CLEVELAND (AP) — The Browns found the offensive speed they need.
Adding another playmaker for quarterback Deshaun Watson, Cleveland acquired wide receiver Elijah Moore in a trade from the New York Jets, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
The Browns have agreed to send the No. 42 pick in this year’s draft to the Jets for Moore and the No. 74 selection, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been finalized.
The Jets parted with Moore, a second-round pick in 2021, shortly after agreeing to terms with former Kansas City wide receiver Mecole Hardman on a one-year deal, according to a person with knowledge of the contract.
Cleveland had been looking for a downfield threat for Watson, who came over last year in the controversial trade from Houston. Moore will be a nice complement to Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones.
The Browns lacked a player capable of stretching a defense after Anthony Schwartz, a third-round pick in 2021, struggled with drops and his confidence.
Cleveland explored other trades, including one for Denver wide receiver Jerry Jeudy before striking the deal with the Jets.
While Moore, who will turn 23 next week, hasn’t put up big numbers, he’s quick and versatile and gives Clevleand’s offense another wrinkle to support Watson and a strong running game.
Moore had 37 catches for 446 yards and one touchdown last season, but was unhappy with his role and asked for a trade. He became disgruntled due to a lack of pass-catching opportunities and asked to be dealt in October.
After the Jets’ 27-10 victory at Green Bay in Week 6, Moore quote-tweeted a reporter’s Twitter post that pointed out he had no official receiving targets in the game. In a series of since-deleted tweets, Moore posted if he said what he really wanted to, he’d be viewed as selfish, but added: “Just know I don’t understand either.”
Things took a turn when he reportedly had a disagreement with then-offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur the following week and was held out from practice for two days to clear his head — but then requested to be dealt by the Jets.
Moore didn’t travel with the team to Denver for its victory in Week 7. He returned to practice the following week, but had no catches the next two games and was targeted just once.
Coach Robert Saleh insisted Moore wouldn’t be traded and was a big part of what the Jets wanted to do on offense last season and in the future. But Moore’s production the rest of the season was minimal, catching more than two passes just twice in the next eight games.
Five months after asking to be dealt, Moore gets a fresh start in Cleveland.