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Giants working on deal for Braylon Edwards before draft


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Sources close to the New York Giants confirmed the club is working on a deal that could deliver Cleveland wide receiver Braylon Edwards before or during the April 25 draft. However, they said that no deal has been consummated and that it is a work in progress.

"But something is going on," said one league executive, "and the Giants are in the middle of it."

Edwards is attractive to the Giants for two reasons: 1) He's a wide receiver with size and productivity and 2) he's available. With the release of Plaxico Burress, the Giants are desperate for a go-to wide receiver, and last year's numbers prove it. Burress and Amani Toomer had eight touchdowns between them, but they're gone. The wide receivers that return combined for five TDs, with no one having more than two.

"The Giants have a lot of No. 3 receivers," said an NFC scout, "so there's definitely a need."

That's where Edwards would come in. The 6-feet-3, 215-pound receiver reached the Pro Bowl two years ago when he had a career-high 80 catches for 1289 yards and 16 touchdowns -- with scoring receptions in 11 of the Browns' 16 games. The yards receiving and touchdown catches each were franchise records.

But that's good Braylon. Bad Braylon returned last season when he dropped a slew of passes, and the Browns struggled to score. They ranked 31st in offense, tied for 30th in scoring and slumped to a 4-12 finish -- provoking owner Randy Lerner to fire his coach and general manager. Still, Edwards managed to haul down a team-best 55 passes, average 16 yards a catch and make four receptions of 40 or more yards.

Edwards has his share of detractors, and it appears as if the new regime in Cleveland belongs to that club. How else do you explain Cleveland shopping him when it has virtually no playmakers left in its offensive huddle? It is unclear what the Browns want in exchange for Edwards, but it almost surely includes a package with a high draft pick. The Giants have the 29th choice of the draft.

Sources close to the Giants said they believe the team's GM, Jerry Reese, is mulling his options and may pull the trigger by next weekend's draft. Of course, that was the feeling a year ago when the Giants were in the middle of the Jeremy Shockey trade talks with New Orleans, and they didn't act there until training camp.

But this is different because the Giants aren't trying to get rid of a problem; they're trying to solve one, and Edwards could fill a huge hole in the Giants' offense. Remember, after they lost Burress last season the Giants dropped four of their last five games -- including a playoff defeat to Philadelphia. Not having their most dangerous receiver affected the league's best rushing attack, with defenses dropping a safety in the box to defend what the Giants do best -- practically daring them to beat them with their outside receivers.

It didn't happen. Eli Manning had two touchdowns and four interceptions in his last five starts, and the Giants -- once the pick to defend their Super Bowl title -- faded in January, dropping a 23-11 decision to Philadelphia in the divisional round of the playoffs.

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