- The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr. takes stock of the situation between the Bengals and S Jessie Bates, whose camp leaked Bates doesn’t plan to play on the franchise tag.
- Dehner writes it’s a clear attempt by Bates’ agent to put pressure on the Bengals and create leverage, although Cincinnati insulated themselves from a holdout pretty well by drafting S Daxton Hill in the first round.
- He’s doubtful the Bengals will pony up too much more than they’ve been offering so far ahead of the July 15 deadline for an extension, as they’ve failed to get a deal done with Bates on two separate occasions now. They’re also famously stubborn as an organization.
- A trade is a possibility, per Dehner, but he’s not sure how likely it is unless Cincinnati can get a first-round pick back. He adds Bates isn’t freezing out the coaches or creating any locker room issues right now.
- At the end of the day, Dehner believes Bates is too savvy a businessperson to leave $12.9 million guaranteed on the table by holding out into the regular season.
Browns HC Kevin Stefanski revealed to Bell that he asked GM Andrew Berry to do his best to draft him.
“You were the first guy I watched, and right away, I was like, ‘We need to get this guy,'” Stefanski told Bell on Building The Browns. “You can ask our GM. I was like, ‘This day needs to end with David Bell on our team.’ Just your ability to catch the ball, which I think is the best in the draft, your ability to get open and just who you are as a person, that fits who we are.”
“[Bell is] a very competitive player,” Stefanski said of Bell after rookie minicamp. “Catches the ball really well. We thought he had some savviness. When you’re looking at the draft, there are so many guys who can fit, and you better have a lot of guys who can fit in your scheme. It’s really what traits you feel like you can exploit, so to speak. We thought he was really competitive at the catch and has some versatility to play outside and inside.”
- According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, the Steelers are finishing interviews for their general manager job and plan to complete the hiring process this week.