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Monday, June 11, 2012
Projecting 2013 cap room for AFC North

By Jamison Hensley

Three AFC North teams are in great salary-cap position for the 2013 season, according to ESPN's John Clayton.

The Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns currently rank in the top three in terms of most cap room for next season. Clayton reports that the Bengals have $42 million and the Browns have $40 million. Only the Indianapolis Colts ($43 million) have more than those two AFC North teams.

The Bengals, though, will need that space to fill some holes on the team. Right tackle Andre Smith, kicker Mike Nugent and all three starting linebackers (Rey Maualuga, Thomas Howard and Manny Lawson) will be unrestricted free agents in 2013.

The Baltimore Ravens rank eighth with $15 million of cap space. Of course, the Ravens could use more considering quarterback Joe Flacco, running back Ray Rice and safety Ed Reed will be free agents. Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti expressed optimism last week that the team will sign Flacco and Rice to new deals.

The only division team that doesn't have space is the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are a projected $10 million over the 2013 cap. Their focus next offseason will be their wide receivers. The Steelers will need room to put the franchise tag on Mike Wallace if they can't sign him to a long-term deal and a first-round tender on Antonio Brown, who will be a restricted free agent next year.