AFC North Notes: Bengals, Browns, Hurst

Were Joe Burrow to be drafted by the Bengals, he wants the team to keep A.J. Green. The Bengals are believed to be zeroing in on the Heisman winner, who told NFL.com’s Jim Trotter he would like Green to be back in Cincinnati — if, in fact, the Bengals follow through on drafting the LSU quarterback (video link). The franchise tag window opens Thursday, and the Bengals have been linked to tagging Green. The nine-year veteran has voiced opposition to this, going into his age-32 season, but said he would play on the tag. However, Green also indicated he would likely miss extensive offseason workouts. An injury last summer shelved Green for all of 2019.

Here is the latest from the AFC North:

  • The Ravens have seen 2018 third-round tight end Mark Andrews become Lamar Jackson‘s top target, leaving 2018 first-round tight end Hayden Hurst in a strange position. The former minor league baseball player-turned-South Carolina football prospect may be on the trade block, with Jeff Howe of The Athletic tweeting there is a “real chance” the Ravens trade Hurst. The former Pirates draftee played hurt as a rookie and caught 30 passes for 349 yards last season. Andrews caught 64 passes for a Ravens-most 852 yards in 2019. For what it’s worth, the tight end-needy Patriots have not contacted the Ravens about Hurst, Howe adds (on Twitter), but Hurst may be a name to monitor in Baltimore in the coming weeks.
  • The Browns will meet with Joe Schobert‘s agent at the Combine, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes. After being so far apart on terms with ex-GM John Dorsey, Schobert is back in the picture to stay in Cleveland, Cabot adds. New GM Andrew Berry‘s hire has reopened the lines of communication with the Browns’ top tackler. Cleveland already has Christian Kirksey attached to a big contract, but the linebacker has struggled with injuries since signing that extension and may be a cap casualty.
  • David Njoku stands as player who likely would have been gone had Dorsey and Freddie Kitchens stayed in power, Cabot adds. But with Kevin Stefanski planning more two-tight end sets, the 2017 first-round pick looks likelier to stay in Cleveland. Having Berry back doesn’t hurt here, either, with the Sashi Brown-Berry-Paul DePodesta regime being in power when Njoku was drafted.
  • Although Dorsey upgraded the Browns’ talent level, his offensive line acquisitions did not pan out. The Browns will not re-sign Greg Robinson, and 2018 right tackle addition Chris Hubbard may be elsewhere next season as well. However, the Browns will likely spend big on at least one offensive lineman, Cabot adds. Jack Conklin, Brandon Scherff and Joe Thuney profile as the top targets who are in line to reach free agency.
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5 comments on “AFC North Notes: Bengals, Browns, Hurst

  1. Michael Chaney

    Jack Conklin has been my dream target all offseason. PLEASE make it happen, Berry.

    If you sign Conklin to anchor the right side and get the best left tackle on the board at 10, suddenly that line looks a lot better.

  2. jb19

    Njoku can’t block or catch. Just looks good in pads and can put together an impressive workout.

    • jaduran

      the he had 6 official drops in his 1st season. He had 2 in an injury shortened 2nd season. Travis Kelce had 5 dropped passes this year.

    • jaduran

      Also, Njoku had a 6.8% dropped pass rate. Kelce actually had 8 dropped passes this season with a 4.7% drop rate. Doesn’t seem like a huge difference there. I’m just saying that Kelce is one of the best in the league and Njoku may not have equivalent overall numbers, his drop rate isn’t far off.

  3. playicy

    I have a feeling the browns screw this offseason up too, but they need offensive linemen before anything else, because you can’t throw the ball if your on your back right peeps

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