AFC North News Watch: Day 21


This Monday saw some action take place around the AFC North, with football coaches visiting baseball teams and divisional free agents looking or signing elsewhere, as well as news of potential free agency interest coming into the division rather than leaving it. Here is a recap of the news of yesterday.

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was down in Florida yesterday, ostensibly taking in a Spring Training visit with the Pirates, but that’s surely not the only reason for him being down there.

FSU’s Pro Day just so happens to be today, and while I have not heard anything directly, there’s a good chance that Tomlin may have met with a player or two over dinner the night before. There are a couple of cornerback prospects in particular that could be of interest.

Also yesterday, the league finally handed down the penalties to the Cleveland Browns and general manager Ray Farmer, which, quite frankly, turned out to be little more than a slap on the wrist.

The organization was fined $250,000, and Farmer was suspended for the first four games of the regular season. Suspending a general manager for the regular season really doesn’t do much, since his primary activities occur during the offseason.

It was reasoned that the Browns didn’t gain a competitive advantage through Farmer’s actions, and that others within the organization were ignorant of his actions, but I seem to recall that ignorance was no excuse in handing down other punishments by the league.

The Browns worked to improve their group of wide receivers this year, signing two free agents over the past month that could potentially be starters, which made Miles Austin expendable. The free agent signed yesterday with the Philadelphia Eagles, sending him back to the division where he was first able to make a name for himself, though now with a rival.

It was reported earlier in the offseason that the Baltimore Ravens were interested in exploring the veteran quarterback market to find a new backup after Tyrod Taylor signed elsewhere in free agency.

Yesterday, reports surfaced that the Ravens were among the teams expressing interest in 33-year old Matt Schaub, who only threw about 10 passes last season. The interest quickly turned into scheduling a visit, so we’ll see if he ends up signing in the division. The Ravens don’t have any other significant options to be the backup quarterback right now.

Elsewhere in the division, the Cincinnati Bengals saw one of their free agents take a visit, as wide receiver Brandon Tate recently met with the Chiefs. Tate does not contribute much on offense, but is a quality return man for special teams purposes, as long as he holds on to the ball. The Bengals could possibly consider bringing him back later on if he does not end up signing somewhere else first.

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