Saturday, March 17, 2012
AFC North morning roundup
By Jamison Hensley
A look at what's happening around the AFC North:
BENGALS: The team has yet to sign anyone after seven visits with players: Defensive linemen Kendall Langford (Dolphins), Andre Fluellen (Lions) and Jamaal Anderson (Colts); guard Jacob Bell (Rams); cornerbacks Aaron Ross (Giants), Tracy Porter (Saints) and Jason Allen (Texans). According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, the visits with Ross and Langford "went well," but both left without contracts. Langford is visiting the Rams and Ross is meeting with the Redskins. ... The Bengals have lost four players in free agency including both starting guards from last season (Nate Livings went to Dallas and Mike McGlynn joined Indianapolis). ... Safety Reggie Nelson is visiting the New York Jets. Hensley's slant: The Bengals will inevitably sign a defensive lineman and a cornerback, but they should put equal importance in upgrading at least one of the two open guard spots.
BROWNS: The Browns aren't interested in a reunion with former first-round pick Kamerion Wimbley, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The Raiders cut Wimbley to avoid guaranteeing him $17.5 million over the next three seasons. ... The Browns officially announced the re-signing of cornerback Dimitri Patterson.“Dimitri came in last year and was an important part of our defense,” Browns coach Pat Shurmur said in a statement. “He helped solidify our defensive backfield and we are happy to have him back with the Browns.” Hensley's slant: With Mario Williams off the free-agent market, Wimbley is the most sought-after edge rusher and should draw heavy interest. Even if the Browns wanted to bring him back, the cost of doing so would be out of the team's current price range.
RAVENS: Free-agent guard Evan Mathis was offered a contract from the Ravens yesterday, but he decided to return to his Arizona home to think over the deal. He's been linked to the Colts and Redskins, but the Carroll County (Md.) Times indicates his choices are joining the Ravens or re-signing with the Eagles. “I think the Ravens are a good fit,” Mathis said. “I had a good visit.” ... There's some confusion over whether backup safety Tom Zbikowski has reached an agreement with the Colts. Zbikowski's agent disputed reports that the deal is done after Zbikowski announced that he's going to Indianapolis. ... Joe Flacco's agent and the Ravens met for a second time as the sides work toward an extension for the quarterback, who is heading into the final year of his contract. "It’s very clear that they want him there for a long time, and he wants him to be there for a long time," agent Joe Linta told the Baltimore Sun. "There’s just a lot of stuff to consider as you move forward.” Hensley's slant: The fact that Mathis left without signing a contract makes you think that he is giving the Eagles an opportunity to make a counteroffer. I wouldn't rule out Mathis signing with the Ravens, but Baltimore's chances looked better before he left town.
STEELERS: CBSSports.com's Clark Judge writes that the Steelers aren't in the clear yet even though no team has pursued restricted free agent Mike Wallace. The deadline to extend offer sheets to restricted free agents is April 20, so there's no rush for a team to go after the speedy wide receiver. Hensley's slant: I still feel the odds are very strong that the Steelers will keep Wallace this season. The Steelers don't have a history of re-signing wide receivers in free agency, but the team seems committed to Wallace based on what Steelers officials have said.