AFC Notes: Bengals, Lamar Jackson, Ravens, Steelers


  • Per ESPN’s Dan Graziano, Bengals C Ted Karras has been a big hit so far after signing a three-year deal during free agency to join Cincinnati as the starting center. Said HC Zac Taylor: “He’s been phenomenal. Every team he’s played for, he’s been that favorite guy to have around and I can see why.”
  • Taylor also gave a shoutout to TE Hayden Hurst, another free agent addition this offseason: “He’s been a great matchup for us in the pass game. That’s something we feel like we can lean on this year…Hayden also brings a different element to the party where he’s got a little more speed and can be a really, really good pass target for us.”
  • Bengals de facto GM Duke Tobin told Graziano they didn’t take first-round S Daxton Hill to hedge against franchise S Jessie Bates holding out: “He was the best player available. Sometimes that fits a little bit more of an immediate need than it does at other times. But no, we’re counting on Jessie.”


Outkick’s Jason Cole, citing a source familiar with Ravens QB Lamar Jackson and the organization’s position on negotiations, reports Jackson is asking for a fully guaranteed contract worth more than Browns QB Deshaun Watson‘s $230 million deal. 

“Why wouldn’t he (ask for more than Watson)?” said Cole’s source. 

Cole’s source mentioned the NFLPA has provided counsel on a contract for Jackson, who is representing himself with his mother as the “guiding force.” 

  • Ravens HC John Harbaugh said that how RB J.K. Dobbins performs in the next two weeks will determine his timetable to return: “How he does in the next week to two weeks is going to tell the story. He’s got to get in shape. His leg got real tired yesterday just through the individual period just because he’s been rehabbing. The range of motion, quickness, extending it when he strides — those are the kind of things that will tell the story.” (Ryan Mink)


Steelers QB Mason Rudolph is looking forward to proving himself once more during the team’s preseason games.

“I think you’re always trying to prove yourself,” Rudolph said, via Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Every chance you get, you want to prove it. It’s one thing to do it in practice. It’s another to do it in a stadium. We have a lot of young guys, and I’m excited to lead those guys and make them feel comfortable out there when the bullets are flying.”

When asked about Steelers’ first-round QB Kenny Pickett, HC Mike Tomlin responded that the rookie must keep developing.

“He’s got talent, but there’s a difference between talent and skill,” said Tomlin, via Bob Labriola of the team’s official site. “And that’s what we’re trying to educate him and others regarding. God gives them the talent; we develop the skill in settings like this relative to the positions that they play.”

As for Pittsburgh’s injured players, Tomlin mentioned that those who are considered “day-to-day” still have that designation at this moment. 

“No, I think everyone who has been described as day-to-day can continue to be described in that way, and hopefully we’ll start getting some of those guys back sooner rather than later.”

  • Tomlin said QB Mitch Trubisky will start their preseason opener, while Rudolph will enter after a couple of series, followed by Pickett. (Mark Kaboly)

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