With the Cleveland Browns already in training camp, as participants in the Hall of Fame Game they got to start early, the rest of the AFC North is playing a bit of catch-up. The Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals will open on Tuesday while the Pittsburgh Steelers open on Wednesday.
The Browns hope to be as good as the three mostly stable organizations in the AFC North but will have to wait until the start of the regular season to prove it.
With their training camps opening, we had a few AFC North updates worth sharing:
Ravens Free Agency
As we saw with a number of teams already, veteran free agents are finally signing right before training camps open for multiple teams. For Baltimore, that led to the loss of CB Marcus Peters to the Las Vegas Raiders:
The #Raiders have reached an agreement with former #Ravens Pro Bowl CB Marcus Peters, sources say. Peters, who had an impressive workout today, gets a 1-year deal and Las Vegas gets a talented player right before camp. pic.twitter.com/DmbaYLLoSh— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 24, 2023
To replace their former starting corner, the Ravens will reportedly be signing a Pittsburgh free agent in his place, Arthur Maulet:
Former Steelers CB Arthur Maulet is nearing an agreement to sign with the Baltimore Ravens, per source.— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) July 24, 2023
Maulet played a lot of slot CB and special teams snaps for Pittsburgh last 2 years. And now he could play against Steelers twice a year.
While both labeled cornerbacks, as noted above, Maulet is more of a slot corner while Peters worked mostly outside.
Check out all things Ravens at Baltimore Beatdown
We will let you listen to Cincinnati owner Mike Brown to draw your conclusion. Perhaps due to his monotone presentation, Brown seemed to be lamenting the financial realities of the NFL when it comes to Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins:
Mike Brown deflected Joe Burrow contract questions saying both sides promised to keep it private.— Joe Danneman (@FOX19Joe) July 24, 2023
But this is an interesting two minutes. It's Mike Brown on the financial challenge of keeping Cincinnati's big three: Burrow, Chase, Higgins. pic.twitter.com/pGEAlPPL63
While the NFL salary cap makes it difficult on teams at times, few teams ever have to let go of top-end players after their first contract due to the cap. The Bengals owner seems to be preparing his key players to take less or for fans to be ready for them to move on to other teams.
Without upfront capital to pay out large signing bonuses, Brown could be limited in how to structure contracts to keep a lot of really talented players.
Check out all things Bengals at Cincy Jungle
Steelers QB Hopes
No big news from Pittsburgh on Monday but we could hear more tomorrow as they are the last team to report from the division. As with every team in the NFL, the Steelers' hopes to succeed fall on their quarterback. Kenny Pickett has given the team hope, it seems:
Pickett is trending in the right direction, and he should show more growth after his second full offseason and first as the established starter under offensive coordinator Matt Canada.
Check out all things Steelers at Behind the Steel Curtain
Are you surprised to hear Mike Brown talk about his three stars as if it is tough to keep them all?