AFC North Notes: Browns, Hartline, Johnson

While there are more notable wide receivers scheduled to hit free agency next week, former Dolphin Brian Hartline may be the best player currently available at the position. Hartline is getting a head start on the rest of the receiver market, according to Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk, who writes that the veteran wideout is visiting the Browns today. Cleveland certainly makes sense as a fit for Hartline — he’s from Canton and played his college ball at Ohio State, while the Browns will be without Josh Gordon for the 2015 season, and have pass catchers like Miles Austin and Jordan Cameron facing free agency.

As we wait to see if anything comes of Hartline’s meeting with the Browns, let’s check in on a few more items from across the AFC North….

  • A league source tells Mary Kay Cabot of the Northeast Ohio Media Group that the Browns are comfortable heading into the season with Josh McCown as their bridge quarterback until they find their man of the future. For his part, McCown would not divulge what Cleveland told him about the club’s plans.
  • Even though they have $50MM+ in cap room at their disposal, the Browns aren’t expected to be major players in free agency this month, writes Tony Grossi of
  • Veteran edge defender Jarret Johnson, who announced his retirement from the NFL last month, will officially do so as a Raven, after signing a one-day contract with the club, tweets Brett Hollander of WBAL Radio. Johnson, who was officially released by San Diego last week, spent the first nine years of his career with the Ravens before joining the Chargers in 2012.
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