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New England Patriots, four others interested in Josh Cribbs


Cleveland Browns return specialist Josh Cribbs is one of the most electrifying returners in the game, but he brings little to the table outside of being a return specialist. Cribbs is terrible wide receiver by pretty much every measure, and he reportedly wanted too much money from the Browns for a player who doesn’t do much outside of returns. But Cribbs has been scoring some victories, because there are five teams interested in Cribbs’s services.

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Interestingly enough, the Browns are not among those teams. Cribbs and his agent stated that he would have multiple teams interested, and FOX Sports also reported the same yesterday. The Browns are not interesting in keeping Cribbs, but Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that the New England Patriots, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, and Arizona Cardinals are interested in Cribbs.

Cribbs also scored a victory when the Buffalo Bills gave Leodis McKelvin a $20 million deal over four years, and that likely increases Cribbs’s value. However, it must be noted that McKelvin is in a different situation- he’s simply better. McKelvin is one year younger, is actually a better returner, and, most importantly, he can actually contribute in other ways. McKelvin is adamant that he can contribute on defense as corner for the Bills, and the Bills sorely need solid play at CB. The former first-rounder is regarded as a bust, but he showed signs of turning things around with a decent 2012 season in coverage. The Bills evidently trust that he can continue to build on that by rewarding him with a contract, and McKelvin is adamant that he can.

The problem with Josh Cribbs is that he almost certainly can’t contribute as a wide receiver, and he is going to want (and probably get, if those five teams are indeed interested) too much money for just returning kicks. The Patriots could really use some great returning, but Jeff Demps could bring that electrifying ability to the table. He is cheaper, younger, and also has a better chance of contributing on offense (although, that is not clear at this juncture). The issue with Demps is whether or not Bill Belichick wants a guy who isn’t solely focused on football, but I bet he also doesn’t want to pay for a guy like Cribbs who can’t contribute elsewhere.

As for the other four teams on the list, I can’t see any one of those teams involved (save for the Giants). The Cowboys need to focus on other issues before overpaying for a returner, the Cardinals aren’t going to sign Cribbs unless if they want to move Patrick Peterson out of returns, and the 49ers already have a terrific returner in LaMichael James who is much younger and can contribute in a big way to the offense. And oh yeah, James is also cheaper than Cribbs.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.