AFC North Notes: Browns, Ravens, Steelers


Browns WR Jarvis Landry pulled no punches in his final comments to the media before the offseason. Landry didn’t mention departed Browns HC Freddie Kitchens by name, but his comments about the leadership failures in Cleveland this year were pretty easy to trace back to Kitchens. 

“I just think that we lacked it at times,” Landry said via Jeff Schudel of the News-Herald in Ohio. “I knew there was no doubt that the people here were trying to win. Everybody in this organization was trying to win. I just didn’t think we knew how to do it. I just think that there are always times in seasons where things happen — guys get hurt, off-the-field issues, a bunch of different things happen in crucial points in the game, breaking points of the game, being able to hold your composure, being able to talk to each other, treat everybody with respect. I just think at times there was a lack thereof.”

  • According to’s Mary Kay Cabot, the Browns let GM John Dorsey go in large part for his decision to hire Kitchens as head coach.
  • Cabot says ownership asked Dorsey to take a backseat in the organization and be more of a VP of player personnel football operations under the new head of football operations.
  • While there has been some talk of Chiefs strategy officer Paul DePodesta taking on a larger role, Cabot reports that he will not be in charge of football operations.
  • Dorsey was reportedly at odds with DePodesta this season. Cabot mentions that DePodesta contemplated leaving the organization because he wasn’t being heard, but owner Jimmy Haslam wanted him to stay, which led to the situation coming to a head.
  • As for assistant GM Eliot Wolf, Cabot writes that it remains to be seen whether he’s back with the team. However, Wolf was Dorsey’s “righthand man” so he too could be on the outs in Cleveland.
  • Cabot mentions that Eagles Vice President of Football Operations Andrew Berry is someone Haslam “loves” and he would align perfectly with DePodesta.
  • Wolf remains in his position for now, per NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo.
  • Cleveland has also reportedly fired VP Alonzo Highsmith. (Pat Leonard)
  • Highsmith is also a candidate for the chief of staff position at the University of Miami. (Barry Jackson)
  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer believes Patriots OC Josh McDaniels would take either the Browns or Panthers jobs if structured correctly. 
  • He adds McDaniels staff list includes Redskins OC Kevin O’Connell in the same position and Colts secondary coach Jonathan Gannon as defensive coordinator. 
  • However, multiple league sources believe the shift in power toward DePodesta has taken Cleveland out of the running for McDaniels. (Tony Grossi)
  • The Browns will interview former Packers HC Mike McCarthy on Thursday. (Cabot)
  • Browns TE David Njoku believes he still has a future with the team despite clashing with Kitchens and being effectively benched after returning off IR from a wrist injury: “It’s been a roller coaster for sure, but I’m blessed to be here.” (Nate Ulrich)
  • The Browns have a decision to make on Njoku’s fifth-year option this offseason. 


  • The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec notes that Ravens LB Patrick Onwuasor turned down a contract extension this offseason and bet on himself before losing his starting job in 2019. 
  • Ravens G Marshal Yanda said he will wait to address his potential retirement until after Baltimore is done playing: “It’s never been about me. I’m just taking it one day at a time. The retirement stuff, that’s something we’ll address after we stop playing.” (Jamison Hensley)


Steelers RB James Conner will be in the final year of his contract in 2020 and like most players in his position will be hoping for a contract extension. However, health is a major question mark from Pittsburgh’s point of view. Conner played in just 10 games and rushed for only 464 yards this season, and missed another three games in his breakout 2018 season. 

“He didn’t spend a lot of time on the field healthy,” Steelers HC Mike Tomlin said via ESPN’s Brooke Pryor. “That’s as much a part of the game as blocking and tackling. We’ll assess it and we’ll assess it with him as it pertains to him in an effort to minimize it and to what degree that we can moving forward.”

  • Tomlin said he feels comfortable entering 2020 with Mason Rudolph as the No. 2 quarterback, though he’s disappointed Rudolph missed as much time as he did due to injuries and poor performance. (Pryor)
  • Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger will have a milestone checkup into his recovery from an elbow injury around the beginning of February. (Pryor)
  • Tomlin added the Steelers want to find a way to retain LB Bud Dupree: “Make no mistake, Bud Dupree is a priority for us.” (Gerry Dulac)
  • Tomlin mentioned he will evaluate if he needs to bring in a quarterbacks coach this offseason. (Pryor)

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