AFC North Notes: Burfict, McCarron, Steelers

When longtime Bengals defensive leader Domata Peko spoke yesterday about the teammates he hopes the team locks up to long-term deals, he identified Vontaze Burfict in addition Andy Dalton and A.J. Green. As important as Dalton and Green are to Cincinnati’s offense, you could make a strong case that Burfict is just as integral on the other side of the ball. Last season, the 23-year-old earned his first Pro Bowl nod, racking up an impressive 177 tackles to go along with three sacks, two fumbles, and an interception.

Now, Ian Rapoport of reports (via Twitter) that the Bengals are indeed engaged in extension talks with Burfict, who is in line for a $570K salary in 2014. The Arizona State product is eligible for restricted free agency after the ’14 season, which means the Bengals would still be in the driver’s seat for re-signing him, but presumably the club would prefer not to let it get to that point.

Let’s check out a few other items from out of the AFC North….

  • Following A.J. McCarron’s visit with the Browns today, the Alabama quarterback will continue a mini-AFC North tour by heading to Baltimore to see the Ravens on Wednesday, reports Adam Schefter of (via Twitter). We heard earlier today that McCarron would privately work out for the Rams next week.
  • The Steelers are hosting Duke cornerback Ross Cockrell for a pre-draft visit today, according to’s Scott Brown (via Twitter). Cockrell projects as a likely mid- to late-round pick.
  • Minnesota safety Brock Vereen, the brother of Shane Vereen, has met with a number of teams in advance of the draft, including the Steelers and Bengals, reports Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post. The Falcons, Vikings, Colts, Panthers and Jaguars have also met with the younger Vereen.
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