North Notes: Jackson, Lewis, Jeffery

Hue Jackson has his work cut out for him as the head coach of the Browns, but he had the opportunity to succeed Marvin Lewis as the Bengals‘ head coach if he so chose. As Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes, “Jackson confirmed this week that he passed up an opportunity to succeed [Lewis] in Cincinnati, taking the Browns job instead.” Of course, even if Lewis wanted to hand the baton to Jackson at some point down the line, it would have been difficult for Jackson to turn down a head coaching job elsewhere, as there is no guarantee that Cincinnati ownership would have gone along with Lewis’ plan, or that Lewis would have even been around to pass the torch.

Jackson, though, was also motivated by the opportunity to rebuild the Cleveland franchise, and by his friendship with Lewis. Jackson said, “That is Marvin’s football team. He’s been there a long time. It’s hard to ever replace a best friend that way and be there waiting behind. I didn’t think it was the right thing for me to do. I didn’t think it would be right for their team.”

Now let’s take a look at a few more notes from the league’s north divisions:

  • The Browns recently hosted tackle Pierce Burton on a visit, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter).
  • Jason Fitzgerald of takes an in-depth look at how Bears wideout Alshon Jefferey could fare on the open market this offseason. Historically speaking, Jeffery is unlikely to be hit with the franchise tag for a second consecutive year, and a player with his ability does not often reach the open market. Fitzgerald believes Chicago will regret not locking Jeffery up long-term, and that the South Carolina product’s next contract could pay him over $14MM per season.
  • Over a month after the deal was consummated, there is one more detail to pass along from the Sam Bradford trade. We already knew that, if the Vikings reach the NFC Championship Game this year, the conditional 2018 fourth-rounder they are required to send to the Eagles would become a third-rounder. But according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, if that 2018 fourth-rounder does indeed become a third, Philadelphia will send back a 2018 seventh-round choice to Minnesota.
  • Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press examines pending free agents at linebacker that the Lions could target in the offseason. New England’s Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower are both familiar to GM Bob Quinn and would represent upgrades for Detroit, although Hightower is far more likely to reach the open market than Collins. Birkett also names Nick Perry as a realistic option.
  • Earlier today, we learned that Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger may miss just one game and could be back in time for the team’s Week 9 matchup against Baltimore.
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