Loosen the tourniquet. General manager Ray Farmer has stemmed the blood flow at wide receiver for the Browns.
On May 15 the Browns announced they have agreed to terms with free agent wide receiver Miles Austin, who in eight seasons caught 301 passes for 4,481 yards and 34 touchdowns for the Dallas Cowboys.
Six days earlier, one day after the Browns selected cornerback Justin Gilbert and quarterback Johnny Manziel in the first round of the draft, fans panicked when news broke Josh Gordon will likely be suspended for a year or more for testing positive for marijuana. Gordon led the Browns and the entire NFL with 1,646 receiving yards last year.
Farmer knew of Gordon's pending trouble before the draft, but declined to take a wide receiver at any point in the three-day event. He started the draft with 10 picks and ended up with six.
Farmer passed on Sammy Watkins of Clemson and Mike Evans of Texas A&M with the fourth overall pick and instead traded it to the Buffalo Bills for the ninth pick plus the Bills first-round and fourth-round picks next year. Farmer then traded the ninth pick and a fifth-round choice to the Vikings to move up one spot so he could draft Gilbert.
"We were very close to turning in the card (on Watkins)," Farmer told Peter King of Sports Illustrated. "We very easily could have turned in the card with Sammy's name on it.
"Even if Sammy turns into Randy Moss, Justin Gilbert can be every bit as good as Patrick Peterson. That's how much talent he has.
And in the game today, I feel cornerbacks are as important as wide receivers, and maybe harder to find. So I have no regrets about it, no."
Farmer was not as open with media covering the Browns when he was asked about passing on Watkins, who in 2012 was arrested by Clemson University police on charges of possession of a controlled substance and simple possession of marijuana. Maybe Farmer didn't want to deal with answering questions about drafting one player with marijuana issues to replace another with marijuana issues..
"We felt like, at the time, there was a trade opportunity, and in that, we were able to secure some more resources for moving forward with the team and building the team long term," Farmer said after the first day of the draft, before the news on Gordon broke.
He was grilled harder in his next interview after the Gordon report and said he was not concerned about depth at wide receiver.
"We play games in September, and right now there's still plenty of opportunity for us to acquire players and to make things happen," he said. "Whether its trades...whether it's players that get cut or we acquire somebody from the street. There are always opportunities to acquire players. From our prospective, where we're focused on is using every opportunity to acquire players that become available."
Austin is a result of that search. The Browns also announced they signed former Bears receiver Earl Bennett. Bennett played six seasons with the Chicago Bears and caught 185 passes for 2,277 yards and six touchdowns.
Neither Austin nor Bennett is in Gordon's class, but they are an upgrade over what the Browns had 24 hours earlier.
Austin, 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, played in 11 games in 2013 with eight starts. He caught only 24 passes, his lowest receiving total since 2008 when he caught 13 passes. He did not catch a touchdown pass last season. It was the first time he was shut out since 2007 when he caught only five passes.
Austin, undrafted out on Monmouth, was a rookie in 2006. He played in the Pro Bowl after the 2009 and 2010 seasons. His best season was 2009 when he caught 81 passes for 1,320 yards and 11 touchdowns.
The Browns announced they have signed undrafted rookie defensive lineman Elhadji Ndiaye, 6-foot-4, 265 pounds from Nebraska-Kearny.