AFC Notes: Bengals, Ravens, Steelers



  • The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr. writes that Bengals DE Carl Lawson and CB William Jackson are clear candidates for the franchise tag this year. However, he leans toward Lawson getting the tag if Cincinnati uses it given they’ve never tagged a corner and have twice tagged defensive ends since 2005. 
  • He also adds there’s a case for Cincinnati using neither given Lawson and Jackson aren’t top five players at their position. But it would give them more time to negotiate an extension with whichever player they tag. 


Ravens OLB Tyus Bowser only had two sacks last season and his career-high is still the five he had the year before that. But the former second-round pick did snag three interceptions in 2020 and developed into overall more of a consistent starter, which is well-timed as he enters his contract year. 

“I’m an athlete. I think about this stuff,” Bowser told Inside Access on 105.7 with Jason LaCanfora and Ken Weinman. “I’ve seen other guys go through it. In these trying times, you think about a lot of things. I definitely want to be back, being with a great organization in Baltimore. I like what I was able to establish there. I understand also that it’s a business and I have to weigh my options. I’m just kind of sitting back really and let everything unfold. At this point, all I can do is wait.”


Steelers GM Kevin Colbert has been going year-to-year for a couple of years now. His current contract is set to expire following the 2021 NFL Draft and he would seem to be in line for another one-year extension. But he says that will come later this offseason and isn’t a priority right now. 

“We didn’t do good enough. That is the evaluation I’m making on myself,” Colbert said via Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Art [Rooney II] and I will discuss it at the appropriate time. Now, we need to focus on the team. I’m signed through the end of May. We’ll have plenty of time to sort through that.”

  • The Athletic’s Ed Bouchette calls the proposition of the Steelers signing former Texans DE J.J. Watt a “concocted, fairytale story merely because his brothers play for [Pittsburgh].” 
  • The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly mentions that he wouldn’t be surprised if Steelers C Maurkice Pouncey comes out of retirement at some point closer to the start of the seasons given how much he loves football. 
  • Steelers HC Mike Tomlin and members of his coaching and scouting staff were sent home from their team facilities on Wednesday “out of caution” due to several positive COVID-19 tests within the organization. (Gerry Dulac)
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