AFC North Notes: Bengals, Browns, Ravens, Steelers

     

Bengals

  • NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport says the word at the Combine was that the Bengals intended to be more aggressive in free agency this year than they traditionally have in the past. 
  • The Bengals currently have $44.8 million in cap space but can potentially get close to $80 million with a few expected moves, like trading QB Andy Dalton and cutting both OL Cordy Glenn and CB Dre Kirkpatrick
  • The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr. says he’s not sure if the Bengals would be willing to spend $12 million+ a year for Browns LB Joe Schobert despite their need at the position and their indication they want to be more aggressive in free agency this year. 
  • Dehner tosses out Texans DT D.J. Reader, Titans CB Logan Ryan and Bears LB Nick Kwiatkoski as some potential options. 
  • Dehner writes the Bears, Patriots and Colts make the most sense as potential trade destinations for Dalton. 
  • The Bengals plan to prioritize cornerback in free agency, parting ways with CB Darqueze Dennard and using the money saved from moving on from Kirkpatrick to target a younger corner, potentially Vikings CB Trae Waynes. (Dehner)
  • Dehner says the Bengals actually seem to be mostly content with most of their offensive line, with 2019 rookies, OT Jonah Williams and G Michael Jordan, on the left side, Trey Hopkins at center, and Fred Johnson competing with Bobby Hart at right tackle. 
  • One option for the Bengals in the second round would be to target a guard/tackle swing player to bolster the right side of the line, according to Dehner. 
  • Dehner doesn’t see the Bengals changing their stance on DT Geno Atkins, who the team still views as a core piece. 

Browns 

Rocky River Police Department tells Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal that Browns RB Kareem Hunt will not be facing drug charges stemming from an incident that occurred in January. 

“We will not be pursuing charges of marijuana possession against Kareem Hunt,” police confirmed in an email to Ulrich. 

Hunt was pulled over for speeding when an officer smelled both marijuana and alcohol in the vehicle. Despite a small amount of marijuana being present, Hunt was not cited because of a new state law in Ohio that suspends citing people for possession of small amounts of marijuana.

  • Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com says it would be “very surprising” for WR Odell Beckham Jr to not be on the Browns’ roster this season. According to Cabot, the Browns view Beckham as a “big part” of their future. Even so, Cabot says this doesn’t mean teams won’t call Cleveland about Beckham and GM Andrew Berry will likely listen.
  • NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport points out Beckham is modeling for shoots in Cleveland’s new secret uniforms that will be released later this year, indicating Beckham is clearly in their plans for 2020. 
  • Rapoport adds Beckham is healthier and is expected to be more involved in the team’s offseason program this year. 
  • According to Cabot, now that Redskins G Brandon Scherff is expected to franchise tagged, the Browns will continue to look at G Joe Thuney, T Jack Conklin, and may still attempt to trading for T Trent Williams.
  • Cabot also reported that the Browns WR Rashard Higgins expects to test the free-agent market but the team would like to bring him back at the right price.
  • Iowa OL Tristan Wirfs revealed that he has a pre-draft visit with the Browns scheduled. (Alex Marvez)

Ravens

  • Albert Breer of SI mentions that the Ravens are likely to franchise OLB Matt Judon before the upcoming deadline. However, Breer believes there could be a trade market for Judon and that Baltimore may end up moving him.
  • Reports from earlier in the day also mentioned Judon as a tag-and-trade candidate. (NFLTR)

Steelers

Steelers TE Vance McDonald said it “took some adjusting” to play with quarterbacks Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges. Even so, he wishes he “would have done more” last season.

“I think I took some steps backwards unfortunately as a player,” McDonald said, via Steelers.com. “I don’t even need a coach to give me criticism because I have too much of it already. I think of it as having almost that edge in 2018, being known for having that play with the stiff arm, the run after whenever I would have a reception. I didn’t have as many of those. It makes me want to attack this offseason and next season that much harder.”

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