AFC Notes: Bengals, Rivers, Mercilus, Browns

Multiple reports and mock drafts in recent weeks have suggested the Bengals could use their first-round pick to add a young tackle, perhaps envisioning that player as an eventual replacement for Andrew Whitworth. As he tells Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer though, the idea of the team adding his potential replacement doesn’t worry Whitworth.

I’ve always had the opposite mentality,” Whitworth said. “Mess up and draft somebody at my position because you are going to sit around and watch him sit the bench. That’s always been my mentality. I see it as a challenge.”

While we wait to see which direction the Bengals decide to go on Thursday, let’s check out a few more notes from around the AFC….

  • The Chargers met with Philip Rivers‘ agent in person last week and are still focused on extending the quarterback’s contract, tweets Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports. If Rivers is still a Charger on Sunday, it should signal that the team is relatively confident it can get something done.
  • Speaking today to reporters, including John McClain of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter links), Texans general manager Rick Smith said he and the club are still deciding whether to pick up the fifth-year option on Whitney Mercilus. “Whether we pick it up or not, we want him around long time,” Smith said of the outside linebacker. For his part, McClain doesn’t expect the team to exercise its 2016 option.
  • On the heels of ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reporting that Sam Bradford wants to play for the Eagles, and Philadelphia is unlikely to trade him, Mary Kay Cabot of says the Browns would still like to acquire the former first overall pick — however, it’s not likely to happen.
  • Scott Bair of ranks the Raiders‘ top five draft needs, and according to Bair, the No. 1 priority is finding a pass rusher that can take some of the heat off of Khalil Mack. Oakland could use a defensive end and they could very well use the No. 4 pick to shore up that spot. Bud Dupree, Leonard Williams, and Dante Fowler Jr. are candidates to end up in Oakland next season, Bair writes.
  • Chiefs president Mark Donovan has signed a long-term contract extension to remain in Kansas City, the team announced today in a press release.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

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