Training camps are still a month away, but that doesn’t mean we cannot keep tabs on what the other three teams in the AFC North are up to as they prepare for the challenges of summertime and the ramp-up to the regular season. Here’s the latest for the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers, because any enemy intel is of the must-know variety for a Cleveland Browns fan.
Baltimore Ravens: Baltimore Beatdown’s Logan Levy asks a very important question: Who will lead the Ravens in receiving touchdowns this year? Last season, it was Steve Smith with five, but he has since retired. Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman followed, with four and three respectively, and the pair are considered to be the cornerstone of the team’s passing offense given the career-threatening injury to tight end Dennis Pitta. But can free-agent acquisition Jeremy Maclin steal the spotlight from Wallace and Perriman?
Also: The Ravens currently rank second in the league in “dead money,” or cash still on their books for players who are no longer on the team. Ten percent of their cap spending, or $16.7 million, is allocated for dead cash this year.
Cincinnati Bengals: Cincy Jungle’s Jason Marcum wonders who the Bengals’ “Jenga piece,” or most invaluable player, is for the 2017 season. There are many choices, ranging from wideout A.J. Green to tight end Tyler Eifert to even quarterback Andy Dalton. So, perhaps his conclusion will surprise you.
Also: Even if that “Jenga piece” isn’t Green, Scott Schulze has a bold prediction for the receiver this year: That Green will be named a First-Team All-Pro for the first time in his career.
Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers and running back Le’Veon Bell have until just July 17th to come to an agreement on a long-term contract or else Bell will have to play out the season on the $12.12 million franchise tag, a tag he has yet to sign. Behind the Steel Curtain’s Jeff Hartman looks at the situation between Bell and the Steelers to determine just who has the leverage in these negotiations.
Also: Dan Sager looks back at how Antonio Brown became one the NFL’s most dominant receivers and if he can stay that way in 2017.