The Steelers are very excited about having extra salary cap room this season, writes Steven Ruiz of USA Today. The team looked to be strapped for cash in 2014, but with the extra relief, team president Art Rooney has more room to work with in free agency. The team has 22 players hitting free agency, but could find some cap relief by releasing veterans Ike Taylor, LaMarr Woodley, and Heath Miller. They could also consider restructuring Ben Roethlisberger‘s deal, as he holds a cap number of almost $19MM for 2014. Here are some other notes from the AFC North:
- While the Bengals‘ secondary is thought to be a strength, Joe Reedy of Cincinnati.com believes the team could still target corner at some point in the first few rounds of the NFL Draft. With Leon Hall coming off his second torn achilles in 23 months, Terence Newman entering the final year of his contract, and Adam Jones approaching his 31st birthday, the team does have question marks at the position. Former first-round pick Dre Kirkpatrick has improved, and while the need for a starter is not imminent, in a passing league teams can never have enough guys who can cover.
- The Ravens are still trying to work out a contract with Dennis Pitta, although the two are still not close on an agreement, writes Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. While it was thought he would either be signed long-term or designated with the franchise tag, head coach John Harbaugh leaves open the option that Pitta could hit free agency without receiving the tag. “I think every scenario is possible here,” Harbaugh said. “The franchise tag is very vague right now, so anything could happen.”
- The Ravens have also begun talks with linebacker Daryl Smith, according to Garrett Downing of BaltimoreRavens.com. While Pitta and Eugene Monroe have gotten all the attention, general manager Ozzie Newsome has not forgotton about Smith. “Daryl did a great job for us,” Newsome said. “We have engaged in some conversations with his representative.” Smith was asked after the season if he would like to return to the team, replying emphatically that he would. “Most definitely [I want to return],” said Smith. “I love it here and would love to be back. We’ll see how it goes, though.”