The Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers start their three-day rookie minicamps today, and the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals will hold theirs next weekend. I'm planning to stop by to see the newest Ravens this afternoon. It's crazy to see the birth dates of these rookies. Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell was born in February 1992. I was in college at that time. But I digress. Let's move on to the wake-up call ...
RAVENS: Offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie reached a two-year agreement worth a maximum value of $7 million, according to The Baltimore Sun. A source told the paper that the deal includes incentive clauses and workout bonuses. McKinnie's agent, Michael George, said: "We worked very hard to get him back there. Bryant had offers from other teams (Chargers and Dolphins). In the end, this was the best situation for him. He's real happy. I know they are." Click right here to read my take on the Ravens keeping McKinnie.
BENGALS: The Bengals announced they will hold combined practices with the Falcons before their preseason opener at Atlanta. The two teams will conduct workouts together on Aug. 5 and 6 at the Falcons' training facility, then play their first preseason game at the Georgia Dome on Aug. 8. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis had Falcons coach Mike Smith on his defensive staff in Baltimore from 1999 to 2001. “I’m glad we were able to work this out with Mike and the Falcons,” Lewis said, via the team's official website. "We’ve done some joint practices with other teams in Cincinnati in the past, and I think it helps our guys stay sharp and focused as we move through the preseason. You put yourself on the field with another team and let the competitive juices flow a little bit.”
STEELERS: How badly did the Steelers want Syracuse safety Shamarko Thomas in the draft? Pittsburgh traded a third-round pick in 2014 in order to select Thomas in the fourth round this year. According to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, it was the first time since 1973 that the Steelers traded a future draft pick. The Steelers, though, expect to receive third- and fourth-round compensatory picks in 2014 for wide receiver Mike Wallace, running back Rashard Mendenhall and cornerback Keenan Lewis."We viewed him as valuable as a third-round pick would be," general manager Kevin Colbert said of Thomas.
BROWNS: Tony Grossi of ESPN Radio in Cleveland believes the drafting of LSU's Barkevious Mingo with the No. 6 overall pick will affect linebacker Jabaal Sheard's playing time the most. "If Mingo is as good as the Browns expect, he will relegate Sheard – at some point early in his career -- to a rotational sub off the bench," Grossi wrote. Grossi also reports that rookie cornerback Leon McFadden (third round) could push Trevin Wade off the roster and free safety Jamoris Slaughter (sixth round) could do the same to Eric Hagg.