AFC Notes: Bengals, Ravens, Steelers


The Bengals went into free agency with the goal of keeping as much of their team together as possible. They had high hopes about being able to re-sign S Vonn Bell, LB Germaine Pratt, TE Hayden Hurst, and RB Samaje Perine, but ended up going 1-4 out of that group as their markets were stronger than expected. With a little more cash on hand than expected, an opportunity fell into their laps when the agent for LT Orlando Brown Jr. called to see if they’d be interested. 

“Kind of a no-brainer from a talent standpoint, this is a guy the coaches would be interested in,” Bengals HC Zac Taylor said via the Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr. “It was more hopeful than realistic.”

It quickly became apparent that landing Brown wasn’t a pipe dream. Perhaps in lieu of the money he expected not to be out there, Brown had a high level of interest in coming to Cincinnati to play with QB Joe Burrow.

“The biggest thing with him was he wanted to have a chance to win more Super Bowls,” Bengals director of pro personnel Steve Radicevic said. “He wanted to play with Joe.”

Brown ultimately was willing to take a record $31 million signing bonus in exchange for a rather ordinary $16 million per year average annual salary. He added the fact that Cincinnati saw him as a left tackle was also crucial. 

“For me, I just want to be a franchise left tackle,” he said. “I want to win football games. I want to win Super Bowls. … Once I heard it was Cincinnati, this is a tough opportunity to pass up, regardless.”

  • According to Aaron Wilson, the Bengals signed S Nick Scott to a three-year, $12 million deal that includes a $3 million signing bonus.
  • Bengals DB coach Rob Livingston on S Dax Hill: “Glad some of his highs were high and his lows were low. Start with a chip on your shoulder and be ready to go. I have a lot of stresses and worries in my life and he’s not one of them. He’s a first-round pick for a reason.” (Paul Dehner)


  • NBC Sports’ Peter King has not yet heard of a shred of interest from other teams in discussing an offer sheet with Ravens QB Lamar Jackson.
  • The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec points out how inactive the Ravens have been in free agency and writes they could be ensuring they have the salary cap flexibility to match any offer sheet Jackson receives. 
  • Zrebiec adds the Ravens have also used void years even for cheap deals, a significant departure from past precedent for them. 
  • The Ravens have a top-30 visit scheduled with Purdue CB Cory Trice. (Ryan Fowler)
  • UAB RB DeWayne McBride has a top-30 visit scheduled with the Ravens. (Matt Zenitz)


  • The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly guesses new Steelers G Isaac Seumalo will take over on the left side, though both he and current Steelers RG James Daniels have experience playing either side. Inserting Seumalo on the left would keep continuity for the right side of Pittsburgh’s line. 
  • Kaboly thinks Steelers LT Dan Moore remains the odds-on favorite to remain the starter, though there are still some free agents available and a possible draft pick to dodge. 
  • Kaboly is very confident the Steelers will extend OLB Alex Highsmith, calling a new contract “pretty much a done deal,” although that seems to be more of an expression rather than a literal report. Kaboly also thinks the Steelers would be interested in bringing back OLB Bud Dupree, even if it’s later this offseason.  
  • The Steelers announced they have named Jason Brooks as defensive quality control coach and promoted Denzel Martin to OLB coach.
  • New Steelers LB Elandon Roberts says he has a great relationship with Brian Flores, which made Pittsburgh his top choice despite other teams being interested in signing him. (Brooke Pryor)
  • Minnesota CB Terell Smith has formally met with the 49ers, Dolphins, Jaguars, and Steelers. He also has top-30 visits scheduled with the Commanders and Vikings. (Justin Melo)

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