AFC North Notes: Bengals, Browns, Ravens, Steelers

     

Bengals

Bengals TE Tyler Eifert said the team’s medical staff had to put his ankle back into place on the field last year. 

“They put my ankle back in on the field, which was not fun,” Eifert said, per Katherine Terrell

Browns

In a short survey of NFL personnel executives conducted by Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, the Cleveland Browns drew praise for their offseason moves to this point.  The Browns traded for WR Odell Beckham and DE Olivier Vernon and signed RB Kareem Hunt and DT Sheldon Richardson.  

“CLV for sure!” one executive said. “They added pieces on offense to build around their young QB to take the pressure off of him. OBJ is OBJ, but the [Hunt] signing will be big, even though he’s missing eight games. He’ll be fresh the second half of the season, just as the weather is changing! Adding Sheldon Richardson, Olivier Vernon will help bolster the DL. And they still have 8 draft picks to address other needs.”

Another executive praised the Browns signing of LB Adarius Taylor as an underrated move.  

“The Browns signed a linebacker from the Bucs, Ardarius (sp?) Taylor,” this executive said. “Really good special-teamer, really good backup who, in the right spot, could be a starter. Just a good move. Not a big name, but a really good football player who strengthens them from the bottom up.”

Ravens

According to Peter King, Ravens S Earl Thomas thought he was headed to the Chiefs until a last-minute push by the Ravens, who blew him away with their four-year, $55 million offer. 

“The Ravens were never in the picture,” Thomas said. “I was shocked. I was blessed.” 

  • The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec mentions that the Ravens are in the market for pass rush help, but reports that OLB Justin Houston is seeking $10 million is simply more than Baltimore can afford. 
  • Cheaper pass-rushing options for the Ravens could include LB Clay Matthews, DE Nick Perry, DE Ezekiel Ansah, DE Adrian Clayborn, DE Shane Ray or LB Aaron Lynch.  
  • Zrebiec says that unless a need for cap space arises, the Ravens will likely keep CB Jimmy Smith.  The Ravens could save $9.5 million by releasing or trading Smith, but would also incur a $6.7 dead money hit.  
  • With the addition of RB Mark Ingram, Zrebiec doesn’t think the Ravens will consider a running back until the third day of the draft. 
  • Help on the interior offensive line is one of Ravens’ top draft needs, per Zrebiec, and the team could consider N.C. State C Garrett Bradbury at No. 22.  
  • Zrebiec also says the Ravens will likely add a wide receiver in the draft, as well as monitor the waiver wire for help after the draft or closer to training camp.  

Steelers

  • According to Gerry Dulac, the Steelers’ signing of LB Mark Barron will not affect the team’s desire to target an inside linebacker as early as the first round of the draft.  
  • Steelers hosted TE James O’Shaughnessy for a visit. (NFLTR)

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