The AFC North—indeed, the league as a whole—largely spent Sunday in quiet reflection, digesting the whirlwind that was the opening week of free agency, which included massive contracts, a flurry of eyebrow-raising trades, and a rash of surprising retirements.
There wasn’t much left for an encore as we head into week two of the free agency period, but the first day of the week was certainly not without its news worth passing along.
For the Pittsburgh Steelers’ part, they currently have a visitor in town, as free agent cornerback Patrick Robinson was reported to have flown in last night for a visit that continues through to today.
Robinson, a former first-round draft pick who never quite lived up to his potential, has several suitors pursuing him, but Pittsburgh has been his first stop. Will it prove to be his only stop? Can the Steelers keep him in the building until he signs?
Outside linebacker and cornerback are the team’s biggest needs, and they have already signed one outside linebacker. Having lost Brice McCain already in free agency, landing Robinson would help provide a boost to a secondary that has been struggling of late due to injuries and a general lack of talent. While Robinson is far from an elite player, he could be a solid starter.
The Steelers are not the only team within the division playing host, however, as the Cleveland Browns have wide receiver Dwayne Bowe in town, who was recently released by the Chiefs. The team is reportedly making the hard sell, determined not to let him leave without having signed a contract as they make a concerted effort to improve their wide receivers group.
The team will be without Josh Gordon yet again as the talented young receiver proves unable to stay out of trouble. Outside of Andrew Hawkins, there was not much else on the roster. The team has already signed Brian Hartline, but with the push that they are making for Bowe, it is clear that they are not yet finished.
I have talked about the Cincinnati Bengals and their reported interest in a reunion with defensive end Michael Johnson for the past several days in these AFC North free agency updates. The two sides made good on that reunion yesterday.
Johnson, previously a starter for the Bengals, signed with the Buccaneers in free agency in 2014, but after just one year, was released. Johnson narrowed his two choices down to the Bengals and the Vikings, but he ultimately decided to return to the team that drafted him, signing a four-year, $20 million contract. And the Bengals will still receiver a compensatory pick for losing him in free agency a year ago.
As for the Baltimore Ravens, they remained quiet on Sunday a day after signing safety Kendrick Lewis to a three-year contract to replace Darian Stewart, whom they lost in free agency. There are also reports that the team is focusing on replacing Torrey Smith’s vertical game via the draft.