In today's edition of Around the AFC North, we take a look at the contract extension given to John Harbaugh, a wide receivers Bengals fans might also be interested in, and another Steelers free agent.
After compiling a 32-16 record during the regular season over the past three years, the Baltimore Ravens decided to give head coach John Harbaugh a contract extension:
Although the team declined to announce the terms of the deal, a league source said Harbaugh signed a three-year extension worth about $12 million. Harbaugh's average salary of $4 million makes him the second-highest paid coach in the AFC North, just behind the Pittsburgh Steelers' Mike Tomlin, and on the fringe of the top 10 in the league (the Chicago Bears' Lovie Smith, who is 10th, receives $4.8 million annually).
It is frustrating to see the Ravens be consistently good defensively, but their offensive shortcomings this year did not go unnoticed. Jim Zorn was fired as the team's quarterbacks coach due to the lack of progress made by Joe Flacco. Over time, I hope the Ravens continue trying to bank on Flacco, only to have his performance blow up in their faces again.
Let's get the most obvious out of the way: The Bengals have been known to give second chances to players. Wide receiver. Prison time. No one wants him. Mike Brown will take them. Cedric Benson turned out alright, becoming a sort of leader on offense. Adam Jones minded his own business, staying out of trouble. Chris Henry's second chance with the Bengals led to a lot stories that he had finally got his life together before his tragic death in 2009. Tank Johnson went from munitions factory in his basement, to having a final a decent rebound as a rotational defensive tackle during the team's 2009 playoff run.
I don't want our defensive backs having to go up against this guy regularly, so if he isn't going to play for the Browns, then I don't want to see him land with any of the three other teams in the AFC North.
Another free agent the Steelers will have to decide on is offensive lineman Trai Essex. Here is what Michael Bean from Behind the Steel Curtain thinks the team should do with Essex:
I personally would not offer Essex a deal to return. If additional roster spots were added as part of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, than forget what I just said. But assuming there's still just 53 roster spots available, I think it would make more sense to move on. At 28 years of age, Essex should be able to command a 2-3 year deal from some team, likely in the $650-800k per year range. Essex's last contract paid him nearly that much, and remember, that was coming off three straight seasons in which he did very little. This past two years Essex has played a lot more, and done a fairly good job when given a chance to play.
I could see Essex being the type of player Cleveland tries to land. He might have been a disappointment as a starter, but he is still pretty young and could serve as a good backup guard and tackle.