Chat with James Walker
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN.com AFC North blogger James Walker will stop by to chat about the NFL and what to expect from your team.
Walker joined ESPN.com in 2008 after three seasons covering the Cleveland Browns for the Columbus Dispatch.
Send your questions now and join James Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET!
James Walker (4:00 PM)
Good afternoon, everyone. The offseason is about to kick into full gear. So there are a lot of rumors and information flying around. Let's try to clear some things up over the next hour.
Randy Vodenichar (Butler , Pa)
I know that the Steelers do not spen big on free agents. If LT becomes available do you think that they would give some interest. Willie Parker is probably leaving. So there would be some room on the roster. Mendenhall would be the feature but LT could make the Steelers mmore dynamic. Something that they lack in the running game for the last couple years.
James Walker (4:02 PM)
Tomlinson still believes he can be a feature back in the NFL. So that rules Pittsburgh out. I also think his salary demands would be fairly high. Someone is going to take in LT to see what he has left, but I doubt it will be Pittsburgh.
D. Morgan (Charlotte, NC)
What unit is more important to upgrade for the Ravens this offseason the secondary or the pass rush?
James Walker (4:04 PM)
That's tough because both are tied together. I think receiver is more important overall. But if Ed Reed comes back another pass rusher would be slightly ahead of secondary help.
What will Coy Francies and David Veikune's roles be next year after dissapointing rookie seasons?
James Walker (4:06 PM)
Both players will have to earn their spots, especially with a new front office. Veikune should get every chance in the world to prove he can play because he's a second-round pick. Teams don't give up on those picks easily. Francies will have to make the most of every chance he gets to see any playing time next year.
anthony Gotti (Scranton,Pa)
Hey James!I love your chats, i read them all year. My question is what do you think the steelers need in the draft and are their still built for success the next few years, coach and player wise?
James Walker (4:09 PM)
Pittsburgh does not have a lot of holes. But a starting cornerback is the most pressing need. I think that position hurt the team more than anything last year. So much went wrong and the Steelers were still 9-7. They should be right back in contention if they patch things up before next season.
Joseph (Athens, GA)
If receiver is #1 priority for the ravens, then should they go for the best they can in the draft, or get a free agent like Stallworth
James Walker (4:11 PM)
If the choice is between Donte Stallworth or the draft, the Ravens should build through the draft. But there are other good receivers that could be available in free agency or via trade.
What do you think the chances are the bengals pick up a big time wide reciever in free agency? If not in FA, do you see them going WR in the first round?
James Walker (4:14 PM)
A lot of WR questions today. I don't think there will be a receiver worth taking at No. 21. So I would say no there. There is a lot of talk right now about Terrell Owens in Cincinnati and I think the Bengals should at least consider the pros and cons over the next few weeks.
James Walker (4:15 PM)
I don't know if the Bengals are interested because for them to talk about that would be tampering while he's still under contract with Buffalo. But Chad Ochocinco can say whatever he wants.
Is Boldins injury history and age to much of a factor for the Ravens to give up a no.2 for him?
James Walker (4:17 PM)
I think the Cardinals would ask for more than a second-round pick for Boldin. At least that was the case in the past, Awayne.
Dean Moll (North Royalton, OH)
Who do you see starting under center for the Browns come Week 1?
James Walker (4:20 PM)
Alex Mack. Just kidding. It's too early to say. The Browns are exploring their options, though, and that says something.
Hi James;Avid blog reader and poster - keep up the good work. Will this be the year that Ozzie Newsome finally parts with draft picks in a trade?
James Walker (4:22 PM)
Thanks Ravenous. I just don't see it. I have to go by Ozzie's history, and history says he covets high draft picks, as he should. It doesn't mean he wouldn't move up or move down for other draft picks. Ozzie's done that plenty of times. But I doubt he will trade a 1st and 3rd for anyone.
Anthony Powell (Boynton Beach, Florida)
James do you think the Bengals will make a push for Vince Wilfork of the Patriots and would he be a good fit?
James Walker (4:23 PM)
Nope. Too much money and the Bengals play a 4-3. Not an ideal match. The Pats may also franchise Wilfork.
Hayden (Logan, Utah)
is TO really going to the bengals and changing his name? seems like a bad idea
James Walker (4:24 PM)
Not legally, although you can never say never with receivers sometimes. That may be his nickname in Cincy though.
You mentioned corner as a need for the Steelers. But do you think that one of the rookies from last year -- Lewis or Burnett -- can fill that need?
James Walker (4:27 PM)
I don't like to fully judge rookies after one season, because players can make great strides in their second year. People in Pittsburgh call that the Troy Polamalu rule. But right now, in Feb., I didn't see enough from Keenan Lewis or Joe Burnett to be confident they could hold down the starting cornerback job next season. But let's see how they improve in the offseason first.
Hayden (Logan, Utah)
best CB in the draft: BSU dude?
James Walker (4:29 PM)
Joe Haden of Florida.
At the end of the season the ravens secondary was beaten up. Who do you think the starting four will be back there at the beginning of the season next year?
James Walker (4:31 PM)
The team wants Domonique Foxworth and Lardarius Webb to be its two corners next season. The Ravens are hopeful Ed Reed comes back, and the strong safety position is open because Dawan Landry is a free agent. Maybe he returns.
I don't see why the bengals don't use their first runder for a proven WR comodity instead of a gamble in the draft. Using the first and third for Marshall, V. Jackson, or Boldin (probably less than the first and third) seems like a better use than on Tate or Lafell.
James Walker (4:35 PM)
If the Bengals use their first-round pick it will probably be to help somewhere else. You have to consider that draft picks are very important. It's how teams build for the long-term. If they give them away for a player like Marshall or Boldin, they already have mileage AND they have to pay out a huge contract extension. That's a lot.
Sean (Mt. Pleasant, MI)
James,What do you see as a reasonable expectation for Mendenhall for next year. 1200-1400 yards, 8-10 td's possible?
James Walker (4:39 PM)
It depends on Pittsburgh's philosophy. The team looks like it wants to pass the ball a lot more. So 1,000-1,100 yards would be a good season. If the Steelers go back to pounding the ball, then Mendy should have bigger numbers.
RJ (Little rock,Ar)
How significant would it be if the cowboys played in a super bowl in their own stadium
James Walker (4:41 PM)
It would be the first time that's ever happened. I think the San Francisco 49ers played a Super Bowl at Stanford once. That's pretty close.
Tommy Gunnz (Northern Cambria, PA)
Hey J-Dub...do you think the Browns will receive trade offers for any current team members? And do you think have anybody on their radar who they'd trade picks for?
James Walker (4:43 PM)
What's good, Tommy? Corey Williams could garner some interest in the trade market. He could be expendable for the right price. Unless it's for a QB, I don't see them making any significant trades involving draft picks.
Kovacs (Santa Monica)
I really want Joe Haden with the #7 pick. What do you think the chances are the Browns go Haden and then a safety in round 2?
James Walker (4:46 PM)
Kovacs, what's up? Thanks for being a longtime reader of the blog. Haden is a good possibility. But I wouldn't be surprised if the team looks for a veteran safety in free agency first. Then if nothing catches the Browns' eye they could try high in the draft.
when do players start going to different teams in the off season
James Walker (4:47 PM)
Free agency begins on March 5.
What would be Joshua Cribbs trade value,and is he more valueable to the Browns than what the market value for him would be?
James Walker (4:50 PM)
Cribbs is much more valuable to the Browns. He is a great player but I don't think Cleveland would get enough for him in a trade. Plus he's the heart and soul of the team. I don't see a trade happening.
Steve K (Ohio)
Do you think Hampton gets resigned by the Steelers...If not ...who are some free agents they may look at.
James Walker (4:52 PM)
I would be surpised if Casey Hampton doesn't get the franchise tag. The team may try to negotiate after that, or the Steelers may not, but I think Hampton remains a Steeler next season. They have no full-time replacement.
Kevin (Baltimore, Md)
I know its early but what do you expect from the Ravens this coming season?
James Walker (4:56 PM)
Way too early. Who are their starting receivers?
If Joe Haden is gone when the Browns pick is Dez Bryant a guy they would target?
James Walker (4:58 PM)
I'm against drafting WRs in the top 10. That's my personal philosophy. But I think that should apply to most teams, especially the Browns at No. 7.
Brett Favre to Cleveland? (That's a joke....sorta)
James Walker (5:00 PM)
How about Favre as the starter, Donovan McNabb as the backup, and Matt Hasselbeck holding the clipboard in Cleveland. That should cover ground for all the rumors.
James Walker (5:01 PM)
Everyone, thanks for your time. It should be an interesting offseason so continue reading the AFC North blog.