AFC Notes: Bengals, Browns, Ravens

     

Bengals

The Bengals and CB Trae Waynes agreed to a three-year, $42 million deal in free agency this year. However, Waynes has yet to actually sign that deal because Cincinnati wants to have physicals for free agents conducted at the team facility. 

“That sh–‘s terrible. It’s still going on for me,” Waynes said on the Behind the Mask Podcast, via SI.com’s James Rapien. “I signed here, but I ain’t really sign here. It was cool at first and I’m thinking it’ll be done and over with. Ninety percent of the league, it’s done for them. I know Cincy and a couple of other teams, they still ain’t pay nobody or let them take their physicals, so it’s technically still going on.”

While Waynes remains unsigned, he also remains without protection. There’s already a fair number of players who have suffered injuries while working out this offseason, so Waynes’ agent has advised him to take every precaution. That puts the corner in a difficult position. 

“How am I supposed to make myself better, without being able to push myself the way I want to push myself to have success?” Waynes said. “For me, the free agent thing, it was cool, I was excited for it, but it’s been a (expletive) headache since it really started.”

Browns

  • According to Pro Football Talk, a league source says the Browns are probably out of the running for free-agent DE Jadeveon Clowney after reworking DE Olivier Vernon‘s deal.
  • Vernon was set to make $15.25 million in the final year of his deal in 2020 but none of it was guaranteed. The Browns guaranteed him $11 million and a place on the roster with the new deal. 
  • While it doesn’t necessarily preclude Cleveland from having enough cap space to sign Clowney, depending on the pass rusher’s contract asks, it does leave less of a role for Clowney given the Browns already have star DE Myles Garrett on the other side. 

Ravens

Ravens QB Lamar Jackson entered the NFL with his fair share of doubters despite running circles around the college football world for two years. Jackson was the fifth quarterback taken in the first round in 2018, falling all the way to pick 32. The Ravens even passed on him twice before trading back to pick him. Jackson may have been the NFL’s MVP in 2019, but he’s still got a chip on his shoulder from those past slights. 

“We had this conversation when I first saw him this offseason,” Jackson’s private QB coach, Joshua Harris, said via Bleacher Report’s Brent Sobleski. “I told him, ‘Well, now you know you’re the MVP.’ He looked at me strangely because we never talk about accolades. He responded, ‘What do you mean, Coach?’ He might have been a target before because he’s the quarterback, but he’s going to have a huge target on his back, and they’re going to prepare more for your game.

“He explicitly said to me, ‘They’re preparing for me, but I’m preparing more for them. I’m going to keep a chip on my shoulder.’ He remembers being in that room before becoming the 32nd overall pick. That fuels all of his preparation and where his mindset is. He doesn’t see himself as the MVP; he sees himself as the fifth quarterback taken in his draft class.”

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