Free agency is set to begin in a matter of hours. Even though it won't officially kick off until 4 p.m., the AFC North blog will still be filled with posts as we count down to the start of the NFL shopping season. Here is today's wake-up call ...
RAVENS: Ed Reed, the team's soon-to-be free agent safety, decided it was time to hire an agent after not having one for the past two years. According to The Baltimore Sun, he is going with David Dunn, who also represented linebacker Ray Lewis when he last became a free agent. Reed is expected to draw interest from the Patriots, Colts and 49ers. Also, The Sun is reporting the Ravens placed second-round tenders on two restricted free agents, tight end Dennis Pitta and defensive lineman Art Jones. That essentially takes them off the free-agent market because no team is going to give up a second-round pick as compensation for signing either one.
BENGALS: Even though the Bengals rank among the top three teams in salary-cap space, they aren't expected to make a major splash in free agency. But The Cincinnati Enquirer listed five players that would make sense for the Bengals to pursue: safety Dashon Goldson, running back Reggie Bush, linebacker Daryl Smith, running back Felix Jones and quarterback Josh Johnson. The one free agent who would make the biggest impact is Goldson. Not surprisingly, he would also be the most expensive pickup in this group.
STEELERS: Running back Jonathan Dwyer signed his restricted free-agent tender Monday, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. He received the $1.3 million original tender, which means a team would have to give up a sixth-round pick to sign him to an offer sheet. By signing the tender, Dwyer is guaranteed the money but he is contractually obligated to attend all mandatory offseason activities. Also, according to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Cardinals and Broncos are interested in Steelers free-agent running back Rashard Mendenhall. He led the Steelers in rushing for three seasons before falling out of favor with the team last season.
BROWNS: According to The Plain Dealer, the Browns are interested in the Titans' Jared Cook, one of the top free-agent tight ends. Cook, 25, was the Titans' franchise player last season. The Browns are expected to be among a half-dozen teams who might pursue him. Cleveland is looking to upgrade the tight end position from Ben Watson, the Browns' starter the past three seasons who is now a free agent. Another possibility at tight end is the Jets' Dustin Keller, The Plain Dealer reported.