dollar deal is essentially fully guaranteed. It’s a borderline hilariously bad contract this far into free agency.