AFC Notes: Bengals, Browns, Ravens, Steelers

     

Bengals

Through the first few days of free agency, the Bengals were active. But they didn’t address their biggest need on the offensive line with any of their early signings, watching many of the top players on the market get snapped up in the process. So there was a little extra riding on OT Riley Reiff‘s visit to Cincinnati and Bengals HC Zac Taylor acknowledged he was an important signing. 

“I think we did a really good job being patient,” Taylor said via the Athletic’s Jay Morrison. “You know, there were some really high-end players that you’d love to add to the fold. And we got one in Riley Reiff. So, just being patient throughout the process, we had several needs we wanted to address. I think we were patient and got what we wanted. If you asked us last week how we’d hope this would turn out, it would look like it does today. And so it doesn’t matter how you got there. We got there.”

Taylor added the plan right now is for Reiff to replace Bobby Hart at right tackle while former first-rounder Jonah Williams stays at left tackle. But for now, that’s written in pencil and not ink. The Bengals have been linked to Oregon LT Penei Sewell as a possibility with the No. 5 pick. Sewell could either start his career out at guard and move out to tackle later like the Bengals have done with other players in the past. Or someone like Reiff or Williams could move inside. 

“The thing that you love about those two guys is they’re extremely flexible,” Taylor said. “They would do whatever you asked them to do, play guard, center, play right tackle, play left tackle. They just want to help the team win. And so when you have guys like that, it puts you in a tremendous position to be flexible throughout the process. But both those guys are gonna have great futures for us at those positions.”

“I told them I would play wherever,” Reiff confirmed. “I am open to anything. I am just here to protect Joe and win a lot of football games. I played guard in college. Wherever they ask me to play I will step in and play.”

  • The Bengals have not reached out to former Chargers G Trai Turner about their need at the position. (Tyler Dragon)

Browns

  • According to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, Browns CB Troy Hill‘s four-year deal is actually a two-year deal, as the 2023 and 2024 years are set to void.
  • Hill receives a $3.5 million signing bonus and has base salaries of $1 million (guaranteed) and $4.5 million, plus an additional $1 million in incentives based on playing time, team improvement and the playoffs. 

Ravens

  • Per Pro Football Talk, no one else vying for WR Kenny Golladay was even in the neighborhood of the four-year deal worth $18 million a year that the Giants gave him. 
  • The Bengals had a one-year deal for about $13 million on the table, while the Bears will willing to do one year and $11-12 million. The Ravens were mentioned as a candidate but the sense was their interest was more of a smokescreen.
  • The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec writes he gets the sense the Ravens aren’t done making additions at wide receiver and tight end. 
  • He points out there are also a few connections to former Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins who visited the Ravens Monday night. Pass game specialist Keith Williams has worked as Watkins’ personal WR coach and he played for OC Greg Roman with the Bills. (Zrebiec)
  • Zrebiec also thinks the Ravens will address their edge rush in both the draft and in free agency. 

Steelers

  • The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly expects the Steelers to add a running back one way or another, either in the draft or in free agency after the draft. 
  • Kaboly says the current plan is for Chukwuma Okorafor to start at left tackle but there’s a chance he could be unseated by a potential first-round pick in the draft. 
  • At outside linebacker, Kaboly points out things are bare with long snapper Christian Kuntz the only other player on the depth chart behind T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith. Kaboly expects the Steelers to bring back Cassius Marsh and Jayrone Elliott for depth but doesn’t know if they’ll dip into an older free agent pool at the position as well. 
  • Kaboly writes that while losing CB Steven Nelson will be unexpected, he doesn’t think the Steelers will make cornerback a priority as a response. He highlights former third-round CB Justin Layne and James Pierre as some depth options who will be leaned on in bigger roles. 
  • Steelers OL Joe Haeg signed a two-year, $4.6 million contract that includes a $1 million signing bonus and base salaries of $1 million (2021) and $2.1 million (2022). He also gets a $500,000 roster bonus on the fifth day of the 2022 league year. (Aaron Wilson)

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