Good Morning, AFC North!

Good Morning, AFC North!
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Michael Johnson not coming back to Cincinnati

General: The Bengals are making a handful of introductory calls to potential backup players. Don’t bank on them signing anyone until well after free agency starts on Tuesday. They’ve developed a keen sense on ensuring that the market sets the value for players.

Michael Johnson: [Confirmed via two independent sources], Johnson won’t be going to Philadelphia this year. Johnson’s price range is too much for the Eagles. The Minnesota Vikings remain clear-cut favorites for landing Johnson but there are at least five additional unnamed teams that are talking with Johnson’s agent, including teams that are using a base 3-4 defense.

Collins: The Miami Dolphins have inquired about four offensive linemen, including Eugene Monroe, Jared Veldheer, Rodger Saffold and Brandon Albert. If Albert signs with the Dolphins, Collins could be in play in Arizona.

Expect more rumors and speculation today.





Browns interested in Schaub?

Schaub would be a high-end stopgap option. Does this indicate they don’t like Brian Hoyer? That’s an interesting angle to look at things from, but an even more interesting angle is the one that involves Kyle Shanahan, who coached Schaub during his best days.

 I doubt Schaub has any intention of being a backup, so I think the dots mostly connect to Oakland.

There’s little to no upside in bringing in Schaub for a short stint at QB. Hoyer can accomplish as much, if not more, than Schaub can.





Ravens have money to spend and decisions to make

“If there’s a free agent that we feel like can come in and impact our football team, that’s something we would be attracted to,” Newsome said at the NFL scouting combine last month in Indianapolis. “We will use every avenue this year to make our team better.”

Offensive line potential targets: Offensive tackles — Branden Albert, Anthony Collins, Eugene Monroe, Jared Veldheer; Guards — Jon Asamoah, Zane Beadles, Geoff Schwartz; Centers — Brian de la Puente, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Jonathan Goodwin

Receiving options: Wide receivers — Julian Edelman, Hakeem Nicks, Andre Roberts,Emmanuel Sanders, Golden Tate, Tight ends — Jermichael Finley, Garrett Graham

The article breaks down each position in-depth, from who is currently on the roster, how incumbents performed and how the units fared last season.





Steelers defense doesn’t make the grade in 2013 review

The Steelers slid from No. 2 in rushing defense in 2012 to No. 21, allowing 1,849 yards, the most they’ve permitted since 1999. With so many high-priced players on his defense allowing such alarmingly high rushing totals, team president Art Rooney II is concerned, as he cited the defense’s failure to halt the run as being a major disappointment.

Polamalu was the highest-graded player on defense during a comeback season, and Cam Heyward drew high grades across the board in pass and run coverage and pass rushing. Cornerback William Gay was the third-highest rated player on defense behind Polamalu and Heyward.

Cornerback Ike Taylor and safety Ryan Clark slumped badly. By far the lowest-rated player on defense was free agent-to-be Ziggy Hood.

The Steelers need to continue shedding overpriced veterans. With what appears to be a strong 2013 draft, the Steelers will build the defense around a new core.



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