Chat with James Walker
Walker joined ESPN.com in 2008 after three seasons covering the Cleveland Browns for the Columbus Dispatch. He also covered the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Cavaliers at the Dispatch. Walker grew up in Hyattsville, Md., before attending Temple University, graduating in 2001 with a B.A. in communications and mass media. He resides in the Cleveland area.
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James Walker (3:56 PM)
Let's get to some AFC North questions.
What Does Pittsburgh really need in the Draft?
James Walker (3:58 PM)
Chris, the Steelers are not in desperate need of anything. They won the Super Bowl and lost just one starter in Bryant McFadden. The offensive line needs help or at least some depth.
eric buffalo, ny [via mobile]
hey james, what do you think the chances are the steelers get ward, miller. and harrison signed before next offseason?
James Walker (4:01 PM)
I doubt they will get all three signed before September, Eric. Harrison I have no worries about, although the negotiations have been difficult there. Miller could be the second signing, but he may play out his rookie deal.
Mr. Walker - are my fellow Eagles fans just playing the wishful thinking game, or are the Browns actually shopping Braylon Edwards around?
James Walker (4:02 PM)
Josh, the Browns are leaving just about all options open. There are very few untouchable players on their roster, and Edwards isn't one of them. For the right price, I think he could be gone. But he will be a free agent anyway in 2010.
eric akron ohio
Why would Cincinnati let TJ walk and way over pay for Coles? Was it just that TJ wanted out or were they not coming up with the length and money he wanted? I don't understand the reasoning for trading a known commodity for one that is somewhat a question mark..
James Walker (4:05 PM)
I do not know for sure what Cincinnati offered T.J., so I cannot say the Bengals didn't make a strong run to keep him. I do think they overpaid for Coles, who will make nearly $10 million in his first year and won't put up similar numbers.
Do you see the Ravens making a run at Tory Holt? I like him and Mason opening it up for Flacco
James Walker (4:07 PM)
Possibly. Holt is a deep threat that hasn't lost much speed. The catch is Baltimore can find younger, faster and cheaper WRs in the draft this year. Look out for Mason's situation by the way. He wants an extension and things could get ugly there.
Joe (Niagara Falls, NY)
Do you think Holt would make a good 3rd receiver for the Steelers?
James Walker (4:09 PM)
As of right now Holt is not on Pittsburgh's radar. He would cost too much plus he is probably a starter on most teams. That's why Joey Galloway is an option. He's more affordable and a backup at this stage of his career.
Any chance Brandon Pettigrew is available when the Ravens pick at 26?
James Walker (4:10 PM)
My guess is Pettigrew goes before No. 26. Baltimore is known for trading up, but I don't think they would do it for a tight end.
The Wolf (Cleveland)
Josh Cribbs. Offense, defense, returner, special teams. Where do you see Mangini focusing Cribbs' talent?
James Walker (4:14 PM)
Wolf, what's going on? Cribbs will stick to special teams and increase his role on offense. I think the defensive things were a little overhyped. But we will see. First, they need to work out a new contract for Cribbs because he is underpaid.
Keith (Austin, TX)
Heard anything about T. Suggs getting a long term deal so there's not the possibility of pre-camp drama in the future?
James Walker (4:17 PM)
Hey Keith. Things are pretty quiet on the Suggs front for now. The Ravens are focusing on free agency and the draft for the next several weeks. Then he will become the primary focus. I think something will get done before camps to where things won't get ugly.
Todd (Massillon, OH)
OT or OLB at number 5 for the Browns?
James Walker (4:18 PM)
Definitely LB if the right guy (Aaron Curry) is still available.
Shaggy (Boulder, CO)
Do you think with Lewis and Reed anchoring the D in Baltimore, they continue to be a defensive threat that they have been for the next few years?
James Walker (4:20 PM)
The Ravens still have studs on every level, with Ngata up front, Suggs and Lewis behind that, and Reed in the back. So Baltimore will be just fine.
Where do the Browns go in the draft? They could go Crabtree, Jenkins, or E. Brown, but they seem all over the place.
James Walker (4:23 PM)
I wouldn't say the Browns are all over the place. I would say speculation is everywhere because Eric Mangini has cut off all/most info to the media. So everyone is simply guessing because few people outside of Mangini knows what they have in mind.
PLEASE ANSWER! Frank: (midwest city, ok) [via mobile]
PLEASE ANSWER!!! Are the ravens going to be contenders for the super bowl again, despite losing half of their defensive firepower and minds to free agency already this offseason? I mean flacco's really good but is he truely ready be an elite leader for a team made up of vets?
James Walker (4:25 PM)
Frank, the Ravens will be fine. It's not the right time to make predictions until free agency and the draft are over, but I expect Baltimore to be a playoff team in 2009.
Do the Steelers feature Mendenhall more once he is healthy or still give the rock to Willie about 300 times
James Walker (4:28 PM)
People don't like when I say this, but I think Pittsburgh is heading towards a running back by committee. I doubt you're going to see any RB with the Steelers carry the football 300 times next year.
hey james, read the blog every day. do you see any chance of the ravens trading up (possibly with the jags) to snag crabtree? with him in our offense, i think we would be scary to play against. let me know what you think!
James Walker (4:29 PM)
Hey Matt. Crabtree would be too far a move. He is going in the first 10-15 picks. That means Baltimore would have to move up at least 11 spots, which is way too costly.
Todd (Massillon, OH)
Heard any news on the estranged relationship with Rogers & Mangini?
James Walker (4:31 PM)
They're going to try and work it out, Todd, and I expect them to do that. Rogers blew off a little steam and voiced his frustration. Now they're going to try and make up, because he's not going to be released or traded.
Nick (Knoxville, TN)
If Jason Smith and Eugene Monroe are gone at No. 6, do you think the Bengals pick Andre Smith given his recent troubles?
James Walker (4:33 PM)
Pro Day is going to be big for Smith, because he rubbed a lot of NFL people wrong at the combine. If he does well, you can put him back in the conversation at No. 6, because it's such a big need. But the Bengals would prefer the other two tackles at this point.
I see the Browns going after LT if the Chargers let him walk, it looks like they are building a run blocking oline and maybe having the QB just manage the offense (no big mistakes) like Flacco did for the Ravens.
James Walker (4:34 PM)
LT will not be wearing a Browns uniform, Dave. He has no intention of leaving San Diego, and if he did, Cleveland would not be on his wish list. The Browns should have drafted him when they had the chance.
hi James. I'm a little bit concerned that, Jame Harrison, at the age of 30 now, will still be productive enough to his incoming BIG contract, if we offer him for multiple years. What do you think? Thanks!
James Walker (4:37 PM)
Hey Bin. It's pretty cool you checked in from halfway across the world! Thanks. Age is so important in the NFL and that's what makes this negotiation difficult. If Harrison was 3-4 years younger, it would be a no brainer. But he hasn't played that much and his body is still younger than his age, if that makes sense. He has little wear and tear.
What percent do you think the odds are the Browns trade Braylon? And if they don't, the odds he signs another contract with them after this year?
James Walker (4:40 PM)
I'm not much into "odds," Zach. But for the sake of answering the question, I would say there is a 35-40 percent chance Braylon is traded, and a 10 percent chance he signs another long term deal with Cleveland after this year.
The Wolf (Cleveland)
What's the deal with Stallworth? Does the Browns keep him or shop him?
James Walker (4:41 PM)
The Browns would have to keep him, Wolf. He signed last year and these huge signing bonuses prevent teams from trading or cutting players early. There would be no market for him anyway.
Boyce (Birmingham, Al)
Hey James, should the Ravens draft a middle linebacker? If so how early.
James Walker (4:45 PM)
I don't think it's needed at this point, at least on the first day. The Ravens have some in house candidates they like. (They always do, it seems.) So Baltimore needs to help the offense and fill other needs.
Can the Browns get a 2nd for DA or has his value dropped that much?
James Walker (4:46 PM)
We will find out after the bonus is paid. No one is interested in paying the $5 million he is due on Friday. But after that, teams will get interested. The question is do the Browns want to take a large cap hit to get rid of him that much?
What do the Ravens plan on do now that Jason Brown left? Chester at center and Yanda at RG?
James Walker (4:48 PM)
Hey Brad, the Ravens signed former six-time Pro Bowler Matt Birk last week to play center. So he will get plugged in to fill for Brown.
Mason wants an extension. Will he get it?
James Walker (4:52 PM)
Hey Steiny, what's good? This is a tough one I don't have an answer for. I'm just going to wait and see how this plays out.
Marty McFly (The Past)
I think the Ravens should draft LB Ray Lewis, he could be great, agree?
James Walker (4:54 PM)
If the Ravens get him, Lewis will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. That's pretty funny.
Whats up James do you only know thw AFC EAST??
James Walker (4:55 PM)
Todd, I cover the AFC North. So those are the questions I'm answering today.
Derick Young Casper, WY
Hey James, I know Dallas Baker might be #4 WR but Martin Nance at 6'3" 215 looks like a contender. Your thoughts?
James Walker (4:56 PM)
Hey Derick. I've seen enough of Baker in practice, mini camps and training camps to formulate an opinion that he could develop into an NFL WR. I can't say the same for Nance.
JJ Columbus Oh
Hey JW, whats the chances you ever seeing Ozzie Newsome a member of the browns organization again.
James Walker (4:58 PM)
I would say zero. GM is a hard job and Ozzie has done it well for a long time. I think this is his last NFL stop. He may be an AD in college someday (Alabama?) where it is less demanding.
Tim from Tampa, Fl
Hey James, Thanks for the coverage and the chat!!! Any thoughts on Dixon giving the Wild Cat a go in the 'Burgh???
James Walker (4:59 PM)
Tim, it's possible. But I don't see Arians as much of a "Wildcat" kind of guy. I could be wrong.
James Walker (5:01 PM)
Everyone, thanks again for your time. As always, I can't get to every question. But feel free to send your thoughts to the AFC North mailbag. -JW
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