AFC North Notes: Browns, Ravens, Steelers

     

Browns

Despite the reaction by some observer, the Browns signing of QB Case Keenum was exclusively about bringing in a backup, with the added bonus of having someone experienced in new HC Kevin Stefanski‘s scheme to ease the transition. Keenum said Browns starting QB Baker Mayfield reached out as soon as he was signed to welcome him in. 

“Baker reached out as soon as the news broke, which really meant a lot to me,” Keenum said via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I’ve got a lot of respect for him for what he’s done on the field and off the field, too. First and foremost, I know my role coming in. That’s another great positive for me. I’m going to be ready to play. I feel like I’ve played at a high level for the last three years.”

New Browns OT Jack Conklin helped pave the way for Titans RB Derrick Henry last year when he surged past Conklin’s new teammate, RB Nick Chubb, for the NFL’s rushing title. Conklin says his goal is to help Chubb reach that milestone this year. 

“To be able to switch teams and have a guy who’s just as good [as Henry] and be able to have an opportunity to go win that record again next year, that’s my goal,” Conklin said via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. “I want to help us get there and help Chubb reach that goal and win that.”

  • One NFL executive said the Browns made sure to outbid everyone for TE Austin Hooper because he’s such a natural fit for Stefanski’s offense: “That offense needs easy yards over the middle and help in the red zone. They had to go out and get him. He’s not a superstar but is a quality tight end.” (Jeremy Fowler)

Ravens

  • The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec writes the Ravens will likely draft an inside linebacker at some point in the 2020 NFL Draft given they currently have just L.J. Fort, Chris Board, and Otaro Alaka on the roster at the position. 
  • Ravens DT Justin Ellis‘s one-year, $1.047 million deal includes $225,000 guaranteed through a $137,500 signing bonus and $87,500 of his $910,000 base salary is guaranteed. (Aaron Wilson)

Steelers

  • The Athletic’s Ed Bouchette and Mark Kaboly didn’t rule out former Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston signing with the Steelers if he was willing to come cheap. 
  • However, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler says a lot of league sources don’t see a strong fit, as Pittsburgh appears happy with its current backup options and haven’t traditionally prioritized the position. 
  • Steelers signed DT Cavon Walker and OL Jarron Jones. (NFLTR)
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