AFC North: Free agency 2010

Exploring Browns' draft options

April, 5, 2010
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Berry/Thomas/SpillerUS PresswireEric Berry, Earl Thomas and C.J. Spiller are all candidates to end up in Cleveland.
The Cleveland Browns recently made a quality trade to land veteran cornerback Sheldon Brown from the Philadelphia Eagles. The deal plugged a major hole for Cleveland at cornerback, which was once a primary target to fill in this month's NFL draft.

Now the Browns have tremendous flexibility with their No. 7 overall pick. It's no longer predictable that Cleveland will get secondary help -- either at cornerback or safety -- in the first round. That makes the Browns somewhat of a mystery in the top 10, which new team president Mike Holmgren probably prefers.

So with the draft approximately two weeks away, the AFC North blog went back to the drawing board to break down Cleveland's new-found options on draft day.

Option No. 1: Draft Tennessee safety Eric Berry

Analysis: This was the best choice before the Philadelphia trade, and it remains the best choice after the Philadelphia trade. Last week it was debatable whether cornerback or safety was Cleveland's biggest need defensively. Berry and Florida cornerback Joe Haden were the two highest-rated players at their respective positions. Therefore, it was natural that Cleveland had both players on its radar. But acquiring Brown to be the team's top cornerback scratches Haden off the list with the No. 7 overall pick. Eric Wright should be a solid No. 2 cornerback while Brandon McDonald gets removed from the starting lineup. But a large void remains at safety, where the team lacks a playmaker. Berry's athleticism and big-play ability are exactly what the Browns need to run defensive coordinator Rob Ryan's aggressive 3-4 scheme. The question is, will someone ahead of Cleveland take Berry off the board first?

Odds: Even

(Read full post)

Scouts Inc. on Cory Redding

March, 29, 2010
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In addition to the blockbuster trade to land receiver Anquan Boldin, the Baltimore Ravens recently filled another hole in signing free-agent defensive lineman Cory Redding. Baltimore inked Redding to a two-year deal to add depth to a previously thin defensive line.

[+] EnlargeCory Redding
Otto Greule Jr/Getty ImagesThe addition of Cory Redding gives the Ravens depth on the defensive line.
This week the AFC North blog caught up with Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson to get an in-depth look at what Redding brings to the Ravens.

Matt, how exactly does Redding fit in Baltimore's defensive scheme?

Williamson: He's a good fit for them. You haven't seen him ever play in a 3-4, so that's a bit of a mystery. But he is, in style of play, sort of a tweener between a defensive tackle and a defensive end. It wasn't that long ago that he had a very productive year, and it wouldn't blow me away if he did it again going into that system. The Ravens lost Justin Bannan and they lost Dwan Edwards, and I think both of those guys are better run-stuffers than Redding. But Redding brings more to the table as a potential pass-rusher than either one of them. He kind of reminds me a poor man's Trevor Pryce.

Two years ago the Cleveland Browns also traded for Corey Williams, who was a 4-3 lineman with pass-rushing skills, and it didn't work out. Is this a similar risk?

Williamson: It doesn't matter anymore, but even when the Browns took Williams way back when, I thought they were wasting his talent. I felt that wouldn't work out at all even before it happened. It wasn't a smart move, because that's not what [Williams] does. While Redding once was a good penetrator, and as he's getting older sometimes you'll see these guys move to a 3-4 where they don't have the same quickness. But he still has the size and the savvy with some inside pass-rush ability. It's sort of a natural progression. As he slows down, he can do a little more [holding the line of scrimmage] as oppose to making a ton of plays in the backfield and blowing things up. And they don't have much invested in it, so I thought it was a pretty good move.

Can Redding push Pryce for a starting job at DE this season?

Williamson: For this second, I would say he's a natural first guy off the bench. Redding can be a big end on running downs and move inside on passing downs. He'll play hard. I'm not a huge believer that Pryce is there for the long haul. His athletic ability and all his dynamic qualities are declining. Pryce had injury problems in the past, too. So who's to say you can count on him? But with both players at their best at this stage of their careers, I would take Pryce. But Redding is awfully good insurance.

Report: Ravens LT Gaither a no-show

March, 23, 2010
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News continues to flow during this week's owners meetings in Orlando, Fla.

A very interesting note that came out of Tuesday's breakfast with the head coaches is Baltimore Ravens left tackle Jared Gaither has been a no-show so far for offseason workouts. Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he's disappointed in the move, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Gaither
The no-show could be a protest by Gaither to get a long-term deal in place. He's a restricted free agent with a first-round tender.

There is speculation that several teams might be interested in making a play for Gaither, particularly teams late in the first round. He has been a quality left tackle for Baltimore the past two seasons.

An outside offer would create an interesting dilemma for the Ravens. Should they match and keep their left tackle, or take the additional first-round pick?

Right tackle Michael Oher, a 2009 first-round pick, appears to be a star in the making and could switch to the left side if Baltimore takes the extra first-rounder. It is much easier to find right tackles in the NFL.

Either way, it's early. But keep an eye on this interesting development in Baltimore.

(Update: ESPN's Adam Schefter is reporting that Gaither plans to join the Ravens by early next week, and agent Drew Rosenhaus insists there is no tension between Gaither and the team.)

Ten AFC North mysteries

March, 22, 2010
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Andre Smith, Lawrence Timmons & Donte' StallworthIcon SMIAndre Smith, Lawrence Timmons and Donte' Stallworth are among the larger mysteries facing AFC North teams as they prepare for the 2010 season.
Mystery and intrigue are part of what make the NFL go.

Every year, there are players with various questions who could have a major impact on their teams' upcoming season.

With that said, here are 10 AFC North mysteries even Sherlock Holmes would struggle to solve in 2010:

Timmons
Timmons
10. Lawrence Timmons, LB, Pittsburgh Steelers

2009 stats: 14 games (13 starts), 78 tackles, seven sacks

Why: Let's first give credit where credit is due: Timmons flashed more ability over the past few years than a majority of the players listed below. But his up-and-down 2009 season -- his first as a full-time starter -- raised a few questions. Does Timmons fit at middle linebacker, which is not his natural position? Considering his tremendous athleticism, why did Timmons struggle at times in pass coverage? Also, the decision to bring back veteran inside linebacker Larry Foote, who started ahead of Timmons in 2007 and 2008 before leaving as a free agent, certainly adds some intrigue.

Mystery rating (scale of 1 to 10): 6.5

Webb
Webb
9. Lardarius Webb, CB, Baltimore Ravens

2009 stats: 14 games (four starts), 35 tackles, one sack

Why: Webb's mystery revolves around youth and injury. The Ravens feel Webb has the potential to be their starting cornerback next season. The former third-round pick played well opposite Domonique Foxworth for a brief stint before suffering a torn ACL in December. Now there are questions about whether Webb will be ready for training camp or even the start of the regular season. Does Webb have enough experience? Can he be the same player, or will it take another year to shake off the injury? These are all questions Webb has to answer next season.

Mystery rating: 7.0

Kruger
Kruger
8. Paul Kruger, DE/LB, Ravens

2009 stats: Nine games (one start), 11 tackles, one interception

Why: Many were surprised when the Ravens drafted defensive end/linebacker hybrid Paul Kruger in the second round last year. Baltimore already had a stud hybrid in Terrell Suggs, and the team later gave him a large contract extension. Kruger took even more heat when he barely saw the field during the first half of last season. Kruger often was inactive because he didn't contribute on special teams, which made the situation look worse. But Kruger did show a couple of flashes last season, particularly in Baltimore's home win over Pittsburgh. With the recent losses of defensive linemen Dwan Edwards and Justin Bannan in free agency, Kruger will be asked to step up in 2010.

Mystery rating: 7.7

Robiskie
Robiskie
7. Brian Robiskie, WR, Cleveland Browns

2009 stats: 11 games (one start), seven catches, 106 yards

Why: Robiskie had the label as one of the most NFL-ready players in last year's draft. It was a major reason Cleveland took Robiskie in the second round. But Robiskie suffered through the same growing pains as other young receivers. An uneventful training camp and preseason left Robiskie without a role, and he didn't see much playing time until late in the regular season. Perhaps Robiskie wasn't ready or he didn't fit Cleveland's system. Either way, the Browns need help at receiver and Robiskie has a lot of catching up to do in his second season.

Mystery rating: 8.0

Stallworth
Stallworth
6. Donte' Stallworth, WR, Ravens

2009 stats: Did not play

Why: Stallworth hasn't played a down since the 2008 season. So no one knows what to expect from the veteran receiver in 2010. A DUI manslaughter case led to jail time and a year-long suspension from the NFL. But Stallworth impressed the Ravens with a strong workout, and the team believes he can add much-needed speed to Baltimore's offense. With Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason in as the starters, there's not a lot of pressure on Stallworth to produce right away. If he gives Baltimore anything in terms of stretching the field, the Ravens will be in great shape offensively.

Mystery rating: 8.4

Jones
Jones
5. Matt Jones, WR, Bengals

2009 stats: Did not play

Why: Jones also was out of football until the Bengals gave him a call with hopes of improving their passing game. This offseason Cincinnati added Jones and Antonio Bryant and they probably will acquire a tight end in the draft to give quarterback Carson Palmer more options. Although it's a cheap and low-risk move by Cincinnati, reportedly the Bengals were not impressed with Jones' workout and signed him anyway. But the good news is the season doesn't start until September.

Mystery rating: 8.5

Smith
Smith
4. Andre Smith, OT, Bengals

2009 stats: Six games, one start

Why: The Bengals still do not have a firm grasp on what they have in last year's No. 6 overall pick. After agreeing to pay Smith a maximum of $42 million, Cincinnati cannot afford to wait another year with him on the sideline. Smith's rookie year could not have gone any worse. It started with a contract dispute that caused the right tackle to miss all of training camp. Then a foot injury sidelined him for most of the season. He got his feet wet toward the end of 2009, but additional offseason surgery is an early hurdle Smith has to overcome this year.

Mystery rating: 8.8

Sweed
Sweed
3. Limas Sweed, WR, Steelers

2009 stats: Nine games, one reception, five yards

Why: Sweed's inability to make big plays is literally a mystery to the Steelers. He was a playmaker at the University of Texas and displayed the same athleticism to get open in the pros. But there is something about catching the football and finishing the play that has plagued Sweed the past two seasons. The Steelers made it clear they're tired of waiting for the third-year receiver by signing free-agent veteran receivers Antwaan Randle El and Arnaz Battle. Perhaps Sweed needs a change of scenery to start over and clear his head.

Mystery rating: 9.0

Simpson
Simpson
2. Jerome Simpson, WR, Bengals

2009 stats: Two games, zero receptions

Why: Ignore the lip service the Bengals' coaching staff provides publicly about their faith in Simpson. Instead, look at its actions. Cincinnati signed two receivers (Laveranues Coles and Bryant) to four-year, $28 million contracts in back-to-back seasons. That clearly shows the team's lack of patience and confidence that the light bulb will finally turn on for Simpson, who was a second-round pick in 2008. Entering his third season, this may be Simpson's last chance to show his ability with Cincinnati. Simpson could be cut in training camp if he fails to dramatically improve from his previous two seasons.

Mystery rating: 9.3

Delhomme
Delhomme
1. Jake Delhomme, QB, Browns

2009 stats: 2,015 yards, eight touchdowns, 18 interceptions, 59.4 passer rating

Why: Delhomme, 35, is the biggest mystery in the AFC North next season, because he may or may not be done as a quality, starting NFL quarterback. Delhomme certainly didn't look the part last season, when he threw a career-high 18 interceptions. He was later benched and released by the Carolina Panthers. Yet, the Browns believe Delhomme can lead their offense and paid him $7 million this year. Good move? Only time will tell. Is it a risky move? Absolutely.

Mystery rating: 10.0

Five destinations for Troy Smith

March, 18, 2010
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Last week the AFC North blog took a look at five possible destinations for former Cleveland Browns quarterback Brady Quinn, and we hit at home run by listing the Denver Broncos No. 2 on the list.

So let's continue that hot streak and take a look at Baltimore Ravens quarterback and restricted free agent Troy Smith, who has just a fifth-round tender. Interest should pick up for Smith soon as most of the decent unrestricted free-agent quarterbacks are signed.

Smith
5. Cleveland Browns

Skinny: Let me first say that I don't believe this will happen. But the fact Smith himself made it clear Cleveland, his hometown team, is his first choice makes it worthy to put on the list. But the feeling doesn't seem mutual and the Browns appear ready to move on with Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace.

4. St. Louis Rams

Skinny: The Rams need everything, particularly a quarterback. Whether the team takes rookie Sam Bradford with the top pick, quarterback depth is still needed on the roster. But Smith may not fit their system.

3. Carolina Panthers

Skinny: Matt Moore is the starter in Carolina, but who knows if he's the real deal. Smith wouldn't be a bad second option for a fifth-rounder in case Moore falters or gets injured.

2. Buffalo Bills

Skinny: I'm convinced Trent Edwards is not a starting NFL quarterback. In a head-to-head competition, Smith might be able to beat him out.

1. Oakland Raiders

Skinny: Raiders offensive coordinator Hue Jackson coached Smith in Baltimore and could want a familiar face who knows the system. A possible competition among Smith, JaMarcus Russell and Bruce Gradkowski would be interesting.
It appears former Cleveland Browns quarterback Derek Anderson is headed to the desert.

Anderson
Anderson
Multiple reports surfaced Wednesday that Anderson has agreed to terms with the Arizona Cardinals.

Arizona should be a good fit for Anderson. He needs good weapons around him to thrive and receivers Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Breaston and tailback Chris "Beanie" Wells are all good players. Anderson also provides insurance and competition for Matt Leinart.

Anderson, a former Pro Bowler, had his best year in 2007 but wasn't able to duplicate that season with the Browns. He was often ridiculed in Cleveland and waited until his release to publicly fire back at Browns fans. Anderson later apologized.

In case you're wondering, the Browns do not play the Cardinals next season.

(Update: He received a two-year deal worth $7.25 million with $3.25 million guaranteed. The deal could max out to as much as approximately $18 million if he reaches all of his performance incentives.)

Are the Browns getting better?

March, 16, 2010
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Jake Delhome, Scott Fujita & Seneca WallaceUS PresswireThe new front-office regime in Cleveland has been very busy this offseason in both free agency and the trade market, acquiring veterans such as Jake Delhomme, Scott Fujita and Seneca Wallace.
It's hard to keep score with the Cleveland Browns these days. So far they have been the biggest whirlwind in free agency this offseason.

The Browns got rid of their top two quarterbacks and added two more. They signed a veteran linebacker (Scott Fujita), tight end (Benjamin Watson) and right tackle (Tony Pashos). They also traded Corey Williams and Kamerion Wimbley for draft picks and added another fullback to the roster from the Denver Broncos (Peyton Hillis).

Yes, the Browns are making a ton of changes. But are they getting better?

It's still early. But despite a large flurry of transactions, there is nothing the Browns have done to this point in free agency to make you believe they'll climb out of the basement and to the top of the AFC North in 2010.

The division champion Cincinnati Bengals, Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers all finished with winning records last season. And if the season started today, most would pick the aforementioned trio ahead of Cleveland, which was 5-11 last season.

"Anything we do, we've done it thoughtfully, hopefully," Browns president Mike Holmgren said this week of their busy free-agency period. "We've done it together. We've done it to make the team better in our opinion and however that manifests itself."

QB dilemma

Is the quarterback combination of Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace truly an upgrade over Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson? That is one of the biggest questions in Cleveland this week.

Quinn and Anderson had their chances in Cleveland and it didn't work out. So a change of scenery was needed for both players, especially with a new regime coming to town in Holmgren and general manager Tom Heckert.

But, to put it bluntly, the acquisitions last week of Delhomme and Wallace were anticlimactic.

Intriguing names such as Kevin Kolb and Donovan McNabb were being thrown around almost daily in Cleveland. The Browns burned up the phone lines to see what was available around the league but ended up with a 35-year-old starter (Delhomme) and a career backup (Wallace).

Cleveland's success next season will depend on whether Delhomme has anything left in the tank. He is coming off his worst year in 2009, when he threw for 2,015 yards, just eight touchdowns and 18 interceptions. Delhomme also had a meager 59.4 quarterback rating, but the Browns are confident he can bounce back.

"Over time, he's been a proven winner. He's been a consistent winner," Cleveland coach Eric Mangini said. "His completion percentage over the years, that's been consistent as well. I don’t think it's uncommon for a guy to have a bad year, but when you look at his body of work last year ... there were a lot of good throws on that tape too."

Delhomme adds a winning mentality and plenty of playoff experience, and that's something the Browns need in their locker room. Six years ago, Delhomme led the Carolina Panthers to the Super Bowl.

Cleveland's best hope is to get another good year or two out of Delhomme, while the Browns eventually find and groom their franchise quarterback of the future. Either way, Holmgren was convinced Quinn and Anderson weren't the answer and drastic changes had to be made.

"I think we all came to the conclusion that we couldn't go into the season the same way we went into last season," Holmgren said of his quarterbacks. "That's very difficult for everybody. Derek's situation, there was a time element there because of his roster bonus. We didn't have that to deal with Brady. That factored in, certainly, in our decision for Derek to go first. We knew we were going to make changes at quarterback and add some people to the pile certainly."

The draft is key

Despite the current hoopla with free agency, Cleveland will make its biggest impact this year in the draft.

[+] EnlargeMike Holmgren
AP Photo/Tony DejakMike Holmgren will have 12 draft picks he can use to help rebuild the Browns.
The Browns will be major players with 12 total picks at their disposal. Recent trades of Wimbley and Williams added third- and fifth-round picks in this year's draft, respectively.

Cleveland's top pick is No. 7 overall, where positions like safety, cornerback and receiver are all possibilities. Following the recent trades, you can now add the quarterback position as well, with Oklahoma's Sam Bradford and Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen being possible candidates.

"We will probably look at the quarterbacks, yes," Holmgren admitted.

Despite not making any splashy additions, Cleveland did patch some holes in free agency. Pashos likely will start at right tackle for the Browns next season. Fujita gives the team toughness at inside linebacker, and Watson is a much-needed receiving threat at tight end.

Holmgren knew about the large cleanup job ahead of him when he became president of the Browns. After studying the roster he inherited, it's clear Holmgren didn't like how most of it was constructed based on the team's already-busy offseason.

"We've done what we thought was best for the Cleveland Browns," Holmgren explained. "Hopefully moving forward, it doesn't get so frantic in years to come. [But] we're doing what we think we have to do."
NFC Big Question: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Can new receiver Antonio Bryant jump-start the Cincinnati Bengals' passing game?

This much we know: Bryant is an upgrade over former Bengals receiver Laveranues Coles.

[+] EnlargeAntonio Bryant
Sam Sharpe/US PresswireThe Bengals are banking on Antonio Bryant rebounding from a subpar season in 2009.
But by how much remains an interesting topic of debate.

After recently agreeing to a four-year, $28 million contract, it's clear the Bengals are hoping for the 2008 version of Bryant, who caught 83 passes for 1,248 yards and seven touchdowns. The $7 million average per year, which is similar to Baltimore Ravens receiver Anquan Boldin's contract, only adds to the pressure for Bryant to produce.

But what if Cincinnati gets the 2009 version of Bryant?

Last season Bryant had the franchise tag with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, fought through a knee injury and underachieved with 39 receptions for 600 yards and four touchdowns. Coles had four more receptions (43) and one more touchdown (five) than Bryant last season and was released by the Bengals.

Bryant has qualities in his game that should help the team. He has pretty good quickness and size, which quarterback Carson Palmer likes, and toughness to go over the middle and make catches in traffic. That element has been missing in Cincinnati since the departure of T.J. Houshmandzadeh after the 2008 season.

This will be a new role for Bryant as the No. 2 receiver. The Bengals desperately need a legitimate threat opposite Pro Bowl receiver Chad Ochocinco, and Bryant has a solid 15.3 yards per catch average for his career that should strike fear in most defenses.

If Bryant has a bounce-back season in 2010, adding him to the mix and possibly drafting a receiving tight end would give Cincinnati the offensive balance that it needs.
Free-agent linebacker Larry Foote returned to the Pittsburgh Steelers by signing a three-year contract Monday. According to ESPN.com senior writer John Clayton, the deal is worth $9.3 million.

The Steelers now have good depth at middle linebacker with starters James Farrior and Lawrence Timmons to pair with veteran backups Foote and Keyaron Fox. Signing Foote also gives Pittsburgh the flexibility to move Timmons to outside linebacker, his natural position, in the event James Harrison or LaMarr Woodley get injured.

Last year, Foote wanted his release from Pittsburgh because of a reduced role that eventually led to putting Timmons in the starting lineup. After one season with the Detroit Lions, Foote learned the grass isn't always greener on the other side and returned to a team and a system he's most comfortable with.

Delhomme vs. the AFC North

March, 15, 2010
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The Cleveland Browns added the newest member of the AFC North quarterback fraternity over the weekend. The team signed veteran Jake Delhomme to a two-year contract.

Delhomme is in as Cleveland's starter next season and Brady Quinn is out following a trade to the Denver Broncos. Delhomme now will see a trio of stout defenses twice a year in the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers. All three teams finished in the top five in total defense in 2009.

Therefore, we checked in with our colleagues at ESPN Stats and Information to see how Delhomme fared in the past against the AFC North. Here were Delhomme's stats in limited action against the division:

Thoughts on the Quinn trade

March, 14, 2010
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The Cleveland Browns traded quarterback Brady Quinn to the Denver Broncos Sunday. In return the Browns received fullback Peyton Hillis, a sixth-round pick in 2011 and a conditional pick in 2012.

Here are some initial thoughts on the trade from Cleveland's perspective:

  • For starters, this was a move Cleveland was destined to make. Something was up the second president Mike Holmgren refused to give Quinn his personal endorsement. Holmgren will be the first to say he knows quarterbacks, and after watching all of Quinn's film last season, Holmgren didn't believe Quinn was the answer for the style of offense the Browns plan to run.
  • For Quinn, this is a great opportunity to start over. The Columbus, Ohio, native dreamed of playing for his childhood team, but Quinn's experience didn't turn out as planned. A contract dispute as a rookie in 2007 caused Quinn to miss a portion of training camp. That year Derek Anderson lit it up and kept Quinn on the bench for a majority of two seasons. When Quinn finally got the chance to play this year, he struggled and was benched early. A fresh start will be good for Quinn.
  • Here is an interesting question: Does the tandem of Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace provide a better chance of success than Anderson and Quinn? Yes, Anderson and Quinn (for the most part) flamed out in Cleveland. But I don't have a ton of confidence that Delhomme and Wallace won't suffer the same fate. If Delhomme has something left in the tank for the next year or two, that would be ideal for Cleveland. But last season was arguably the worst of his career. Sometimes a system can help the quarterback, and perhaps that's what Holmgren and his staff are counting on.
  • Finally, ESPN's Adam Schefter also reported Cleveland traded linebacker Kamerion Wimbley to the Oakland Raiders for a third-round pick. The Browns now have 12 picks in April's NFL draft. That offers tremendous flexibility to infuse youth on their team or trade up to grab the best possible players. I'm interested to see the route Holmgren and general manager Tom Heckert decide to take, because Cleveland will be major power players next month.
The new regime of the Cleveland Browns never appeared sold on Brady Quinn. So it was no surprise Saturday when the team made its most dramatic move to date to reshape its quarterback position.

[+] EnlargeQuinn
Jason Miller/US PresswireThe Browns are looking for a taker for quarterback Brady Quinn.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports the Browns signed veteran quarterback Jake Delhomme to a two-year contract, likely signaling the end of the Quinn era in Cleveland.

Delhomme comes to the Browns with a lot of starting experience. Barring any dramatic or unforeseen moves in free agency or the draft, pencil in Delhomme as Cleveland's 2010 starting quarterback.

Browns president Mike Holmgren said he does not believe in quarterback competitions. So there will not be one between Delhomme and Quinn. In the meantime, Holmgren will continue to shop Quinn to see what value he can get for the former first-round pick.

If nothing materializes, Quinn will be Delhomme's backup along with Seneca Wallace. But the safe money right now is that Quinn will not wear orange and brown next season. Quinn already has his house for sale, and it's best that both parties move on at this point.

Quinn was hailed as a Columbus, Ohio product who could finally bring the Browns back to prominence. Instead, he spent most of two seasons backing up former Pro Bowler Derek Anderson and was benched in 2009 after a disappointing start.

There should be some level of interest in Quinn, who has a limited amount of starts and was never surrounded with quality players in Cleveland. We listed five possible suitors earlier this week in the AFC North blog.

But despite all the excitement that came with Quinn coming to Cleveland three years ago, everything likely came to a close Saturday with Cleveland signing a 35-year-old quarterback.

Anquan Boldin wants the Steelers

March, 12, 2010
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On Tuesday the AFC North blog ran a feature on new Baltimore Ravens receiver Anquan Boldin. But there was one interesting angle that we weren't able to get to.

Boldin
Boldin
Without yet putting on a jersey, Boldin already sounds like a Raven. The former Arizona Cardinals receiver wants a piece of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"I'm seeking a little revenge on Pittsburgh anyways," Boldin said of the rivalry. "They beat us in the Super Bowl, so I'm definitely looking forward to that matchup. The AFC North has always been a tough, hard-nosed conference, and I’m definitely looking forward to getting in there and mixing it up. Like I said, I am excited about the opportunity."

Boldin will get his wish twice a year with the Ravens. Here are Boldin's career numbers against the Steelers and the rest of the AFC North.
NFC Stock Watch: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Falling

Brady Quinn, Cleveland Browns quarterback: A year ago, Quinn was the favorite to become Cleveland's starting quarterback. Now it appears Quinn's chances to lead the Browns are diminishing. Cleveland reportedly is shopping Quinn and looking around at several other options. Veteran free-agent quarterback Jake Delhomme is visiting with the Browns Thursday, for example. Considering the poor quarterback play around the league, there should be some interest in Quinn. But there is no chance of the Browns getting the same value it took to bring the former first-round pick to Cleveland.

Rising

Anquan Boldin, Baltimore Ravens receiver: Boldin is happy with finally securing a new four-year contract, and the Ravens are happy to finally secure a top-flight receiver. It's a win-win for both parties. The three-time Pro Bowl receiver comes to Baltimore with expectations of taking the Ravens' passing game to another level. But he won't be alone. With the addition of Boldin to go with players such as Joe Flacco, Derrick Mason, Ray Rice, Willis McGahee, Todd Heap, Mark Clayton and Donte' Stallworth, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron has a lot of options. Watch out for Boldin and Baltimore's offense next season.

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