Originally posted on Waiting For Next Year  |  Last updated 3/5/12

The Browns search for a free agent wide receiver is suffering greatly in the lead-up to free agency. DeSean Jackson was franchised last week and according to Adam Schefter and ProFootballTalk Bills receiver Stevie Johnson won’t be available either signing for five years and $36.25 million.

Per Schefter, the contract guarantees Johnson $19.5 million and calls for Johnson to receive $24 million over the first three years of the deal. There’s no detail as to the nature of those guarantees, i.e. whether they are fully or partially guaranteed and how much is to come via a signing bonus. Johnson’s deal could look different once that information comes to light.

Johnson would have been a more likely target for the Cleveland Browns than some of his older counterparts had he reached free agency. Johnson is still somewhat unproven, but at 25 he has put up over 1000 yards in consecutive seasons with the Bills. The Browns have seemed to make maximum effort to sign players in their early to mid-twenties in free agency more than the older guys.

Vincent Jackson (29), Pierre Garcon (25), and Mario Manningham (25), among others become more and more likely options for the Browns as the deadline approaches without word of signings or taggings.

[Related:  NFL Free Agents: The Wide Receivers]

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