Over the past week we’ve asked you which AFC West and NFC West team had the best offseason. Another division with a lively past few months has been the AFC North. All four teams drafted quarterbacks, and all four teams changed one of their coordinators. Here’s a quick recap:
The Browns had the most high profile offseason. Holding the number one and four overall picks, the Browns and their draft plans were the topics of endless offseason discussion. When the draft finally came, they ended up taking quarterback Baker Mayfield and cornerback Denzel Ward with those picks. They made a string of splashy trades, acquiring Jarvis Landry, Tyrod Taylor, and Damarious Randall. They were also very active in free agency, signing Carlos Hyde, Chris Hubbard, E.J. Gaines, and Drew Stanton among others. Cleveland did have some significant departures with Joe Thomas retiring, Isaiah Crowell signing with the Jets, and DeShone Kizer traded for Randall. They also added an offensive coordinator for the first time under coach Hue Jackson, hiring Todd Haley after he was not retained by the Steelers. It’s been a long time since there was a competitive Browns team, but with all the offseason moves GM John Dorsey has made, this should be the most talented Browns team in recent memory.
The Ravens joined the Browns in drafting a quarterback in the first round, taking Lamar Jackson 32nd overall. Joe Flacco remains the starter for now, but it won’t be long before Jackson is pushing him. After Dean Pees retired, the team promoted Don Martindale to replace him as defensive coordinator. The team released Jeremy Maclin and signed Michael Crabtree to replace him, also adding John Brown and Willie Snead to further bolster their receiving corp. They also signed Robert Griffin III, who will be fighting for a roster spot this summer. Other than that, they were mostly quiet during free agency, and didn’t make many trades. It will be virtually the same Ravens team taking the field in 2018 as they seek to build on their 9-7 record from last season when they just barely missed the playoffs due to tiebreakers.
The Steelers also drafted their potential quarterback of the future, taking Mason Rudolph in the third round. They notably let Haley walk due to years of disagreements with Ben Roethlisberger, replacing him by promoting quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner. They used their first round pick on safety Terrell Edmunds and took wide receiver James Washington in the second. Other than that, they were mostly quiet, not signing any well-known free agents other than linebacker Jon Bostic. The Steelers elected mostly to return the same team that has dominated the division in recent years.
The Bengals had the most low profile spring. They signed defensive tackle Chris Baker and signed Matt Barkley to replace A.J. McCarron as Andy Dalton‘s backup. They swapped first round picks with the Bills to acquire offensive tackle Cordy Glenn, who the team hopes will help shore up the offensive line deficiencies they’ve faced the last couple of seasons. They took center Billy Price in the first round, and lost their defensive coordinator Paul Guenther to the Raiders. They hired Teryl Austin away from the Lions to replace him. The Bengals will have to hope that Dalton can have a career renaissance and bring them back to being the team that made the playoffs five straight years not too long ago. They’re currently projected by many to finish last in the AFC North, but have the talent to potentially make some noise.
Which team do you think had the best offseason in the AFC North? Vote in PFR’s poll below and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section!