Inside the AFC North


Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

With so much going on in the AFC North, here are several notes and observations inside the division:

  • The Cleveland Browns have less than four days to trade quarterback Derek Anderson or he most likely will return next season. Anderson is due a guaranteed $5 million roster bonus on March 13. The Browns would be willing to entertain trade offers but the phone lines have been quiet because teams are unwilling to pay the huge bounty. Cleveland can still trade Anderson after March 13, but the Browns would take an accelerated cap hit of $9.666 million post-bonus. That wouldn't be good business.

  • In the midst of signing and losing high-profile free agents, most forget the Baltimore Ravens are still searching for a place kicker. The Ravens are shopping for someone other than longtime kicker Matt Stover, who is a free agent, but haven't made a move so far. It will be interesting to see if Baltimore drafts a kicker, finds one in free agency or comes back to the dependable Stover, who has lost distance over time but remains accurate.

  • Here is some food for thought: Receiver Nate Washington could play his first game as a member of the Tennessee Titans in Heinz Field. As the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Pittsburgh Steelers will open the 2009 season at home with a primetime Thursday night game in Week 1, and the Titans are one of their marquee home opponents. The Steelers likely will have a pre-game celebration of their Super Bowl win at that time and Washington, who is popular in Pittsburgh, could be there for the celebration.

  • There is a very good chance that the $28 million the Cincinnati Bengals invested in receiver Laveranues Coles last week was at or around the same money the team offered new Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Derrick Ward. The Bengals are usually not major players in free agency but made a push to sign Ward before anyone else. When Ward declined, followed by the loss of receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Cincinnati still had that money available to spend and offered Coles an average of $7 million per season.