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)
Hello, everyone. Let's see what's on your mind in the AFC North.
Who would you rather have on your team: any of Pittsburghs FA cornerbacks, or Jimmy Smith?
James Walker (4:02 PM)
It depends on the team and the scheme, Tom. For example, Smith is unproven and could be a draft bust. He also has character concerns in his past. Therefore, a team like Pittsburgh would rather have Ike Taylor, because he's safer. But Smith has a high ceiling and could be a good player for Baltimore if he works hard and stay clear of trouble in the future.
Sergio Kindle (Bmore)
Be afraid Pittsburgh, be very afraid!
James Walker (4:05 PM)
Good to hear you're medically cleared, Sergio. But let's save the trash talk for now. Just focus on getting healthy and shaking the rust. By the way, if/when you get to Ben Roethlisberger finish the play, because he's pretty tough to bring down. Ask your teammate: Terrell Suggs.
JW - I want to play for a championship team but do the Ravens ACTUALLY have a shot at signing me? Jimmy and I would make the most dominant CB tandem in all of the NFL. Book it.
James Walker (4:07 PM)
A lot of players in the chat today. Everyone must be bored due to the lockout. Nnamdi, I hope you can spell your own name next time. Baltimore is on the radar but far from the favorite. You know Chuck Pagano well from your days together in Oakland. He helped you in your formative years and that carries some weight. But so does money, and after the Ravens pay Haloti Ngata $12-$14 million per year, I don't see them coming up with another $15 million per year to pay you in the same summer.
JW - who's more valuable - Jimmy Smith or Sergio Kindle
James Walker (4:10 PM)
Right now Jimmy Smith, because he is not as big an unknown and he's a starter. Smith played football last year and doesn't have to shake off any rust. In terms of pure talent, he may already be Baltimore's No. 1 corner as a rookie. Kindle needs to prove he can take full contact again, which will be scary for him and the Ravens at first.
GEORGE WINDER (COLORADO SPRINGS,CO)
Hey James how goes it just a quick question do you think once's the lockout is done the Steelers will extend out troyp, mike wallace, timmons as well as woodley and ike taylor.
James Walker (4:13 PM)
I think this is going to be one of those rare years where you won't see many long-term extensions for players already under contract. There won't be enough time. There's optimism that a deal will get done now, but at best we are still looking at early or mid July. There still needs to be free agency and all the rookies around the league need to get there deals. It's going to be a mad scramble.
Baller (Locust Point)
James - we know Torrey Smith can run the deep route, but will he adapt his game to run cross routes and go over the middle of the field? I'm afraid he's too one-dimensional
James Walker (4:15 PM)
For now that's ok, Baller. If Torrey Smith can make deep plays for the Ravens as a rookie, they will be happy. Baltimore's starters can do the other things. But Smith will have to develop into a complete receiver if he wants to eventually take over Derrick Mason or Anquan Boldin. This situation is similar to Mike Wallace in Pittsburgh. He worked really hard on his routes before earning a starting job.
Shane (Los Angeles, CA)
JW, Cleveland's leading receiver was Watson (764yrds) followed by Massoquoi (483yrds). Is QB the bigger problem for Cleveland or is it the receiving corps?
James Walker (4:18 PM)
Tough question, because I think both are big concerns and big reasons why the Browns won't be contenders in the AFC North this year. I like some of what I've seen from Colt McCoy. But I can't say for sure he's a legitimate franchise quarterback after eight games. He has a lot to prove. Cleveland's receivers (excluding TE Ben Watson) have been there a couple of years and I'm convinced they're not that good.
Ray Fatur (CHardon, Ohio)
Who is the best option to replace Ike Taylor and will the Steelers actually spend money to do so? They can not afford another Super Bowl letdown.
James Walker (4:21 PM)
Last week we identified some free-agent corners the Steelers could consider. Former Redskins corner Carlos Rogers and former Panthers corner Richard Marshall are two affordable possibilities for the Steelers if Ike Taylor walks.
John Jackson (cleveland, oh)
How will the browns feel when my bengals sweep them this year?
James Walker (4:21 PM)
I don't know if the Bengals will sweep the Browns. Is that your prediction?
Kovacs (Santa Monica)
Is the Browns schedule from week 13-17 the toughest five game stretch you've ever seen?
James Walker (4:24 PM)
Yeah, I thought the league really punished Cleveland there at the end. If the Browns happen to be in contention, that stretch will probably knock them out. But Cleveland just needs to focus on winning early to keep morale high and try to make it a competitive season. The Browns haven't done that lately.
Colt's #1 fan (Cleveland )
Is Colt McCoy REALLY the future of the organization or in your opinion, is this just temporary?
James Walker (4:26 PM)
The Browns do not know the answer and neither do I. There were some pluses and minuses on both sides. Cleveland wants to see McCoy now for a full season before deciding.
Matt (Florence, SC)
If the lockout continues, is the NFL more likely to cut training camps short or to cancel a preseason game or two?
James Walker (4:28 PM)
It really depends on how long the lockout continues. In my opinion, games are more valuable because money is involved. Owners do not make or lose money by missing training camp time. That's more for coaches and players to get on the same page. If preseason games are missed, that's a lot of money being missed with tickets, concessions, parking, etc. So I think practice time would be the first to go.
Do you Lebron James should have tryed out for the Nfl as TE kind of like Gates in San Diego
James Walker (4:33 PM)
LeBron was born to play basketball and made the right choice. He is probably the most physically gifted athlete ever in the history of the sport. LeBron's issue is the mental part. But if LeBron played football, he probably would have been good but not one of the best ever.
Jamie Mack (Greenville, Sc)
hey james what are the steelers chance of repeating as AFC north champs, and their chances of getting back to a Super Bowl?
James Walker (4:35 PM)
I'm not making any firm predictions until free agency and training camp. But I think the Steelers and Ravens have to be the favorites in the division right now. As far as getting back to the Super Bowl, most runners-up struggle to do so. The Steelers have a lot of history against them.
Will Sergio Kindle start across from Suggs in week 1 against the Steelers. And if so how big of an impact do you think he will make?
James Walker (4:38 PM)
I think we should all be careful about going crazy with Sergio Kindle predictions. He had a serious head injury. Yes, Kindle was medically cleared, but let's see how he responds to full contact first before making sweeping predictions.
Shane (Los Angeles, CA)
JW, what do you think about Plax to the Ravens? A stable, contending organization like Balt should give him a look, and I am sure Flacco wouldn't be too hurt about having a big WR like Plax to throw to.
James Walker (4:39 PM)
I don't see it. The Ravens don't need another 30-plus receiver, because they have enough of them. Plaxico also doesn't have 4.3 speed, which is something else the Ravens need.
I know this is still down the road but can you see any of the team in the AFCN moving to LA in the future? If so, which would be most likely?
James Walker (4:41 PM)
I don't see any AFC North franchise moving any time soon. This division is stable. There has been a little talk about it in Cincinnati. But owner Mike Brown has a sweet stadium deal with Hamilton County and is making a lot of money there. I doubt the Bengals would walk away from that.
Could the Steelers go get both Rogers AND Marshall if Ike walks?
James Walker (4:43 PM)
That's not going to happen. It's enough for Pittsburgh to sign one decent outside free agent. The Steelers won't get two at the same position.
Hey JW. What positions do you think the steelers will target outside of CB when free agency starts? Obviously corner is a huge need but are there any other positions you think they will try to add depth?
James Walker (4:45 PM)
Kicker is one definite need. I think Pittsburgh may seek some depth on the offensive line as well. The Steelers were very thin there once a few injuries took place.
I've heard that the Steelers would be a good fit for Tiki Barber and they need a third down back if Moore departs. What are the chances Pitt looks his way. He was pretty darn good when he left the game.
James Walker (4:46 PM)
Don't believe everything you read and hear Lamboo.
Shane (Los Angeles, CA)
JW, thanks for being the voice of reason on the Palmer trade. Do you have any inclination that Mike Brown might be trying to drive up the price on Palmer? How sweet (in terms of draft picks) would the deal have to be for Mike Brown to relent and trade him?
James Walker (4:48 PM)
That would be a slick move by Mike Brown. But with his track record, he's not that type of owner. Brown usually sticks to what he says, which is why I take his "no trade" comments at face value. There are plenty of examples where he's said the same for other players and stayed true to his words.
Aloha JW,I know some teams are doing player led practices. Any of the AFCN teams doing that?
James Walker (4:50 PM)
Aloha, Peter. All AFC North teams except Pittsburgh have held big practices. I believe Ben Roethlisberger got the WRs together once, but nothing huge. The Bengals and Ravens have had the biggest turnouts for their practices so far.
Al (Amarillo, TX)
If the Colt McCoy experiment fails and the Browns end up worse than 8-8, what kind of ammo would they need to move up in the draft and get Andrew Luck (assuming he's the first pick)?
James Walker (4:52 PM)
The Browns would probably need the No. 1 overall pick next year to land Stanford QB Andrew Luck. So this season would have to be a complete disaster. But there are always a few first-round options at QB every year if Colt McCoy doesn't work out.
James, any chance the Ravens can retain Wilson and Carr? Smith, Foxworth, Webb, Wilson, and Carr seems like a good stable of CBs to me. Although if I had to choose between Wilson and Carr, I'd rather keep Wilson.
James Walker (4:54 PM)
Wilson will probably cost more, because he's more of a starter. Carr is a backup and a solid leader in the locker room. After drafting Jimmy Smith in the first round, I think Carr is more likely to return now.
Hi JW - is there a chance that the Browns will keep Delhomme and trade Seneca Wallace?
James Walker (4:56 PM)
Not a chance. The Browns just signed Wallace to a three-year extension to be the backup. Delhomme has one year left on his deal and likely will be released.
Robert (San Diego)
With the way the Bengals have basically re-stocked their lineup over the last three years with young and talented draft picks, do you think if they end up middle of the pack this year (from 6-10 to 9-7 range)....and this is a BIG if...if Mike Brown would trade Carson Palmer for let's say a second and fourth rounder next year, how close would you say the Bengals roster looks to a deep playoff run?
James Walker (4:58 PM)
I'm not into predicting things years down the road, because the NFL changes too much. But looking at this season, the Bengals will not be in contention for the AFC North and a Super Bowl. Next year? Who knows? But that's why I've been saying Cincinnati is at least two years away from contending again.
James Walker (5:00 PM)
Everyone, thanks again for your time. Remember to check out the AFC North blog and AFC North Twitter for all the latest on the division.