AFC Notes: Jessie Bates, Bengals, Browns, Steelers, Devin Bush


  • The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr. looks at the Bengals’ pending free agents, starting with LB Germaine Pratt. He had a breakout season in 2022 but seemed pessimistic about the chances of being back. He also expressed a desire to be a three-down player, which he was not with Cincinnati. 
  • Dehner writes the writing seems to be on the wall for Bengals S Jessie Bates, who expects another team to offer significantly more money than the Bengals will, particularly after they drafted S Daxton Hill in the first round this past offseason. 
  • Dehner is much more optimistic about the chances of the Bengals bringing back veteran S Vonn Bell even though they tend to not sign players to third contracts. Bell will still be only 28 and will be a lot cheaper than Bates. 
  • The match between the Bengals and CB Eli Apple has been a good one but Dehner notes Apple would be behind Cam Taylor-Britt and Chidobe Awuzie on the depth chart next season. But he also might not get a lot of starting interest elsewhere either. 
  • Dehner expects there to be a lot of mutual interest between the Bengals and TE Hayden Hurst on a new deal but points out Cincinnati won’t get in a bidding war and there’s a good chance they dip into a deep draft class. 
  • There’s also a high chance RB Samaje Perine returns, per Dehner, as he’s a valuable, inexpensive role player. 


  • ESPN’s Jake Trotter mentions the Browns will make a hard push to re-sign C Ethan Pocic after a great season stepping in for injury. 


  • When ranking the Steelers’ top impending free agents, Mark Kaboly of The Athletic believes CB Cameron Sutton is their most valuable player to retain after producing as an outside cornerback. Kaboly notes that Sutton’s market value is projected at $23 million over three years, which would likely garner interest from other teams in the open market. 
  • Kaboly notes S Terrell Edmunds said last month that he would like to “make things work” on an extension. Kaboly writes Edmunds is projected to earn $5.4 million per year. 
  • Kaboly mentions DL Larry Ogunjobis viability to be re-signed will depend on his health after dealing with several injuries last season. 
  • As for QB Mason Rudolph, Kaboly could see the quarterback looking for another option that gives him a better chance at earning a starting role. 
  • Kaboly thinks S Damontae Kazee could be in demand on the open market from teams looking for veteran depth. 
  • Kaboly believes LB Robert Spillane could have a market from teams looking for a “downhill off-ball linebacker.”
  • Regarding LB Devin Bush, Kaboly writes he’s been a “major disappointment” and is likely done in Pittsburgh. 
  • With DL Chris Wormley, Kaboly thinks the veteran lineman’s knee issues will scare off a lot of teams, which means Pittsburgh can likely return to him in the late stages of free agency. 

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