Good Morning, AFC North!

Good Morning, AFC North!
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Andrew Hawkins says goodbye to Cincinnati Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals have opted to not to match the Cleveland Browns’ offer for Andrew Hawkins. In eight games last year, he had just 12 receptions for 199 yards and no touchdowns after missing the first-half of the year with an ankle injury. In 2012, he caught 51 passes for 533 yards and four touchdowns.

A former standout at Toledo, Hawkins would be returning to northern Ohio after spending the first three years of his NFL career with the Bengals.

With AJ Green, Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones leading the way for the Bengals’ receiving core, Hawkins would have been competing for the fourth WR spot. For the money he commanded, the Bengals could afford to let him go.

In other news, the Bengals hosted free agent offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse yesterday. A 2011 fifth round Packers’ pick, Newhouse started 29 games in 2011 and 2012 before being relegated to a backup role in 2013, starting only 2 games. He’d likely be swing-tackle depth signing for the Bengals, who lost LT Anthony Collins.





Browns Reportedly Close to Meeting With DE Alex Carrington

Carrington would be a relatively high-profile signing, given the fact that he was a starter for Pettine at the beginning of last season. The Browns already have a ton of depth on the defensive line: Phil Taylor, Desmond Bryant, Ahtyba Rubin,Billy Winn, John Hughes, Ishmaa’ily Kitchen, and Armonty Bryant take up seven spots. It’s hard to imagine them carrying an eighth.

Kitchen would seem like the most expendable, but then, Rubin’s large contract has to also come to the forefront of attention again.

Carrington did start three games last season for Pettine, however, he tore his quadriceps and ultimately ended his season on IR. The Browns, who met with former Bill Aaron Berry, may be trying to find players familiar with Pettine’s system. Carrington is taking his time making a decision, having already met with the Steelers and Raiders; he surprisingly backed out of his Rams visit.





Ravens Offer Contract To Ed Dickson; Daniels an option?

Dickson has not accepted the offer as he has drawn interest from other teams, including the Buffalo Bills, New York Jets and the New York Giants, per the report.

It was assumed by many that the Ravens would only look to re-sign Dennis Pitta after last season. At the locker day clean out, even Dickson talked as if only Pitta would return. Dickson started 14 games [last season], and caught 25 passes for 273 yards and one touchdown.

On the first day of free agency, the Ravens were linked to veteran Owen Daniels, who was surprisingly cut by the Texans and obviously has ties to Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak. Daniels, if healthy after a broken fibula last season, could be paired with Dennis Pitta.

Daniels is a better option than Dickson, but whether or not he’s willing to accept a diminished role, and accompanying salary, is debatable. The Ravens are already paying Pitta, who was also sidelined last season (hip), to be their premier TE; they don’t need to invest more than minimally in another. Regarding Dickson, the draft, or an expanded role for FB/TE hybrid Kyle Juszczyk, would be a better option.





Steelers interested in FSU WR Kelvin Benjamin?

Several Steelers coaches, scouts and front office types, including Kevin Colbert, Mike Tomlin and Todd Haley, [were] speaking with one of the biggest high-risk-high-reward players in this year’s draft: Florida State wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin.

(Walter Football Scouting Report): Benjamin is mismatch nightmare. He has such daunting size that he is always open. Benjamin can get open downfield and get separation from defensive backs, but even when they cover him, he can make catches over them. With Benjamin’s size, leaping ability and body control, he is a fantastic red-zone weapon. If nothing else, Benjamin should be a touchdown-producer from the first day of his NFL career similar to Detroit Lions rookie tight end Joseph Fauria last year.

Benjamin has the potential to be a No. 1 receiver, but he is raw. Benjamin needs to improve his route-running, technique and hands. [FSU receiver Rashad] Greene was [QB, Jameis] Winston’s favorite receiver because he was more trustworthy than Benjamin, who was prone to some drops.

Given his raw talent, Benjamin is projected to be a mid to late first round draft pick, however, the 6’5″ 240 pound receiver has plenty of work to do on his game before he becomes the true number one receiver he has the potential to be.

In other news, DE Alex Carrington has yet to meet with the Rams, but is now being linked to the Browns. Both the Browns and Rams have plenty of depth on the line, while Pittsburgh lacks any, and could potentially offer him a greater role.



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