AFC Notes: Bengals, Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger

     

Bengals

When asked about the Bengals addressing the offensive line this offseason, HC Zac Taylor said they are still determining the potential market and players they plan on moving on from. 

We just have to do a great job of assessing what’s out there. It’s not about us saying, ‘We’ve got to do this one thing’ without having gotten into it yet. We’ve still got to get through that process where we study what’s going to be available. Guys get cut and all sorts of other stuff. There’s still a lot that can change on that front. I’m very careful to say exactly what we have to do right now. It’s all going to fit together over the next four months, whether it’s free agency or the draft. We’ve got our internal plan in place where we want to make sure we see that through over these next few months,.” said Taylor, via Jay Morrison of The Athletic

Regarding the Bengals need for an edge rusher in addition to coverage players, Taylor feels they would’ve benefitted mightily from having a better pass rush last season and is hopeful to find players which “complement each other on both sides.” 

They’re both very important. To be able to close out some games and get a great pass rush, that would have helped a couple times last year certainly. The injury bug just hit us there at the interior part of the defensive line. It all fits together. If you’ve got great edge rushers, you still want guys who can push the pocket, too, to help make their jobs a little easier. You’ve got to be able to complement each other on both sides. So that’s certainly an area we’ll be looking at this offseason.

Taylor said they would like to re-sign impending free agents CB William Jackson and DE Carl Lawsonadding that it’s possible to bring back both players. 

Those are two guys we think highly of, and we want them to be Bengals for certain,” said Taylor. “I think you have to look at the whole scope of things and hopefully, we can work it all out.”

As for Bengals QB Joe Burrow‘s recovery from knee surgery, Taylor said the rookie has been around the team facilities “quite a bit” for his rehab. 

He’s been around quite a bit. He does everything he can possibly do right now. He’s adamant about that. The last I saw him was probably two weeks ago, and everything’s positive. He’s obviously very positive about it. Everything seems to be on pace. I’m very careful to make predictions, but everything has been positive so far. We haven’t necessarily been sitting down and talking. We’ve been busy interviewing coaches and our routine has not been normal at all, where we’re in the building from 8 to 5. It hasn’t been like that since the season ended. So there’s not some routine where we’ve been in on certain days when he comes in. It’s been more just phone conversations,” said Taylor. 

Taylor mentioned that the Bengals are still looking to hire its next running backs coach.

“We’re still working through it. We’ve talked to a lot of guys. We’ll keep at it these next couple of days, weeks, however it shakes out,” said Taylor. 

Ben Roethlisberger

  • Mark Kaboly writes that one option for Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger contract situation would be to sign a two-year extension with a “hefty roster bonus” and include a base salary of just $1 million. 
  • Kaboly adds that another possibility is restructuring his 2021 salary to spread $18 million out over three years in order to reduce this year’s cap hit to $29 million from $41.25 million. 
  • Kaboly mentions that structuring his contract that way would prevent the Steelers from being tied to Roethlisberger past 2021 but adds $12 million in dead money going forward. 

Steelers

  • Steelers’ owner Daniel Rooney on a possible rebuild for the franchise: “We’re going to try and build a championship team to go into next year. Whether we can do that or not remains to be seen, but we’re not going to sit here and say, Okay, we’re three years away. I mean, we’re just not going to look at it that way.” (Mark Kaboly)
  • Rooney also spoke about the negative ending to Pittsburgh’s season against the Browns in the playoffs: “Looking at the playoff game, when you turn the ball over 4 times in the first half, you’re not going to beat very many people. Take nothing away from the Cleveland Browns. They have a good team. But we just didn’t give ourselves a chance. Don’t need to overanalyze that.” (Kaboly)

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