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AFC North Free Agency Watch: Day 13

AFC NORTH TEAMS

Sunday was actually a fairly busy day around the NFL, and in the AFC North, because it marked the beginning of the league’s annual meetings, which means that we got the chance to hear from many important people throughout the league who can actually speak to matters pertaining to their team.

That included Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert, but before we discuss his comments, we must first get out of the way the fact that the team agreed to terms on a two-year contract with outside linebacker James Harrison.

The soon to be 37-year old the day before alluded to an imminent decision coming down between rejoining the Steelers or possibly following Dick LeBeau to the Tennessee Titans, but his mind was made up yesterday, bolstering the team’s pass rushing depth.

Colbert commented that he believed Harrison would compete with Jarvis Jones at the right outside linebacker spot, adding that both outside linebacker spots, both cornerback spots, and the weak-side inside linebacker spot will all be open to competitors. That’s certainly interesting news to me.

Also of note was Colbert saying that they had discounted the notion of Jason Worilds returning, believing that he would become unaffordable, so his retirement did not affect their plans. He found that the market as a whole facilitated deals that did not make sense, and reiterated his owner’s words in suggesting that the team is most likely done in free agency.

As if the Cleveland Browns needed any more attention, it was reported yesterday that they are currently the clear frontrunners to be the featured organization for HBO’s Hard Knocks reality tv show. That’s just great for everybody who doesn’t have to run or play for the Browns, not so much for the ones who have to deal with their first-round quarterback being in rehab.

Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown was interviewed during the league meetings, discussing a variety of issues. He said that head coach Marvin Lewis is not a ‘lame duck’ despite going into his last season under contract, adding that the Bengals have handled his contract status in this manner in the past.

Brown also affirmed that A.J. McCarron will get his shot at the backup quarterback slot, as I wrote about yesterday. Meanwhile, he has no plans to use the franchise tag on A.J. Green next season, preferring to work out a long-term extension before then.

The organization is undecided on taking the fifth-year options on former first-round draft picks Kevin Zeitler and Dre Kirkpatrick. They have many starters and key role players under their final contract years that they will have to address in some way this offseason.

We have not heard yet from anybody from the Baltimore Ravens at the meetings, but hopefully that will come today. In the meantime, the team is expected once again to reap a host of compensatory draft picks, and they seem likely to address free agency at least to acquire another wide receiver or tight end prior to the draft.

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