Good Morning, AFC North!

Good Morning, AFC North!
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Andrew Hawkins Getting Attention

Injuries shortened his 2013 campaign, but he did have some great plays to add to his resume. With the season over, the restricted free agent was tendered the lowest salary with original round compensation by the Bengals. If another team makes an offer, the Bengals have the right to match it, but would receive no compensation in return if they decline to match the offer.

 The Washington Redskins, led by Hawkins’ former offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, know what the diminutive speedster can do, and could use him to open up his offense. Another team rumored to be interested is the New York Jets.

The Bengals should try to keep Hawkins.





Seven defensive backs could attract interest from Cleveland

Safeties under contract: Tashaun Gipson, Josh Aubrey, Johnson Bademosi, Jordan Poyer and Jamoris Slaughter. Gipson is likely to remain a starter and Aubrey and Poyer could be in the training-camp mix.

CBs under contract: Haden, Buster Skrine, Leon McFadden, Julian Posey, Royce Adams, T.J. Heath and Brandon Hughes.

Jairus Byrd, S, (27) Buffalo Bills – The three-time Pro Bowler is a ball-hawking safety.He’s arguably the biggest prize available and might command an $8-plus million per year payday.

T.J. Ward, S, (27) Browns – Few strong safeties play a more physical game. Given Seattle’s success in the playoffs other teams will be looking for intimidating secondary members. His coverage skills get knocked but Ward rarely gets [beaten] deep.

Donte Whitner, S, (28) San Francisco 49ers – He plays a similar style to Ward in that he loves to hit. One thing in his favor is Whitner’s durability. He’s missed just one game in the past four years.

Alterraun Verner, CB, (25) Tennessee Titans –  He wants to join a team “that I think can win.”

Vontae Davis, CB, (26) Indianapolis Colts – It’s hard to believe the Colts would let the cornerback get to market but it could happen.

Captain Munnerlyn, CB, (25) Carolina Panthers

Darrelle Revis (28), CB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The Bucs reportedly are shopping the cornerback and they might wind up releasing him.

The Browns should upgrade their secondary before the draft.





Ravens’ news, notes and opinions: free agency edition

Graham is quick, tough, smart and he has really good ball skills. The Ravens would like to bring him back, but Graham wants to be a starting corner, which he wouldn’t be in Baltimore behind Lardarius Webb and Jimmy Smith.

Tight end Ed Dickson is seemingly heading into free agency at the worst possible time, coming off a season in which he had just 25 catches in 16 games.

Pettigrew would be a really good fit for the Ravens [and Kubiak’s system], though I highly doubt that they’d be willing [to pay a lot of money for a number two TE].

Multiple reports have linked defensive end Arthur Jones with the Indianapolis Colts.

Jacoby Jones is drawing plenty of interest from other teams. Also of note, Steve Smith (Carolina) is reportedly on the trading block, and may be released if no trade occurs.





Steelers an estimated $8 million under 2014 salary cap after Ike Taylor’s paycut

Ike Taylor’s recent paycut saved $4.75 million on this year’s cap, which puts the Steelers at about $8.1 million under with just hours until the start of free agency (4 p.m. ET Tuesday).

There is still the possibility of coming to terms on a long-term deal with transition-tagged linebacker Jason Worilds, who currently is counting for $9.75 million against the cap – the third-highest figure on the team after Ben Roethlisberger is at $18.9M and Lawrence Timmons is at $11.8M.

 LaMarr Woodley will be released as a post-June 1 designation, giving [Worids] a starting job. If that deal is struck before 4 p.m. ET Tuesday, the Steelers could be looking at around $12.5 million in cap space – depending on what Worilds would need to sign.

Worilds seems amenable to staying with the Steelers, as he signed his transition tag offer the same day it was offered. By doing so, he cannot take part in the initial stages of free agency.



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