AFC North Notes: Roethlisberger, Hoyer, Eifert

At age 32, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is playing at an elite level. In the last two weeks, he’s torched the Colts and Ravens for 12 total touchdown passes, and on the season, his 20.4 overall Pro Football Focus rating is tops in the NFL. While Roethlisberger isn’t a free agent until 2016 and there are no extension talks taking place, Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole believes the veteran quarterback will seek approximately $24MM per year on his next deal, which would make him the league’s highest-paid player by average annual value. While it remains to be seen whether Big Ben will receive – or even ask for – that kind of money, he’s certainly in line for a big payday if he keeps up his current torrid pace.

Let’s round up a few more items from around the AFC North….

  • After the Browns dismantled the Bengals in Cincinnati last night, Brian Hoyer‘s record as Cleveland’s starter over the past two seasons improved to 9-3 — in games he didn’t start, the Browns posted a 1-12 record. Hoyer’s continued success is great for the Browns’ playoff chances, but it’s pushing the team further into a corner when it comes to making a decision on the signal-caller’s future, writes Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.
  • Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis told reporters today, including Coley Harvey of (Twitter link), that while tight end Tyler Eifert is on the mend, there’s a chance he misses the rest of the season. Eifert is currently on injured reserve with the designation to return, and is eligible to be activated as soon as next week.
  • Even before his domestic violence incident, former Ravens running back Ray Rice appeared to be on the decline, says Tom Pelissero of USA Today. So if he’s reinstated, will Rice even get another shot in the NFL? One personnel director tells Pelissero he believes the running back has “played his last game,” while a GM cautioned to “never say never,” and a veteran scout said he’ll get another chance, but “maybe not right away.”

Matt Feminis contributed to this post.

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