AFC North Notes: Steelers, Price, Browns

Two key Steelers will be changing positions. Pittsburgh’s outside linebacker starters, Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt, will swap spots, with Dupree shifting to the right outside linebacker role and Watt moving to the left side, Tim Benz of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review notes. Dupree’s issues with being too far behind quarterbacks on outside rushes, in a league that features mostly right-handed passers, prompted Keith Butler to relocate him.

What Bud did too much of last year, in my opinion, was he got past the quarterback,” Butler said. “To me, you’re useless when you’re past the quarterback. Now, he won’t be as useless behind the quarterback because he can work back a little bit or he can go up and under where the quarterback won’t see him.”

Although the Steelers exercised Dupree’s fifth-year option, the 2015 first-round pick has not lived up to expectations just yet. The Kentucky product rated as a bottom-10 edge defender, per Pro Football Focus, last season, but the Steelers will try to give him another opportunity to make good on their investment. Butler said the relative inexperience of the players involved in this switch prompted him to wait until the offseason to make this move.

I think I’m more natural on the left side just because I’m more right-hand dominant,” Watt said, via Benz. “I can have a better dip and a better stab. I have more pitches I can throw on the left side.”

Here’s the latest out of the AFC North, shifting to the division’s most pressing issue — Le’Veon Bell‘s status in Pittsburgh.

  • As less than a month remains until the pivotal extension deadline for franchise-tagged players, Bell has not shown up at Steelers workouts. This was expected. But as of last week, the Steelers had yet to resume contract talks with their All-Pro running back. And Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette puts the odds at an extension occurring as longer than the sides continuing their present arrangement. Fittipaldo writes Bell not reaching a long-term agreement would again induce him to skip training camp and the preseason. Of course, Bell and the Steelers failing to come to terms this year could well mean the 26-year-old dynamo will be playing elsewhere in 2019, considering the prohibitive cost for tagging a player three times.
  • Tyrod Taylor will be a free agent at season’s end, but one AFC executive views him as a player who could make Baker Mayfield wait a long time before taking the Browns‘ reins. “Tyrod Taylor could keep Baker Mayfield on the bench for years,” the anonymous staffer said, via Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report. This seems unlikely given the investment the Browns made in Mayfield, and the fact full redshirts for first-round QBs rarely occur anymore. But Taylor does have three years’ experience as a starter and has maybe the best cast of wide receivers he’s enjoyed since ascending to a starting role. That said, the risk-averse passer will need to be re-signed for this to occur. It would likely take Mayfield’s development stalling considerably for Cleveland to bring back Taylor.
  • Prior to the Lions taking Arkansas interior lineman Frank Ragnow with their first-round pick, the Bengals had he and Billy Price ranked “pretty much evenly,” Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com notes. After watching the Ohio State product operate this offseason, one that didn’t feature him becoming fully cleared until Monday, the Bengals believe Price might be a better fit for their offense rather than the player who was selected one spot ahead of him. He’s expected to be Cincinnati’s starting center from Day 1.
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10 comments on “AFC North Notes: Steelers, Price, Browns

  1. afsooner02

    lol at Tyrod keeping baker on the bench. Whatever dude. That’s why he’s a nfl journeyman. I’m sure if you interview enough “execs” someone who has a hardon for tyrod will say something stupid.

    How many execs before him said “baker is the future and tyrod is just keeping the position warm for 2018”.

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    • itslonelyatthetrop

      There is really is no rush to get Mayfield out there right away. Sitting down Tyrod for Baker looks a lot better than vice versa.

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  2. dwilson10

    Pittsburgh should trade Le’Veon Bell. He would easily get them back a first round pick that they could use to draft another rb next year if they need to.

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    • itslonelyatthetrop

      He’s not gonna fetch a first rounder. No one- well, maybe Indy- would invest that high a pick on a contact runner with that many miles on him. He’d likely get a conditional 3 or 4 which could then evolve into a 2 depending on his play.

      Not that they’re gonna trade him anyway, the offense is too attached to him and he keeps safeties honest so AB can do his thing and takes a lot of pressure off of Ben.

      Lemme see Bell’s replacement first, then talk trade.

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      • joeshmoe11

        I dunno, curious what a star rb could fetch. Richardson was anything but a star. Bell has miles on him but barring injury you can assume a few more peak years

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        • louwhitakerisahofer

          The Steelers offense is just fine without Bell. An old DeAngelo Williams filled in just fine for him during his last suspension. Another running back probably wouldn’t help with check downs as much as Bell does, but their receiving options (after AB) are probably the best they’ve had in years.

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  3. Tyrod will be a FA after 2018 season. And Baker Mayfield will be the starting QB in 2019. Anyone that says anything different is retarded. Regardless of how Tyrod does this year. Could be a pro bowler, doubtful, but maybe. And will still be a FA after 2018 w Baker being the starter in 2019. Move along.

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    • playicy

      Your a moron, because mayfield will be like manziel out of football in a few years, because he is very immature and wasn’t even a number one pick to me! Barkley, Chubb, and Nelson were the best 1st and 4th picks

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      • You’re*… if you are going to tell someone they are a moron at least know how to spell. Taylor will be on a new team in 2019. I would bet thousands on that.

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  4. playicy

    Tyrod doesn’t turn the ball over that’s what you want in a starter, because rookies are doomed to fail in the nfl, because only 1% make it and not saying baker is good, but he has signs of manziel except he studies, but he is very immature

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