AFC Notes: Bengals, Baker Mayfield, Browns, Steelers


  • Per the Athletic’s Jay Morrison, Bengals exec Duke Tobin acknowledged the perception of their offensive line needing help: “We’re obviously gonna look to improve.”
  • However, Tobin also pushed back against the narrative that they were a complete liability, pointing out how highly their offense ranked in a number of statistical categories: “I know it’s a big story. I know they have taken some heat. I’ll give you some data points…The five guys up front, that’s all on them too. Not just sacks.” (Paul Dehner Jr.)
  • Tobin added: “We feel like we have the building blocks to be a perennial contender.” (Ben Baby)
  • Regarding Bengals S Jessie Bates, Tobin told reporters: “I’m not gonna break any news [about a tag] on Bates today… He’s a guy we want going forward.” (Morrison)


  • Scott Petrak of points out that re-signing potential free agent DE Jadeveon Clowney could determine whether or not the Browns draft a pass-rusher with the No. 13 pick in the upcoming draft.
  • Petrak is currently keeping an eye on Georgia’s Travon Walker, Purdue’s George Karlaftis and Florida State’s Jermaine Johnson as potential edge selections in round one.
  • As for the Browns’ needs, Petrak lists quarterback, wide receiver, defensive end, defensive tackle, tight end, offensive tackle, kicker, and punter as the top areas that should be addressed this offseason.
  • Browns GM Andrew Berry said QB Baker Mayfield is on track in his rehab from various injuries: “You guys know how hard he works. … He’s right on track. … We feel good about his progress.” (Jake Trotter)
  • Berry expects Mayfield to be the starter in 2022 and said it was too early to say if they were going to make any other additions at quarterback. (Petrak)
  • He added he believes Mayfield has shown in the past he can play at a high level and he thinks he’ll do that in 2022 if he’s healthy: “The reality of it is we’ve seen him play at a high level before. I think, being realistic, the injury does have some impact on his performance. But we’re focused on him getting healthy. We know he works. We think he’s talented.” (
  • Berry added Browns RT Jack Conklin is also right on, perhaps even a little ahead of, schedule in his rehab. (Nate Ulrich)
  • Berry praised Browns WR Jarvis Landry‘s productivity and leadership but wouldn’t commit to him being a part of the team’s future. (Ulrich)
  • Browns C J.C. Tretter is entering the final year of his deal. Berry said they’ll address contract issues soon but he expects Tretter to continue to be productive: “He’s been a starter for us since 2017 and we expect him to continue to play well.” (Ulrich)
  • Berry didn’t say if the Browns would tender restricted free agent RB D’Ernest Johnson. (Ulrich)
  • Berry has been in contact with DT Malik McDowell following his arrest this offseason but didn’t say if Cleveland would bring him back. (Ulrich)
  • Zach Berman reports the Eagles and Browns are planning joint practices in Cleveland during the 2022 NFL preseason.


  • The Athletic’s Ed Bouchette is doubtful the Steelers re-sign veteran G Trai Turner. However, he adds they should be in the market for one or two veterans to compete with young guards Kevin Dotson and Kendrick Green
  • Bouchette adds center is a need for the Steelers, as Green struggled there as a rookie and was replaced by J.C. Hassenauer.
  • Pittsburgh also needs a right tackle, as Bouchette notes Chukwuma Okorafor is a free agent and Zach Banner is a potential cap cut given how he’s played sparingly and could save the Steelers $5 million if released. 
  • The quality of the 2022 QB class has been panned but Steelers GM Kevin Colbert downplayed that narrative: “There’s going to be starting NFL quarterbacks in this class.” (Brooke Pryor)
  • Steelers DL Stephon Tuitt has expressed an interest in returning to play in 2022, per Colbert. (Mark Kaboly)

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