Friday, April 6, 2012
Wake-up: Ravens interested in Steinbach?
By Jamison Hensley
Every morning, grab a cup of coffee and get your AFC North wake-up call here:
The Chicago Bears and Seattle Seahawks have made inquires about free-agent guard Eric Steinbach, sources told ESPNChicago.com. The site also reports that the Ravens might be interested in the former starting left guard for the Browns.
It's unclear if Steinbach will make any visits before the NFL draft at the end of the month as he continues to recover from a back injury that forced the guard to miss the entire 2011 season.
Steinbach, 32, started 124 games for the Bengals and Browns over the span of eight years, before undergoing a procedure that removed a disc fragment from his spinal nerve in August of last summer. He was cut by the Browns on March 14 after refusing to take a pay reduction.
Hensley's slant: The Ravens hinted they won't make any more free-agent moves until after the draft. So if the Ravens don't use a first- or second-round pick on a guard, they should make a call to Steinbach. The alternative is starting a backup offensive tackle (Jah Reid) at left guard.
BENGALS: Bengals coach Marvin Lewis sent a letter in support of Jerome Simpson to the judge before the free-agent wide receiver was sentenced to 15 days in jail for a drug-related charge, according to the Associated Press. Lewis said last month that the team is open to offering Simpson another contract despite his legal problems. The Bengals said in a statement after the hearing that they believe Simpson "has, and will continue to, deal accountably with the consequences of his actions." Hensley's slant: The chances of Simpson returning increased when the Bengals ignored the wide receiver position in free agency. Cincinnati had the cap room to upgrade over Simpson at the No. 2 spot, but the Bengals failed to add Robert Meachem or Mario Manningham.
BROWNS: LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne made a pre-draft visit to the Browns on Thursday, according to the Akron Beacon Journal. Claiborne made headlines this week when it was reported that he scored 4 out of 50 on the Wonderlic test. "At the end of the day I will be a top 10 pick," Claiborne posted on his Twitter account, which has since been switched to private. "You guys don't no me #Top10." Hensley's slant: I still see the Browns taking running back Trent Richardson with the fourth overall pick and it has nothing to do with Claiborne's test score. The Browns, who averaged 13.6 points per game last season, need an offensive playmaker and not the best defensive player in the draft.
STEELERS: Restricted free-agent guard Ramon Foster has signed his tender, according to a report from ESPN Radio in St. Louis. Foster received the low tender ($1.26 million), which meant the Steelers wouldn't have received any compensation if they refused to match an offer sheet. Entering his fourth season with Pittsburgh, Foster is expected to remain the team's starting right guard. He will be an unrestricted free agent in 2013. Hensley's slant: Foster was surprisingly serviceable at right guard last season. If the Steelers draft an interior lineman, they should replace left guard Doug Legursky, whose best position is center.