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.
Send your questions now and join Walker on Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET!
James Walker (4:00 PM)
Hello everyone. I do not anticipate any breaking news this week. So we should get a full hour in this time. Let's get started.
Salomon Cojab (Pittsburgh, PA)
Hi James, love the blog Few quick questions: 1. Do you think that the Ravens seemed like they chickened out by not wanting a prime time game in Heinz Field to open the season? 2. Do you think the Curse of The Terrible Towel will strike the Titans in the season opener?
James Walker (4:04 PM)
It's not up to me to use words like "chickened," etc. to describe the situation. I will leave that up to AFC North readers. I can see both sides of this arguement and that's why it's been the most talk-about topic on the AFC North blog this week. Pittsburgh is 6-0 in its past six openers, so the Steelers would be a safe pick at home.
john j greensboro NC
hey man got a quick ?...why are the Bengals so hesitant to trade Chad Johnson? They have alot of needs on the offensive line and they could use the bundle of picks they could get for Chad to bolster their line with some of the talent in the 2nd rounds and later that will be available...also why dont the browns pull off a trade for Cutler with Brady Quinn/Rogers and send Derek Anderson to Tampa Bay for 2 and 5th draft choices? They need as many picks as possible and they could use those picks for a tweener pass rusher and Tight End...
James Walker (4:06 PM)
The Bengals would take a cap hit of just under $5 million to trade Ocho Cinco. A lot of fans don't realize the money and salary cap aspects of trades. Add on the fact that they probably can't get good value in return and that's a few reasons. As far as the Browns, it takes two teams to trade and Denver doesn't appear interested.
Kon ( San Fran)
Who will win the Superbowl, Don't say San Diego because i allready know they are going to win it.
James Walker (4:07 PM)
Don't worry, I won't say San Diego. Let's hold off these questions until at least after the draft.
Jeff (Dayton, OH)
What do you think of the Bengals getting 4 additional picks? Do you think they are deserving and what are the odds Mike Brown wastes them? Also, just curious where the picks come from, are they taken from another team, or do the later rounds now have more than 32 picks?
James Walker (4:08 PM)
They were deserving. Cincinnati doesn't spend to keep its quality in-house free agents. The picks are added to the end of each round, starting with the 33rd pick.
mingo, killeen, texas
James, I am really happy with your job for the AFC North. In Killeen, Texas we have nice group of steelers fans here. Question: Do you think Lime Sweed is good enough to me our third receiver?
James Walker (4:10 PM)
Thanks, Mingo. Keep in mind receiver and quarterback are two of the most difficult positions to learn quickly in the NFL. I will give you a tip: We will have a lot more on Sweed in the AFC North blog tomorrow, so look for it on Wednesday.
John S. (Sidney, OH)
C'mon, David Patten? That's all we could find? Tell me the Browns are going to go after Michael Crabtree with the 5th pick.
James Walker (4:12 PM)
I live in Cleveland and didn't get the sense Patten's signing sent many shockwaves around town. I believe this was an insurance signing, not a blockbuster type of thing. Crabtree comes in play at No. 5 now, but I'm still hesistant right now to say the Browns would do it.
Joseph (Athens, GA)
James, love the blog man keep it up. Darius Heyward-bey reminds me of T.O. as far as being a physical specimen is concerned, but he needs to develop his hands and rout running. Do you think he is a good fit for the Ravens right now due to the probable learning curve, or do you think he can step right in and get us over that AFC championship hump!?
James Walker (4:14 PM)
Joseph, all the Ravens would need Bey to do in his first year is run straight. I say that half-jokingly, but there is some truth to it. Baltimore is looking for a deep threat, not a possession WR with good routes. The Ravens can't teach speed, which they lacked last year, but they could teach Bey everything else.
steeler-envy buffalo [via mobile]
any chance the black@gold try to pickup toomer or jurevicious?
James Walker (4:15 PM)
The Steelers don't have interest in either receiver, at least from what I hear.
With their surplus of QBs, why isn't there any talk of the the Browns trading one to the Vikings for their first? DA would make the Vikes an instant Superbowl contender, and the Browns would pick up an extra 1st-rounder
James Walker (4:17 PM)
Jon, Browns fans make me laugh sometimes. They always believe their players are worth first-round picks yet they want to get rid of them ASAP. Would you trade your first rounder for Derek Anderson? Matt Cassel drew just a second rounder. The market just isn't that high this year.
steelerfan1 m.phone [via mobile]
i think the steelers should go d-line and o-line the first 4 rounds. those are needs in my eyes. cb.,wr, are just wants.
James Walker (4:19 PM)
That's not a bad idea, Steelerfan1. At some point Pittsburgh will take the best available player, though. It may do it in round one.
Joseph (Athens, GA)
Great blog James, just wanted to know if you agreed with Trent Edwards recent comment saying that the Ravens should switch to an offensive mindset? I personally love defense (and crab cakes) and think nobody does it consistently better than Baltimore.
James Walker (4:21 PM)
I didn't hear Edwards' comments. But as far as Baltimore's makeup, Ozzie Newsome has a history of spending a majority of the money on defense. That's his blueprint. This year Ray Lewis, Domonique Foxworth and Terrell Suggs are cashing in big. I don't think that's going to change.
Adam (Sandusky Ohio)
Hey James, if the Browns pull off a trade to get Jay Cutler, do you think it would be a good idea to draft Crabtree. With Cutler at QB, and Edwards and Crabtree as recievers, could the browns be a playoff-caliber team?
James Walker (4:23 PM)
I find it hard to envision the Browns making the playoffs this year with or without Cutler.
When did Trent Edwards start giving advice to the Ravens?
James Walker (4:24 PM)
I don't know. This is the first I've heard of it.
gbsteelerfan, pittsburgh, pa
any word on Mendenhall's shoulder recovery
James Walker (4:26 PM)
I talked to Rashard about six weeks ago at the Super Bowl and he was optimistic. We talked about his weight loss. He said he wasn't able to work out his upper body much beyond his rehab but feels he can put on the muscle pretty quickly. Other than that, he's fine.
Eric (San Diego)
Do think the Vikings are quality QB away from being one of the top NFC teams?
James Walker (4:28 PM)
If the defense remains one the top units in the NFL, yes.
JW, it was Trent Dilfer not Edwards.
James Walker (4:30 PM)
Thanks for the clarity. I still didn't see the comments. But I've talked to Dilfer several times and use to cover him in Cleveland. He has a great football mind.
Would you agree that the Steelers got short changed with a 5th round compensatory pick for Alan Faneca? A $7 mil pro bowl guard = 5th round? Pats got a 5th and 6th for Stallworth and Randall Gay!
James Walker (4:31 PM)
Sean, it's very hard to say. The NFL is very secretive of the exact formula it uses to come up with these compensatory picks so.....
John (Fort Myers, FL)
If the Steelers wrap up James Harrison's contract extension before training camp, what are the chances they begin negotiating with any other 2010 free agents? If so, who do you think is next on their list?
James Walker (4:33 PM)
I think the Steelers will pick and choose what player they want to talk to before 2010 regardless of what happens with James Harrison. There is no reason they can't multi-task.
Derick Young Casper, WY
Come on James, how do you feel about the latest letter the Ravens organization sent stating they do NOT want to play Pittsburgh on Prim Time in the season opener.
James Walker (4:34 PM)
Derick, I mentioned earlier that I can see both sides. It's a very polarizing arguement, so I'm leaving that for AFC North readers on the blog to decide.
EJ (Blakely, PA)
What are the chances that Brady Quinn or Derek Anderson gets traded after Eric Mangini's annouhcement? Also, what are your thoughts about the Braylon Edwards rumors?
James Walker (4:36 PM)
Nothing in the NFL is 100 percent. But I think Mangini's statements today means there is a greater probability both players will compete this summer. I think the Browns would be willing to trade Edwards for the right price. I'm pretty sure Edwards will not re-sign with Cleveland next year.
Do you think Jamal Lewis for the Browns has another year - or we in desperate need of a new Running back? Can Braylon improve his game? 2007 was great - I think he can get there again
James Walker (4:40 PM)
Jamal is going to get his chances because the Browns want to become a power team. A lot of people don't realize Lewis had just over 1,000 yards rushing last year. Look it up. If he matches that again, Cleveland should be very happy. Braylon will have a better year. I don't think anyone can drop that many passes two years in a row.
I'm not sure if they are willing to trade within the division. But if the price is right, would you target Braylon E. for a 2nd round pick if you were the Ravens? (Especially if Maclin, DHB or Harvin were gone by pick 26) He'd be the deep threat we are looking for. But I could see myself throwing a chair through my plasma if con't to drop balls.
James Walker (4:43 PM)
These trade scenarios are becoming hilarious. So Cleveland should give the Ravens Braylon Edwards and possibly the AFC North title with it? Let's chill on the trade talk for the day.
Robert (Latrobe, PA)
How much will the Ravens miss Jason Brown?
James Walker (4:44 PM)
Not that much, Robert. Matt Birk is a very good center when healthy. If he stays away from the injury bug, he will do just fine.
Hey James I have a quick question. What are the chances the Ravens draft a WR with their 1st round selection.
James Walker (4:46 PM)
Very good, Travis. Baltimore has a penchant to take the best available player sometimes, as well. But at the end of the first round, that player could be a WR.
POST PLEASE: Tell Steelers fans the Ravens' request was about strategy, not being afraid. If an unfavorable situation can be avoided, why not avoid it? The Ravens did pretty well against the Steelers last year with a rookie QB. If anybody should be afraid, it's the Steelers.
James Walker (4:47 PM)
There is one opinion from the Ravens' perspective.
Adam (Warren, OH)
Hey James, what are teh chances that Aaron Curry makes it to 5 for the Browns?
James Walker (4:49 PM)
Not very good, Adam. I'd say 20 percent. There was a reason Cleveland went out and signed two free-agent LBs in the past couple of weeks.
Browns this, Browns that.... I know you live in C Town but come on!!! How come no Patriots questions? Are you biased against my boys? Who makes a better fit with the 23rd pick? Cushing or Clay Matthews Jr? We need linebacker help badly!!
James Walker (4:50 PM)
Ron, this is an AFC North chat. By the way, Matthews is more versatile, and Bill Belichick likes that in his players.
so you ravens fans have to tweek the system to win, what ever works for you, your still going to play us twice. so good luck too you
James Walker (4:51 PM)
Ok guys, feel free to trash talk in the AFC North blog. I'm in the middle of a Q&A session.
JW, you mentioned the ravens often take the best available player, How likely would they be to take OSU alum Beanie Wells? His power running game would make the offense nearly unstoppable. Please tell this Browns fan it is not possible!
James Walker (4:54 PM)
I don't see Wells dropping that far, plus the Ravens aren't looking at him.
Ryab (Lancaster, PA)
I heard various teams are interested in Heyward Bey, incuding the jets, do you think the Ravens should trade up to get Bey or just let the best reviever available fall into their laps?
James Walker (4:55 PM)
There are enough WRs to where the Ravens won't have to trade up. Last year, it was Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco and everyone else at QB. Baltimore needed one and made the move. This year is different. A good player will fall into its lap.
Why doesnt the Bengals pick up Deuce?
James Walker (4:58 PM)
I assume you are talking about Deuce McAllister. He is both a health and age risk. Plus the team invested in Cedric Benson. It's better for Cinci to look for a young home run threat in the draft.
The Wolf (Cleveland)
Cribbs has not been given a long term contract. Will he stay a Brown?
James Walker (4:59 PM)
Similar to the James Harrison situation, there is a lot of time left. I think both Kent State alums will have a deal in place before training camp.
Matt (Ashburn, VA)
Who do you like more... Alex Mack or Max Unger?
James Walker (5:02 PM)
I'm siding with Alex Mack.
James Walker (5:03 PM)
Thanks for your time everyone. Let's catch up again next week. -JW