Holding the No. 1 overall pick for the first time since they drafted Carson Palmer 17 years ago, the Bengals have been widely linked to Ohio native Joe Burrow with this selection. While Cincinnati is considering Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert and Chase Young at No. 1, the prospect of a Burrow-Bengals partnership not happening would surprise many in the NFL. It has become “quite clear” in the minds of several execs the Bengals will draft Burrow, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report notes. Unless a team comes in with a Ricky Williams-type trade, as one coach relayed to Miller, the Bengals are not expected to get cute with their pick. (The Saints traded their entire 1999 draft, plus first- and third-round picks in 2000 to the Redskins for Williams. The Bengals receiving any offer on this level would be shocking.) With the Bengals set to work with Andy Dalton on a trade, signs continue to point Burrow heading back to Ohio.
Here is the latest from the AFC:
- The Broncos have a decision to make on Chris Harris. The four-time Pro Bowler will hit free agency for the first time, and a defection would give the Broncos their biggest cornerback need since before they traded for Champ Bailey 16 years ago. Nevertheless, the prospect of Harris seeing a better offer in free agency leads 9News’ Mike Klis to predict the 30-year-old defender will depart after nine seasons in Denver. The Broncos wanted to keep Harris, offering him a $12MM-AAV deal before last year’s trade deadline. However, Klis notes that deal only included one guaranteed season. Harris has long said he wants to retire in Denver but wanted to test free agency after signing a team-friendly extension back in 2014.
- Despite the Texans releasing Vernon Hargreaves before the vesting of his fifth-year option, it is not out of the question they bring him back, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle notes. The former Buccaneers first-round pick was set to make $9.59MM in 2020, and the Texans will consider re-signing him at a lower price. That will, however, depend on how Houston fares in free agency and the draft, per Wilson. So this process may take a while. Hargreaves, whom the Texans claimed off waivers late last season, would understandably explore his options elsewhere in the meantime.
- Linked to Tom Brady, the Raiders also have a major need at wide receiver. This deficiency led Sheil Kapadia of The Athletic to predict the Vikings will send Stefon Diggs to Las Vegas (subscription required). The Raiders guaranteed Tyrell Williams‘ salary but remain on the lookout for receiving help, which will likely be required to entice Brady to leave New England (a scenario Kapadia also includes as one of his bold predictions). Diggs is signed through the 2023 season, and his $14.5MM cap hit will be much tougher for the Vikings to absorb than the Raiders. Still, Minnesota’s top-heavy setup at wide receiver will not make Diggs cheap. At 26, he is three years younger than Adam Thielen, thus raising the price of a prospective trade.