AFC North Notes: Browns, Steelers, Bell

Armed with the No. 1 overall pick and a ludicrous amount of cap room, could the Browns sign/trade for a big-name veteran quarterback and draft a top prospect? Head coach Hue Jackson won’t rule it out.

I think all of those things are on the table,” Jackson said (via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal). “I think you discuss all of those things and you work through all of those things as you go through this.”

It seems likely Browns will take a quarterback with the top pick in the draft, but it’s hard to imagine them also signing someone like Kirk Cousins and creating an expensive logjam under center. What the Browns realistically could do, however, is acquire a bridge quarterback who could start in 2018, giving their No. 1 pick a year to sit on the bench and learn.

While you consider all of the possibilities in Cleveland, here’s more from the AFC North:

  • Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell confirmed that the Steelers have set an artificial deadline of Feb. 20 – the first day of franchise tagging – to get a long-term deal done (Twitter link via Jeremy Fowler of Bell says that both sides seem determined to get something done between now and then. “That is definitely the goal,” he said. Of course, the real deadline for franchise tagged players to sign extensions doesn’t come until the summer, so Bell could give himself additional leverage by ignoring the Steelers’ artificial deadline if he does not get an offer to his liking.
  • There are some concerns about the character of Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, but Browns GM John Dorsey doesn’t seem fazed by that talk as others. “Every young man will make a mistake in his life, I bet you,” he said (via Mary Kay Cabot of “And I think he’s very remorseful of that mistake and I think he’s moved forward from that, and he’s trying to make himself a better person, going through the process.” Mayfield made some questionable decisions this past season, including taunting Kansas fans with a crotch grab and a flag on the field after beating Ohio State, right in the middle of the Buckeyes’ “Block O” logo at midfield. Dorsey isn’t ruling out Mayfield, but one scout and one high-level exec told Cabot that they see a lot of Johnny Manziel in him.
  • We recently learned that the Ravens discussed a Jarvis Landry trade with the Dolphins last year. With Landry on course for free agency, one has to wonder if Baltimore will make a play for him.
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11 comments on “AFC North Notes: Browns, Steelers, Bell

  1. sufferfortribe

    So what would you rather have, Alex Smith for a couple seasons, or Kirk Cousins for several?

    • itslonelyatthetrop

      Depends what the rest of my offense looks like. If I have Barkley at RB and a rookie QB, Alex Smith is the perfect guy to pilot the ship until the QB is ready. If I have decent players at receiver and running back, I take Cousins to make them all better.

  2. madmanTX

    Maybe the Browns will give up the top pick to Pittsburgh for Bell? We could draft Ben’s replacement.

      • bucsfan

        Despite disagreeing with the majority of his other comments, I’m actually receptive to this idea, although I’d tweak it. I think the potential trade would be for the #4 overall pick and the Steelers would take Barkley. Then they could get Ben’s future replacement at 28. The money saved by not paying Bell could go towards the rest of the roster. Losing Bell would certainly hurt as he is one of the best backs in the game.

        I would like to see the Steelers work out a reasonable fair deal for Bell—a sign of a good deal is that neither party is fully satisfied with the outcome. If not, use the franchise tag and ride it out Year to year.

        A good idea may be to use the non-exclusive rights tag on Bell. That would allow Bell to seek a deal on the market and the Steelers would have the right to match it. If they didn’t match it, they would then get 2 first round picks which would be good compensation for losing Bell.

    • tylerall5

      The Steelers would never trade Bell within the division if they even were to trade him.

      • Michael Chaney

        Nor would a rebuilding team give up premium assets for a running back with a lot of wear and tear

  3. mbgutt

    So this is like trading a great set of worn tires for a brand new set! Why would Cleveland even do that? One year of control of a heavily used asset for a top four pick? They are dumb but not that dumb.

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