North Notes: Browns, J. Smith, J. Allen, Lions

While the Browns are content to use Josh McCown as their starting quarterback in 2015, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer believes the club will continue to search for other options at the position. Cabot thinks Cleveland will attempt to trade up in the draft for Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, and also doesn’t rule out the Browns making another run at Sam Bradford on draft day.

Here’s more from the North divisions:

  • Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith is perhaps the best 2016 free agent CB, writes ESPN.com’s Jamison Hensley, who argues that Baltimore will either sign Smith to an extension, or use the franchise tag on him. Hensley adds that the starting point for negotiations on a long-term deal would probably be the contract between the Eagles and Byron Maxwell (six years, $63MM).
  • In an interesting discussion with Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune, Jared Allen discusses the Bears’ dismal 2014 season, his hopes for an improved 2015, and his transition to 3-4 linebacker. Perhaps most notably, Allen reveals that the Broncos were on his shortlist of intriguing teams when he hit free agency last offseason in large part due to John Fox, who of course is now in Chicago.
  • The Lions lost one of the league’s best players in Ndamukong Suh to free agency, but improvement by younger defenders such as linebacker Kyle Van Noy and defensive end Larry Webster could keep Detroit’s defense among the NFL’s top units, opines Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com.
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