AFC Mailbags: Browns, Bills, Titans, Raiders, Colts

Earlier today, our Ben Levine pored over some of the NFC mailbags; here are some notes from the AFC side.

  • The Browns‘ front office no longer expects Josh Gordon to operate at the superstar level he showed in 2013, writes Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The longtime Browns scribe notes the team will consider trading the fourth-year wideout who’s perpetually afoul with the league if he proves he can come back to the team sober.
  • Cabot envisions Josh McCown winning seven or eight games if things go well this season and only sees Johnny Manziel re-emerging on the field if the Browns are slumping down the stretch. She does not, however, view Connor Shaw as a legitimate threat to the former Heisman Trophy winner’s backup job, noting third-stringers rarely receive sufficient practice reps and that Manziel will at least work plenty with the scout team as the No. 2 quarterback.
  • The Bills will probably approach Mario Williams about restructuring his $19.4MM cap number, which jumps to $19.9MM in 2016, in order to make room to re-sign Marcell Dareus, writes Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News. Additionally, the Bills writer suggests extending Matt Cassel ($4.75MM cap number in 2015) if he wins the starting job, and possibly cutting guard Kraig Urbik ($2.2MM), among others, to clear a payment path for Dareus to join Williams as one of the league’s highest-paid defenders.
  • Zach Brown appears to be fully recovered from the torn pectoral injury that ended his 2014 campaign after just four snaps, offers Paul Kuharsky of Coverage hasn’t been an issue for the fourth-year linebacker that came to the Titans as a second-round pick, but run-stoppage consistency has, per Kuharsky.
  • Raiders reporter Bill Williamson doesn’t think the Raiders will add another guard to compete on the right side before training camp, with the team being satisfied with J’Marcus Webb, Khalif Barnes and rookie Jon Feliciano. With Gabe Jackson coming off a solid rookie slate, the right side is indeed in need of a production uptick. Pro Football Focus (subscription required), which took scant pleasure in watching the Raiders last year, tagged Barnes as the Raiders’ worst starting lineman in 2014. Waived by the Vikings after being beaten on a blocked field goal in December, Webb’s started just one game since 2012 but is being offered the chance to compete at guard rather than his customary tackle spot.
  • Michael Crabtree‘s in a year-long preseason of sorts, with each game serving as part of the inconsistent wideout’s audition to either return to the Raiders or earn the long-term contract he coveted this offseason, writes Williamson.
  • Fourth-round safety Clayton Geathers has the talent to usurp Dwight Lowery in the Colts‘ starting secondary, writes’s Mike Wells. Wells viewed the Central Florida rookie as the No. 2 first-year attraction behind Phillip Dorsett and notes that Chuck Pagano mentioned the possibility of Geathers working as a dime linebacker.
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