2020 Offseason Team Needs: AFC North

     

Bengals

Projected Cap Space: $44,701,400

Draft Picks: 7

  • 1st (No. 1)
  • 2nd (No. 33)
  • 3rd (No. 65)
  • 4th (No. 97)
  • 5th (No. 129)
  • 6th (No. 161)
  • 7th (No. 193)

Notable Free Agents:

Team Needs:

  1. Offensive Line

Assuming the Bengals take LSU QB Joe Burrow — which seems like a safe assumption — their next priority will be building an environment Burrow can succeed in. That can’t happen unless Cincinnati improves its offensive line. 2019 first-round OT Jonah Williams should be healthy and get the chance to solidify left tackle. The Bengals liked C Trey Hopkins enough to give him an extension. The other three positions can be upgraded, with 2019 making it pretty clear the Bengals won’t count on Cordy Glenn or Billy Price to do so. 

  1. Linebacker

Early indications are that the Bengals will look to dramatically rework this position after it’s been a weakness for years. Germaine Pratt, a third-round pick last year, figures to be in their plans, but that’s all that’s assured with former starting LB Nick Vigil an unrestricted free agent. 

  1. Cornerback

At first blush, a top three of William Jackson, Dre Kirkpatrick and Darqueze Dennard doesn’t look too bad for the Bengals at cornerback. Dig a little deeper though and the position could look radically different. Kirkpatrick is a potential cap casualty or trade candidate, Dennard is an unrestricted free agent who nearly left Cincinnati last year and Jackson is entering the last year of his deal. All three could be gone in 2021. 

Browns

Projected Cap Space: $49,574,690

Draft Picks: 7

  • 1st (No. 10)
  • 2nd (No. 41)
  • 3rd (No. 74)
  • 3rd (No. 90, from HOU)
  • 4th (No. 105)
  • 6th (No. 168, from ARI)
  • 7th (No. 222, from GB)

Notable Free Agents:

Team Needs:

  1. Offensive Line

Despite a plethora of elite weapons, the Browns struggled on offense in part because they couldn’t always protect QB Baker Mayfield. Greg Robinson, Cleveland’s starting left tackle in 2019, is set to be a free agent and upgrading from him is the team’s top priority this offseason. Cleveland will also have to fill the hole at right guard that was created and never filled after trading G Kevin Zeitler to the Giants. 

  1. Safety

Browns S Damarious Randall is scheduled to be a free agent and Cleveland has not been able to come to an agreement on an extension yet. Beyond Randall, the Browns were unable to find a consistent option at the other safety spot, cycling through Morgan Burnett, Eric Murray and Juston Burris, the latter two of which are also free agents. 

  1. Tight End

New HC Kevin Stefanski seems likely to build his offense around the running game. To do that, the Browns will need better play from their tight ends. While TE David Njoku clashed with the former coaching staff, the jury is still out on the former first-round pick. The position behind Njoku is bare, with Demetrius Harris and pending restricted free agent Ricky Seals-Jones rounding out the depth chart. 

Ravens

Projected Cap Space: $27,750,854

Draft Picks: 9, including two compensatory picks per Over The Cap’s projections.

  • 1st (No. 28)
  • 2nd (No. 60)
  • 3rd (No. 92)
  • 4th (No. 119, from NE)
  • 4th (No. 124)
  • 4th (Comp)
  • 4th (Comp)
  • 6th (No. 153, from MIN)
  • 7th (No. 203, from NYJ)

Notable Free Agents:

Team Needs:

  1. Pass Rusher

A year after letting LB Za’Darius Smith leave for greener pastures (more money), the Ravens have a similar decision to make with LB Matt Judon. Letting their best pass rusher leave in consecutive offseasons would be a hard hit, but Judon could easily command more money than Smith did a year ago. Even if Baltimore ponies up the cash to keep Judon, they still need more pass rushers, either on the other side of Judon or on the interior at defensive tackle. 

  1. Interior Offensive Line

Ravens G Marshal Yanda is pondering retiring after a 13-year career. Even if he surprises some of his teammates and comes back, Baltimore needs help at guard and center, particularly given how central a strong rushing attack is to the team identity. The starting center in 2019, Matt Skura, is coming off a severe leg injury and is a restricted free agent to boot. The Ravens could need as many as three new starters here. 

  1. Linebacker

After letting LB C.J. Mosley leave in free agency, the Ravens cycled through a number of options to replace him before street pickup Josh Bynes stabilized the position in October. The position remains a need in 2020, as both Bynes and projected 2019 starter Patrick Onwuasor are free agents. Even if 2018 UDFA Chris Board takes the leap some with the team think he’s capable of, Baltimore would need another starter. 

Steelers

Projected Cap Space: $1,430,975

Draft Picks: 6, including one compensatory pick per Over The Cap’s projections.

  • 2nd (No. 49)
  • 3rd (Comp)
  • 4th (No. 114)
  • 4th (No. 125, from TEN)
  • 6th (No. 179)
  • 7th (No. 210)

Notable Free Agents:

Team Needs:

  1. Tight End

Steelers TE Vance McDonald didn’t take the leap many projected for him in 2019 and still continues to struggle with health. The Steelers had to trade for pending UFA Nick Vannett at the end of the preseason just to fill out their roster. This might be the biggest hole on the team, both in terms of starting talent and depth.  

  1. Running back

Given how the defense is in a strong position, the Steelers can look to further fortify the offense around QB Ben Roethlisberger and whoever succeeds him in the not-too-distant future — which appears to be the plan judging by team president Art Rooney‘s comments about the Steelers’ skill positions. Local star RB James Conner has proven his talents but hasn’t proven his ability to stay healthy and enters the final year of his deal in 2020. Pittsburgh hasn’t indicated they view either Jaylen Samuels or Benny Snell as long-term successors. 

  1. Wide Receiver

While the Steelers didn’t miss Antonio Brown in the locker room, they definitely didn’t have a player of his same talent on the field in 2019. While injuries played a role, JuJu Smith-Schuster‘s production slumped. Pittsburgh has young wideouts James Washington and Diontae Johnson on the roster but both still have a lot to prove. Based off last year, there’s a good argument to make that the Steeler’s don’t have a No. 1 wide receiver, yet. 

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