Despite being now 10 days in to the free agency period, the league, and the AFC North specifically, continues to see a steady, if narrowing, stream of activity through each 24-hour news cycle. Here is what took place within the division over the course of this past Thursday.
In Pittsburgh Steelers news, the defending AFC North champions saw two free agents that they had in for visits sign elsewhere, both at the cornerback position. Former first-round draft pick Patrick Robinson signed a one-year, $3 million contract with the Chargers, while the Buccaneers added Sterling Moore on a one-year deal worth a little over half of Robinson’s.
While the Steelers acknowledged heading into the offseason that they desired to address the cornerback position, all they have managed to do thus far, aside from hosting two players that did not sign, was to tender Antwon Blake and watch Brice McCain leave for more money.
As they continue to watch cornerbacks fly off the market, the quality of player remaining continues to dwindle, and one has to ask at some point the question of at what level of player can the Steelers still add a piece that will help their team.
The front office refuses, it seems, to overpay in their eyes what a cornerback’s worth will be to the team, however, and it doesn’t appear that they believe they need a starter, or perhaps even a nickel corner. Or perhaps they’re just convinced that they’re better off addressing the position, at this point, in the draft.
Elsewhere in the division, the Cleveland Browns finally concluded an extended courtship with former Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, who has spent the past few days negotiating with the organization.
The Browns had previously added Brian Hartline to the roster for the newly signed quarterback Josh McCown to throw to. They have now added two tall targets for him, which allowed him to succeed in Chicago—yet he failed in Tampa Bay with similarly tall targets. Both Bowe and Hartline are coming off down seasons as well, which is not the greatest thing for an organization that is having a down…well, existence.
A day after promptly releasing running back Bernard Pierce after a night of accumulating a DUI, the former Baltimore Raven was quickly claimed off waivers by Jacksonville. The Ravens had little choice but to make the move, for obvious reasons, but it’s also equally true that he has significantly underperformed since his impressive rookie season.
Despite the fact that the team was able to re-sign 2014 Pro Bowl running back Justin Forsett to a three-year contract, the Ravens will be hosting potential first-round draft pick Melvin Gordon for a pre-draft visit.
The Cincinnati Bengals also agreed to re-sign defensive lineman Devon Still, who was a free agent. Still’s daughter, Leah, has spent much of her young life battling cancer, and the team has supported him through this process. The Still family recently received encouraging news on the health front for Leah, and now Devon looks to continue his NFL career with the Bengals.