AFC Notes: Bengals, Browns, Ravens, Steelers

     

Bengals

  • The Athletic’s Jay Morrison lists some potential cap casualties from other teams who could be fits for the Bengals, including Broncos DT Jurrell Casey, Lions CB Justin Coleman, Eagles WR Marquise Goodwin, Rams RT Rob Havenstein, Jets G Alex Lewis, Chargers G Trai Turner and Giants G Kevin Zeitler
  • A number of those players have past familiarity with Bengals coaches, including Havenstein who overlapped with HC Zac Taylor for two years in Los Angeles and Lewis who worked for new OL coach Frank Pollack with the Jets. Zeitler of course started his career with the Bengals in 2012. 
  • ESPN’s Dan Graziano says not to be surprised if the Bengals work out some sort of deal to bring back WR A.J. Green, albeit at a much lower salary. 
  • It’s worth pointing out most of the Bengals beat reporters have indicated the team is more likely to move on from Green, so this is the first indication otherwise from anyone. 

Browns

Ravens

  • ESPN’s Jamison Hensley thinks the Ravens may be more likely to go after someone in the second tier of receivers in free agency like Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins or Bengals WR A.J. Green rather than make a big run at someone like Bears WR Allen Robinson.
  • Hensley points out current Ravens director of player personnel George Kokinis was the GM of the Browns when they drafted C Alex Mack in the first round. Mack just finished the final year of a contract with the Falcons and should be available. 
  • Hensley mentions Colts TE Trey Burton and Cardinals TE Dan Arnold as some low-cost receiving options Baltimore could look to add. 
  • The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec notes the Ravens are experts at navigating the compensatory pick formula, which makes them a team to watch as a landing spot for potential cap casualties who don’t count as qualifying free agents for those calculations. 
  • He notes Eagles TE Zach Ertz would make sense if the Eagles can’t find a trade partner and have to release him, as Baltimore inquired about a trade for Ertz at midseason last year. 
  • Other options include Rams RT Rob Havenstein (a Maryland native), Eagles WR Alshon Jeffery, Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph, Packers OLB Preston Smith, Giants G Kevin Zeitler, Buccaneers TE Cameron Brate, Raiders G Gabe Jackson, Chargers G Trai Turner, Chiefs RT Mitchell Schwartz and of course former Texans DE J.J. Watt.

Steelers

  • Steelers GM Kevin Colbert said a lot of things about QB Ben Roethlisberger and his status with the organization. He also made it clear Pittsburgh is still looking to compete in 2021, per ESPN’s Brooke Pryor: “Whatever team we come up with in 2021, hopefully, we’re not talking about losing a first-round playoff game.”
  • To get there, though, Colbert said improving the running game is a major priority: “The group of guys we had last year did not produce a good running game. To put out the type of running game we did, nobody was good enough.” (Gerry Dulac)
  • Colbert acknowledged they’re working through a lot of uncertainty on the offensive line with C Maurkice Pouncey retiring, LT Alejandro Villanueva and OL Matt Feiler looking at free agency and OT Zach Banner rehabbing a torn ACL: “It’s our biggest area of losses.” (Dulac)
  • Pittsburgh’s cap issues are so severe Colbert doesn’t anticipate having the franchise tag at his disposal. (Bob Labriola)
  • Asked about potentially signing former Texans DE J.J. Watt to team him up with his other two brothers, Colbert didn’t give much of an answer: “TJ is our guy, Derek is with us. Whether or not we can ever add anybody, I’d hate to talk about it because it’s just speculation at this point.” (Pryor)
  • Colbert notably praised how backup QB Mason Rudolph performed in his one start in 2020: “The game he started this year was the best game he has played for us. It was very encouraging to see him play the way he did in the Cleveland game.” (Labriola)
  • Because of the shift to new OC Matt Canada, Colbert says the Steelers will have to change how they evaluate offensive prospects: “We will be looking at different players differently than what we currently have.” (Dulac)
  • Because of that, Pittsburgh will be gradually transitioning into Canada’s full system over a couple of seasons. (Mark Kaboly)
  • The Steelers let go of player engagement coordinator Terry Cousins after six years with the organization. (Aditi Kinkhabwala)
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