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February 17, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Jamison Hensley

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (3:00 PM)

Welcome all to our first Friday edition of the AFC North chat. Thanks for stopping by. Let's kick off our chat.

Tommy (OH) [via mobile]

I haven't really heard much lately about Peyton Hillis' contract talks with Cle. Being a lifelong BROWNS fan, i personally think Hillis is a perfect fit in Cle. With that being said, if the BROWNS were to draft RG3 at #4...wouldn't it make sense to try to bring Hillis back so that we at least have a tough runner to take pressure off the rookie QB?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (3:01 PM)

Tommy: I don't think Hillis is a good fit for the West Coast offense and I don't think he's a good fit for the Browns locker room. I would be surprised if the Browns try to retain him. There are rumblings that the Browns will do so. The Browns could do worse at running back but they could do better as well.

Ben (NJ)

Jamison, do you think it's a realistic chance that the Steelers lose Wallace? The Pats are a likely fit, but I don't think the Steelers prefer a late 1st round pick over Wallace. Thoughts?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (3:03 PM)

Ben: I don't think the Steelers are guaranteed of losing Wallace if they just put the first-round tender on him instead of the franchise tag. The two teams that should concern the Steelers are the Patriots and 49ers. If the Steelers can't match those offers, they would be left with either the 30th overall pick from the 49ers or the 31st on from the Patriots. That would be devastating.

Donald (OH)

Who are some of the top targets for the Bengals in FA?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (3:04 PM)

Donald: I think WR Robert Meachem and guard Ben Grubbs would fill needs and be good fits for the Bengals. Both would be significant upgrades.

BeMore22 (City hall)

JH I am hearing that the Ravens and Ray Rice are pretty far apart at the outset of their negotiations. Obviously if a deal cannot get done the Ravens will want to tag him. My question is does Rice have the right to refuse the tag? How does that work?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (3:05 PM)

BeMore: I haven't heard they are far apart. Actually, I heard they haven't even begun talking. The franchise tag is in Rice's future. And players can't refuse the tag. It's part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

mike (dayton)

what do you think about the Bengals trading their 2 first round picks to get richardson?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (3:06 PM)

Mike: I don't like that idea. The Bengals should draft Richardson if he falls but you can't reach for a running back in the first round. Cincinnati can still address guard and cornerback with those two first-round picks.

GJ (Baltimore, MD)

Do you think the Browns have any leverage in telling St. Louis that unless the Rams accept the #4 pick, their 2nd round pick and some other lower pick (4th or 5th rd?) they plan to take Justin Blackmon?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (3:08 PM)

GJ: I don't think so. The Rams would be happy with Blackmon or OT Ryan Kalil from USC. What the Browns can offer the Rams that the other teams cannot is the ability to trade back and remain in the top four. That would mean the Rams would either get Blackmon or Kalil.

Will (Cincinnati)

Any chance to Bengals give up a first round pick to sign Foster? This is only if he is not Franchise Taged and the Texans don't match the offer of course. The Bengals have a ton of cap room ($60 Mil), is Mike Brown actually going to spend that money?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (3:10 PM)

Will: That is definitely a consideration only if, as you stated, the Texans put a tender and not the tag on Foster. The Bengals want big plays out of their running back, which is something they didn't get with Cedric Benson. If I was running the Bengals, I would make that move for Foster without a second thought.

BlueEyesJY (Dallas, TX)

Bengals fan but Ravens question. You've blogged on it several times but do you honestly feel like the Ravens will be able to secure Grubbs and Rice before FA starts?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (3:12 PM)

I see Grubbs going elsewhere in free agency and the Ravens putting the tag on Rice. Although the Ravens like Grubbs and would like to keep him, they made their decision on him last season when they chose to give Marshal Yanda the big-money contract.

Mike newyork [via mobile]

Do you think the ravens would be interested in signing portis or tomlinson as a backup to rice they said there lookin for a vet your thoughts.

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (3:14 PM)

Mike: In my time as the Ravens beat reporter, I learned two things: Never discount a former University of Miami player coming there (like Portis) or a player with a connection to a high-ranking coach (Tomlinson with Cam Cameron). I actually prefer the idea of Le'Ron McClain because he would serve three roles: backup tailback, backup fullback and special teams player.

Jim (Baltimore)

Do you see billy cundiff getting cut and the ravens bringing in a new kicker? If I were him I wouldn't want to be back in Baltimore because he will have bad memories and is now a hated man here

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (3:15 PM)

Jim: I see the Ravens bringing in a veteran to compete with Cundiff. The most logical choice is bringing back Shayne Graham. They can't give the job to Cundiff after he missed 10 field goals on the road, including the backbreaker in New England.

David (State College)

JH, seems you are only being typical media type by drumming up controversy with Rooney's forcing Arians out, Ben not meeting with Haley is bad, and Hines will be cut? Why don't you report the facts when they come out for the Steelers instead of stirring up a controversy or just go back to your beloved Ravens country!

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (3:21 PM)

David: It's funny because I don't make Steelers player or officials talk. I react to what they say. If the Steelers had handled the situation better, there would have avoided this reaction. Don't blame the media. Blame the team.

Bob Francis (Alexandria, VA)

The Steelers and Ravens need young blood at ILB, and I've seen V. Burfict linked to both in various mock drafts. However, this week Mike Maycock gave a very poor review to Burfict on his call with reporters, saying he's not 1st round material. What have you been hearing?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (3:23 PM)

Bob: I have a lot of respect for Mayock, but I see an explosive player when I look at Burfict on tape. Before this week's comments, the biggest knock on Burfict was his character and not playing ability. His decisions off the field are the real factor if he slips out of the first round.

Jules Winfield (walking the earth)

We can debate whether the Browns should trade up to get RGIII, but my question is do you think they stockpiled those extra picks so they could make just such a move, or not?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (3:25 PM)

I think the Browns stockpiled those picks because they know they need to add a lot of talent to this team. There are too many holes, especially offensively. I know RG3 can be a special player, but I would stick with my two first-rounders if I was the Browns. Of course, that's my stance right now.

Chris (Cleveland)

You think the browns could be interested in cliff avril

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (3:27 PM)

Chris: There's a good chance that the Lions will franchise Avril, which would take him off the market. But the Browns definitely need another quality DE to play opposite Jabaal Sheard.

JTMCJ (NY)

On certain weeks, James Harrison is still an elite player but quite a few games this year, including the playoff loss--he was a non-factor--what's your take for next year--still elite or just good?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (3:27 PM)

You have to remember that Harrison was coming off back surgery. Expect a more consistent Harrison next season.

Ryan (Nashville)

Could you see Ben grubbs getting the tag if rice gets a deal? Or if rice gets the tag does grubbs get a deal? Ravens cant afford to let him go

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (3:29 PM)

Ryan: The only way Grubbs is on this team next year is if the Ravens can get a long-term deal with Rice and they use the tag on Grubbs. But I think the chances of that happening are slim.

Anthony (Cleveland )

What would be easier and best for the Bengals to do? Pick up a quality guard in the draft, and free agent running back. Or pick up a running back in the draft, and guard in free agency?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (3:29 PM)

Anthony: Bengals need to draft a guard and get two running backs (one in FA and one in the draft).

Mark (Allentown)

Afternoon Jamison, lots of speculation with the Browns and RG3. Would you say anything over their 2 1st picks would be too high of a price to move up?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (3:30 PM)

Mark: If the Browns truly believe RG3 is their franchise quarterback, that price isn't too high. For me, I have questions about RG3 so that's why I wouldn't make the deal today. I might feel differently as the draft draws near.

JTMCJ (NY)

What's your take on Ziggy Hood--can he be an every down NT or DE or is he a nice backup with some potential?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (3:31 PM)

I think Hood is a quality DE. I wouldn't move him to NT. Drafting Poe makes a lot of sense for the Steelers at nose tackle.

Thomas (Vienna, Austria)

Hi Jamison!Who do you see starting for the Ravens 2012 at the Linebacking position?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (3:32 PM)

Thomas: Suggs and Kruger at OLB. Ray Lewis and Burfict at ILB.

Blueeyesjy (Dallas, TX)

Bengals fan with Ravens question. What are the odds Ravens retain both Rice and Grubbs?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (3:33 PM)

Slim.

AdamPBUD (Columbus)

Any chance the Bengals go after Mike Wallace? Would Routt fit in Cincy?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (3:34 PM)

Don't see Bengals going after Wallace. I see New England and San Francisco possibly making a move for Wallace. Routt would be a really good fit in Cincy. He might even start over Clements.

Steve (New Hampshire)

Do you think the steelers may trade back for more picks and go for Poe?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (3:34 PM)

That is a consideration. A lot of teams want to move back in their first-round neighborhood to get a quarterback. Poe could be available later in the first round or early in the second.

Mathew (Omaha)

What happens if two teams were to try and sign the same restricted free agent? Would the player get to choose the team or does it go to who has a higher draft pick for the compensation?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (3:35 PM)

I believe the player has the choice of signing the offer sheet, and he can only sign one.

Anthony (Ontario)

Do you think that Wallace will be a steelers in 2012?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (3:36 PM)

I would say it's 70 percent that Wallace is back with the Steelers.

Bernard (Philly)

The OC switch is getting more attention from national media than many head coaching changes. How much of this chatter is being driven by real conflict inside of the organization and b/w Ben and the Rooneys and how much is being driven by the fact its a slow reporting season and media is searching for topics?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (3:37 PM)

The way the Steelers have handled this situation has opened themselves up to this drama. I don't have to go digging for topics. The Steelers have created storylines every time they talk.

Mark (Allentown)

Do you think the Browns will get a WR via FA? Meachum is out there and many other possible upgrades (no, I wouldn't put Manningham in that group).

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (3:37 PM)

Mark: Someone floated out the possibility of Pierre Garcon and I think he would fit with the Browns.

John (Euclid Oh)

It seems like you are on the RG3 bandwagon. If the Browns don't get him, how far back will it set the team compared to if they do get him?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (3:38 PM)

If you think I'm on the RG3 bandwagon, you haven't been reading this chat.

Stringer Bell (Baltimore, MD)

Other than O-Line, do you see the Ravens making any changes to their starters this year? Do you see any WR's on the roster having potential to step up into a slot role to challenge any FAs or Rookies they bring in?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (3:39 PM)

Potential changes other than O-line: ILB (Jameel McClain is a UFA), DE (Cory Redding is a UFA) and possibly a FA wide receiver can compete for a starting job.

bobcatrunner (Cincy)

Is it safe to say that Hue was actually working for the Bengals last year, and handed them all those picks becuase he knew he would be with them again this year?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (3:41 PM)

That's a funny conspiracy theory but Hue Jackson made that trade because he thought Carson Palmer was the best QB to get the Raiders to the playoffs. But I like your thinking.

Dave (Burke, VA)

Hue Jackson is coming back to the Bengals. Good thing, bad thing, or "meh, whatever".

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (3:42 PM)

Dave: I think it's a good thing. Hue Jackson is a good coach. A lot of coaches have had short runs in Oakland. That raises the question whether it's the organization or the coach who is at fault.

John (Washington, DC)

Jamison, what is your assessment of Pittsburgh's choice of Todd Haley as OC? To me, it says little a bout whether they intend to emphasize the run. Instead, it appears to say that the steelers are interested in having an offensive coordinator that will play to whatever the strengths of his squad are. We know what they are not (pass protection or run blocking). So maybe more fast paced short drop throws over the middle? Thoughts?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (3:43 PM)

John: I think Haley is an upgrade over Arians. He is very flexible in terms of game planning. I think the Steelers will still throw the ball more than run it. But it will be more balanced than the past few seasons.

Kelly (PA)

Hey JH. What are the chances the Steelers are willing to sweat out a first round tender instead of franchising Mike Wallace.

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (3:45 PM)

Kelly: I just don't see how the Steelers can clear the amount of cap room needed to franchise Wallace. Their preference is to put the tag on him. But, because of their cap situation, I see them putting a first-round tender on him.

Jamison Hensley (ESPN)
  (3:46 PM)

Thank you so much for a great chat today. I think it might have been the best one since I took over the AFC North blog. I will be putting posts up on Hue Jackson and D'Qwell Jackson shortly. Thanks again and have a great weekend.