AFC Notes: Bengals, Browns, Lamar Jackson, Ravens, Steelers


  • The Bengals are a team that could take advantage of a deep tight end class this offseason. While they won’t be major spenders in free agency, aside from keeping their own talent, they could look to the draft as a solution for drafting eventual replacements for talent that could depart in the coming years. (Paul Dehner, Jr., The Athletic)
  • Ohio State OT Dawand Jones has scheduled seven top 30 visits so far, including with the Bengals. (Ryan Fowler)
  • The Bengals had a formal meeting with Texas DL Keondre Coburn at the NFL Combine, according to Ryan Fowler


  • Ohio State OT Dawand Jones has scheduled seven top 30 visits so far, including with the Browns. (Ryan Fowler)


The negotiations between the Ravens and QB Lamar Jackson have been unique for a few reasons. In addition to being a high-profile quarterback, which inherently makes the deal more complex, Jackson made the decision to represent himself without an agent. He also made guaranteed money a sticking point in a deal, looking for more than Browns QB Deshaun Watson‘s five-year, $230 million deal.

At one point, it seems like the Ravens were willing to go as high as five years, $250 million and $133 million guaranteed, per Yahoo Sports! Charles Robinson. He talked to some agents who offered some insight into how having an agent might have impacted the process for Jackson from there. 

“With Lamar, if they got to that $250 million deal over five years but it was only $130 million guaranteed, that’s their view of him,” one agent said. “At that point, the nuance would have been in the negotiating details. Can we cut off a year from the deal so he gets to free agency sooner? Can we get a no-franchise tag and a no-transition tag [clause]? We’re talking about mechanisms that allow him to make even more money and get to the market soon again. There’s always ways with an agent to skin a cat. … But when it comes to how Lamar valued himself, what we think as his agent doesn’t mean a f—ing thing. What you think in the media doesn’t mean a f—ing thing. What other players think doesn’t mean a f—ing thing. A player values himself a certain way and sometimes that’s the only way he can see. Eventually, that’s what he’s being blinded by. Lamar doesn’t want other people’s opinions or perspectives on his value. He has made that clear for five years.”

Another agent noted having a mediator to try and prevent either side from feeling like they have no options, which is where it seems like things are now, can be beneficial. 

“The last thing you want to do in a situation like this is back a team into a corner, where you’re so far apart that you’re basically just saying ‘no’ and asking them to negotiate against themselves,” the agent said. “Owners aren’t going to react well to that. Especially if you’re repeatedly asking them to do that. And with players, their ego is important in negotiations. You never want them to feel like they’re eating a sh—t sandwich during the process. It makes them feel bad about the negotiation and the job they did as players. There has to be some flexibility in the process. If you are backing an owner into a corner or the team is trying to make a player eat a sh-t sandwich, things will shut down in those situations. We have to go through the process of feeling out what each side is willing to budge on — both the team and your player. If the answer is nothing on both sides, it’s going to break down. Did anyone budge in this situation? Did only one side budge? Whatever happened, it definitely wasn’t enough flexibility from the team or Lamar or both, or they would have made more progress than they did.”

Another disadvantage for Jackson is that as his own agent, teams can’t tamper with him the same way they do other players. Tampering is technically illegal but it’s quite common as team officials and agents find a way to communicate via back-channels what they believe different players are worth. Jackson couldn’t go to the Combine and do that because he was under contract with Baltimore. He also doesn’t have anyone in his camp with connections to the other owners, who would have to sign off on a deal of this magnitude. 

“A deal like this becomes an intimate, one-on-one private conversation with owners,” another agent added. “Specifically, owners and only the power person in the building. It doesn’t involve the pro director or even the GM in most situations — this is about talking to the people who make the final decision. That’s why when you’re talking about a contract at this level, you’re really only able to hire seven or eight or 10 [agents] who can do this kind of deal. There’s only a few that have the owners on speed dial, or that go to the owner’s meetings, or have dinners with these owners in their private clubs, or that have sat with them on their yachts. There’s only a few agents that have the gravitas to sit with them and talk about the type of human being and player they are getting in these kinds of deals. Lamar is an incredible kid. You need an agent who can convey that [to an owner] in a situation like this.”


Penn State CB Joey Porter, Jr. said he’d love to be drafted by the Steelers and remain in Pittsburgh.

I think it would probably mean a lot for me and my family, being in the Pittsburgh area for a little bit now,” Porter said, via PFT. “Staying at home would mean a lot.

Porter added that even if he was drafted by a team like Baltimore, who’s Pittsburgh’s rival, he would consider it a blessing.

I really never had no ill will toward Baltimore,” Porter said. “That was probably more of my dad and since his whole rivalry with them. I just love the game of football, so if I end up there, that would be a blessing.

  • Ohio State OT Dawand Jones has scheduled seven top 30 visits so far, including with the Steelers. (Ryan Fowler)

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