AFC Notes: Bengals, Ravens, Lamar Jackson, Texans


  • Regarding the Bengals’ possible cap casualties, Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic notes that the organization will have a difficult choice to cut WR Tyler Boyd in order to save $8.9 million or retain the “heart and soul” of their team. 
  • Dehner also writes RB Joe Mixon will be a tough decision given he’s an aging running back and they can create $7.3 million in cap space and $5.5 million in dead money by releasing him. 
  • Dehner thinks the signs point to the Bengals releasing RT La’el Collins considering his age and injury history. Cincinnati would save $6.2 million in cap space and create $3.3 million in dead money by cutting him. 
  • As for CB Chidobe Awuzie and DE Trey Hendrickson, Dehner could only see the Bengals parting ways with them if “complications arise” from their current injuries. Awuzie is recovering from an ACL injury and Hendrickson has an issue with his wrist. 
  • Dehner views WR Tee Higgins as an extension candidate this offseason but thinks the likely outcome will be the receiver playing out the final year of his rookie deal. If Cincinnati decides early they won’t be able to extend Higgins, Dehner wouldn’t rule out a trade. 
  • He mentions Higgins is represented by agent David Mulugheta, who also represented S Jessie Bates
  • With LB Logan Wilson, Dehner believes he’s another extension candidate and could receive a contract before the start of the 2023 season, particularly because he shouldn’t be a guy who commands a top-market deal. 


Jeremy Fowler of ESPN says that after speaking with people at the Senior Bowl, most believe the Ravens should place the exclusive franchise tag on QB Lamar Jackson and work on a long-term extension.

However, if it becomes clear that an extension is not in the cards for them, they can entertain trade offers closer to the draft.

And it could become a standoff, because I wouldn’t expect him to sign the tag for a while,” an AFC exec tells Fowler. “And they will be so far apart in the guaranteed money.”

  • Fowler says it’s possible that the Ravens and Jackson could be as much as $100 million apart and trade calls will come in.
  • Fowler cautions that the negotiation process hasn’t heated up and is still “very early.”
  • As for free agency, Fowler mentions that the Ravens could try to get a receiver such as Packers’ Allen Lazard.


Texans HC DeMeco Ryans called Houston his dream job and believes that he and GM Nick Caserio can build a winning football team.

It’s a dream job because we can win here,” Ryans said, via ESPN. “And we’re going to win here by collaborating, working together and building it the right way with the right people.

Many of the players that Ryans played with together in Houston were in attendance for his introductory press conference.

It’s outstanding. It’s my former teammates that are here. It’s great to see all you guys here. The work we all put in together here,” Ryans said. “It means so much to me just to see you guys here and see your faces.

Texans CEO Cal McNair said Ryans exhibited what they’re looking for in a coach and mentioned his leadership and defensive scheme as two key factors for bringing him back to Houston.

This young man exhibited everything we wanted as far as leadership, football knowledge and led one of the top defenses for the last two years,” McNair said. “And he fits exactly what we’re looking forward to leading our team into the future.

Caserio said hiring Ryans was a no-brainer for the team.

What better person to lead this organization, lead this team, lead [our] players than DeMeco Ryans,” Caserio said. “So, I think everything that DeMeco exudes as a player, exhibited as a player, he’s done as a coach. His leadership is selflessness, his toughness, his team first mindset, his charisma.

Ryans is looking forward to putting his fingerprints on a young team that has the draft capital and cap space to significantly improve moving forward.

This is a young team; we were on the cusp. We got to add some pieces to what we’re doing here, but I’m so excited to get started and get to work with the young guys,” Ryans said. “And to build a winning program here with the Texans and I’m fired up. The excitement is real, and I can’t wait to get the work to get the coaching.

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