Good Morning, AFC North!

Good Morning, AFC North!
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Anthony Collins expected to sign with Buccaneers

Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Anthony Collins is expected to sign with the Buccaneers for between $6.5 million to $7 million provided that he doesn’t re-sign with the Bengals.

The Bucs are considering St. Louis Rams offensive lineman Rodger Saffold. He’s played right tackle, right guard and left tackle in his career, so the Bucs may try to sign both and have Collins play LT while Saffold plays at another spot. Saffold has reportedly told the Rams he’s not returning there.

The Washington Redskins are also expressing interest in Collins.

With the sudden increase in the 2014 salary cap, teams are willing to spend more money on players than they may be worth otherwise. Collins showed great promise playing LT last season, and $7 million isn’t too much to pay a potential franchise left tackle, but he hasn’t yet played an entire season at the position.





T.J. Ward has drawn interest from about a dozen teams

One team expected to pursue Ward is Denver, [where Tom Heckert, who drafted Ward], is now Director of Pro Personnel. Another team that’s checked into Ward is the Lions, [who] have only $10 million in cap space, and would probably need to restructure Ndamukong Suh to lure Ward.

Of the 11 teams, interest is strong from at least several. Others might not be able to meet his asking price — which could be upwards of $8 million a year.

With Sam Shields signing in Green Bay and Jarius Byrd’s price rising, the Browns should make a strong offer to Ward to help build and maintain their secondary.





Ravens, Eugene Monroe still talking about a potential deal

Sources predict [the] tackle market: Albert to Dolphins, Veldheer to Cardinals, Saffold to Raiders, Collins to Buccaneers, Monroe to Ravens.

The Ravens and Monroe have continued talks and a compromise between both sides could result in a deal somewhere between $8.5 million and $9 million.

However, with Veldheer linked to the Cardinals, the Raiders have been talking to Monroe’s representation over the weekend, as well as Saffold, [while the Bucs have talked to Collins and Saffold].

In other news, the Ravens and Albert McClellan agreed to a two year deal yesterday. After cutting Jameel McClain and waiting for free agent Daryl Smith to test free agency, the Ravens needed some proven depth.





Steelers ‘safety dance’ of building depth in defensive backfield through transactions

Since general manager Kevin Colbert took over in 2000, they have selected just two safeties in the draft who were not the results of trades – Chris Hope in 2002 and Ryan Mundy in 2008. Otherwise, the Steelers acquired Ryan Clark via free agency and traded up for Troy Polamalu in 2003 (with Kansas City) and Shamarko Thomas (Cleveland) and traded down forAnthony Smith in 2006 (with Minnesota).

It’s tough to tell which is more of the story here, how rarely the Steelers draft safeties or how often they make moves that result in the acquisition of a safety.

With Ryan Clark’s tenure in Pittsburgh presumed over, the Steelers have Polamalu, second year safety Shamarko Thomas and veteran depth Will Allen in the backfield. Also needing a cornerback, regardless of what happens to Ike Taylor, the Steelers may be looking for a safety via free agency. Given their history, they will maneuver through the draft as well.



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