Let’s take a look at the latest from the AFC North, where each of the four teams has a winning record heading into this weekend’s action…
- The Ravens had been interested in signing Haloti Ngata to an extension after the season, and though the veteran defensive tackle was recently suspended for four games for failing a drug test, it’s possible that the club will still attempt to start negotiations this offseason, a source tells Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. Ngata, 30, is due a $8.5MM base salary in 2015, and will count $16MM against Baltimore’s cap — his cap figure is the highest among all defensive tackles. The team would likely want to tack on a few years to Ngata’s deal in the interests of prorating his bonus over more seasons, thus lowering his cap number.
- In Ngata’s absence, the Ravens are expected to use a rotation of players to fill the middle of their defensive line, but rookie lineman Timmy Jernigan will see his role increase the most, writes Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com. Jernigan, a second-round pick in this year’s draft, has yet to exceed 29 defensive snaps in a game this year.
- Browns left tackle Joe Thomas was among those who believed Brian Hoyer should remain the club’s starting quarterback in lieu of Johnny Manziel, and the team considered his opinion when making its decision, according to Mary Cay Kabot of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. Thomas thought that turning to a rookie in Manziel would imply that the Browns weren’t all-in on 2014. “Certainly, when you start throwing guys out there and seeing what they can do, the message is, ‘We’re already playing for next year. We don’t think necessarily that we can get to the playoffs this year anymore,'” said Thomas, who noted that most Browns players felt the same way.
- As the Browns prepare to play the Colts on Sunday, Pat McManamon of ESPN.com looks back at ex-team president Mike Holmgren’s claim that he offered Cleveland’s entire slew of 2012 draft picks in order to acquire the No. 1 overall selection and draft Andrew Luck. Needless to say, the non-trade has worked out well for Indianapolis.