AFC Notes: Bengals, Ravens, Steelers


  • The Athletic’s Jay Morrison notes the Bengals have drafted four kickers since 2000 which is the most in the NFL in that time span. 
  • The latest is fifth-round K Evan McPherson, who also is one of 19 kickers since 2000 to go in the fifth round or earlier, three of whom were drafted by the Bengals. 
  • Per Morrison, the Bengals got extra picks from trading down this past draft and that helped them feel comfortable with the idea of spending a draft pick on a kicker even though the history hasn’t favored that move.
  • Bengals special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons was in favor of the move because he thought a starting kicker would have more impact than anyone else they could have taken. McPherson is expected to win the job against Austin Seibert, a former fifth-round pick of the Browns: “I think that’s why you put draft picks on these guys like this. You expect them to come in and play for you right away. That’s what I fully expect with him.” 


  • Peter Schrager reports the Ravens were never one of the main teams interested in trading for Falcons’ WR Julio Jones.
  • The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec writes that while it’s hard to ever rule out the Ravens being interested in a tight end, Eagles TE Zach Ertz might not make sense for them given his $8.5 million salary and the draft compensation the Eagles are seeking in a trade. 
  • Other veteran acquisitions Zrebiec thinks make sense for the Ravens include DT P.J. Hall, DE Justin Houston, OLB Melvin Ingram, OLB Olivier Vernon and TE Delanie Walker
  • Zrebiec notes S Malik Hooker would make a lot of sense but adds that if he’s still unsigned at this point in the offseason, it either means he’s not fully healthy or his asking price is too big. 
  • Ravens RB Gus Edwards‘ two-year, $10 million extension includes a $3.75 million signing bonus, a new base salary of $1 million in 2021, and base salaries of $3.25 million in 2022 and $4.384 million in 2023. (Zrebiec)
  • New Ravens OT Ja’Wuan James will count just $250,000 against the cap this year and $3.25 million in 2022. James received a $500,000 signing bonus. (Zrebiec)
  • James has a base salary of $2.5 million if he makes the team next season and can earn up to $5 million in incentives. (Zrebiec)


Steelers’ C B.J. Finney says that Pittsburgh’s offensive line is coming into the season with much to prove, with rookie RB Najee Harris and a unit of lineman that have yet to be tested together in an NFL game.

“Honestly, that’s not just the talk in our room but across the whole building and the whole NFL,” Finney said, via Mark Kaboly of The Athletic. “Everybody is like ‘what is the Steelers run game going to look like? We know we have to come out with an edge and be nasty about it re-assert that run game and get back to what Pittsburgh is known for. That three yards and a dust cloud as Jerome Bettis would say, and when all the dust settles, they are all moving forward. We take pride in it, we are hungry, we know we have something to prove and we have a chip on our shoulders.”

  • The Athletic’s Ed Bouchette thinks there is reason for optimism about QB Ben Roethlisberger in 2021, as he believes the team and quarterback focused on short passing last year to help protect the veteran’s surgically repaired elbow. 

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