AFC North Notes: Bengals, Browns, Ravens

     

Bengals

The Bengals and WR A.J. Green seem destined for a franchise tag this offseason given Green’s contract status and the fact the Bengals haven’t seen him play in a game healthy since 2018. Green acknowledged he would prefer not to be tagged but added he’s also not going to sit out any regular-season action if he’s forced to play on the tag. 

“The franchise tag is not the best thing,” Green said via Elise Jesse of WLWT. “But like I said, I’m not turning down 18 million dollars. It just happens. When you run a business, you have to make difficult decisions. But I feel like when you put that on me, then that’s what you’re showing me, you only want me for one year. And I always play with a chip on my shoulder.”

  • According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, it would be a “major surprise” if the Bengals didn’t draft LSU’s Joe Burrow No. 1 overall.
  • However, Rapoport says Cincinnati does not want to take “anything off the table” at this point, even though their asking price for the top pick would obviously be very high.
  • Bengals executive Duke Tobin said they will at least consider some trade offers they receive and are expected to get “significant interest” for the top spot, per Rapoport.
  • Regardless, Tobin was clear that the Bengals “love [Burrow] as a prospect” and the staff feels Burrow was “nearly flawless” during the 2019 season. 
  • Despite other speculation, ESPN’s Adam Schefter unequivocably reports the Bengals will keep the pick and take Burrow: “You don’t have to speculate on any trades. I don’t care what anybody says…I’m telling you, they’re holding onto the pick, and they’re going to take Joe Burrow at No. 1.”
  • According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, the Bengals have no issues with Burrow not participating in this year’s Senior Bowl given he completed a 15 game schedule, which could be compared to an NFL season.

Browns

One of the reasons Browns HC Freddie Kitchens‘ first and only season ended so disastrously was that the first-time head coach was overwhelmed by trying to both call plays and fulfill his other head coaching duties. New Browns HC Kevin Stefanski was hired in part for his offensive prowess, but he hasn’t yet decided if he will hire an offensive coordinator to handle play-calling or do it himself. 

“I’m committed to adding the right people to our building,” Stefanski said via WKYC.com. “That remains to be seen. We’re definitely looking at all avenues as we try to put a really good staff together.”

  • Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports the 49ers are “making a late push” to retain DBs coach Joe Woods from becoming the Browns new defensive coordinator.  
  • Browns S T.J. Carrie knows Woods from their time spent together with the Raiders and says he would be a good fit if hired: “He’ll be tough on us and get the most out of us.” (Mary Kay Cabot)
  • Stefanski said he’ll meet with Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. on Thursday after the receiver had core muscle surgery on Tuesday in order to “get acquainted and tell him what he expects.” (Cabot)
  • The Browns won’t retain DB coach DeWayne Walker in 2020. He has already interviewed for other vacancies around the league. (Cabot)

Ravens

Ravens’ impending free agent OLB Matt Judon admitted that he’s unsure where he’ll be playing next year and there are “a lot of organizations” he could play for. 

“I don’t know where I’ma be at next year, man,” Judon said, via Nick Shook of Around the NFL. “I don’t know. It’s a lot of organizations represented out here. Baltimore got the most. I don’t know, I honestly don’t know. That’s really a decision between me, my GM and my agent.” 

Judon said he is not concerned about the process of being a free agent. 

“It’s a process that you can’t stress over,” Judon said. “You had to take care of your stuff the first four years. And when you’re in this situation, I don’t think it’s gonna be no negatives really out of this situation. Everything’s going to be a positive and however it handles itself out, it will and I think I’m gonna be happy on the other side.”

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