AFC Notes: Bengals, Browns, Steelers



  • The NFL and NFLPA are discussing a 2021 salary cap floor of $175 million, which is down from the $198.2 million this year. It’s possible that the figure could be pushed higher, depending on the revenue losses incurred by the league from the 2020 season.
  • Jason Fitzgerald of projects the Bengals to have $55,780,368 of cap space next year, assuming the cap is set at $175 million.


  • Mary Kay Cabot of writes that the Browns should attempt to swing a trade for Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue, who has requested a trade out of Jacksonville.
  • Cabot believes the Browns have likely inquired about Ngakoue, considering that new Browns GM Andrew Berry has been aggressive in finding ways to upgrade the team’s roster.
  • While the Seahawks gave up two first-round picks, a third-round pick and a safety for Jamal Adams on Saturday, Cabot thinks the Browns should be able to acquire Ngakoue for “significantly less.” Although, she admits the Jaguars would likely want multiple picks for him.
  • The Browns have shown interest in Jadeveon Clowney and agreed to a restructured contract with Olivier Vernon. Even so, Cabot believes Ngakoue could really improve the team’s pass rush.
  • Cabot mentions that Cleveland could offer the Jaguars a combination of picks and players for Ngakoue. Although, she says Jacksonville is not believed to be interested in Browns tight end David Njoku, who’s also asked to be traded.


  • The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly notes a 2021 salary cap of $175 million would be rough on the Steelers, who are already a projected $23 million over the cap next year. 
  • That puts a significant handicap on their ability to re-sign pending free agents like WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, EDGE Bud Dupree, RB James Conner, DL Cam Heyward, CB Mike Hilton, OL Matt Feiler, CB Cam Sutton and OL Zach Banner
  • It also puts players like LB Vince Williams and TE Vance McDonald potentially on the chopping block as mid-tier veterans. 
  • Kaboly adds the Steelers could be forced to have EDGE T.J. Watt play out his deal and use the franchise tag to buy more time to negotiate. Watt will be playing out his fifth-year option in 2021. 

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