Auden Tate

AFC North Notes: Gordon, Browns, Bengals

Browns wide receivers have been perhaps the most discussed position group in the NFL this month, with Josh Gordon, Dez Bryant and Corey Coleman commandeering news cycles. The most talented of these players is on his way to being ready for the regular season. While Gordon has not resumed practicing with the Browns since returning to Berea, Ohio, Mary Kay Cabot of believes his treatment program was geared around getting ready for the regular season. While it’s possible Gordon will miss the entire preseason slate, Cabot sees the seventh-year pass-catcher not only being ready to play in Week 1 but starting alongside Jarvis Landry against the Steelers on Sept. 9. Hue Jackson also is of the belief his embattled playmaker will be out there in Week 1. Although, it’s not out of the question the NFL could have some say in Gordon’s return.

Here’s the latest out of Cleveland, along with other North-division cities.

  • The Browns’ Bryant interest was genuine, per Cabot, and not a protection against another prolonged Gordon absence. As was the case when he turned down the Ravens’ three-year offer this spring, Bryant wants a one-year deal that will help him return to free agency in a better spot than he was when the Cowboys cut him. Cabot adds both sides were impressed during Bryant’s visit, but Bryant’s price tag was probably too high for the Browns. Though, Cleveland obviously could afford to sign Bryant to whatever one-year deal he wants due to its league-leading amount of cap space. The Browns are going to continue to examine the receiver market, via trade or free agency, per Cabot.
  • Coleman was not happy with how Hard Knocks handled the sequences that led him being shipped to the Bills. The HBO show only showed the third-year receiver’s frustration in Jackson’s office, and sort-of-serious trade request, and a series of drops or other on-field work Browns coaches deemed unsatisfactory. No discussions about what went into the team’s trade decision were shown, which irked the new Buffalo resident. “With all of that, I’m going to take the high road,” Coleman said after Friday night’s Bills-Browns game (via the Buffalo News). “You all can see for yourself how all that stuff worked out. I just laugh at it because it’s kind of funny. They should have shown the whole thing if they were going to show it.”
  • Only six of the past 25 players the Bengals have selected in drafts’ final three rounds have failed to make the 53-man roster as rookies, but Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer notes some Bengals 2018 picks are on the bubble. The Bengals have combined to make 11 fifth-, sixth-, or seventh-round picks over the past two years, making some of these talents’ paths to the roster more difficult than they would be under normal circumstances. The team’s trio of 2018 fifth-rounders — cornerbacks Darius Phillips and Davontae Harris, and defensive lineman Andrew Brown — are potential roster cuts, per Dehner. The Bengals cut two rookie fifth-rounders last year, with one of those (Jake Elliott) resurfacing as the Eagles’ new kicker after opening the season on Cincy’s practice squad.
  • Additionally, rookie seventh-round wide receiver Auden Tate has a legitimate shot to make the Bengals’ roster, Jim Owczarski of the Inquirer writes. A slow 40-yard dash time (4.68 seconds) diminished Tate’s draft stock, making him one of the April event’s final picks, but the 6-foot-5 Florida State alum has emerged as a possible depth piece after a strong training camp. UDFA linebackers Chris Worley and Junior Joseph are also pushing to make Cincinnati’s roster, per Dehner.

Draft Pick Signings: 5/14/18

Here are Monday’s draft pick agreements.

  • Two Chiefs Day 3 draftees agreed to terms on Monday. Kansas City signed Texas safety Armani Watts (Round 4, pick 124) and Tennessee lineman Kahlil McKenzie (Round 6, pick 198), Adam Teicher of reports (Twitter links). The son of Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie, Kahlil most recently played defensive tackle for the Volunteers. But the Chiefs are beginning his NFL career as a guard. Watts figures to push for a starting job for a Chiefs team that released Ron Parker.
  • The Bengals signed their final pick of the draft in Florida State wide receiver Auden Tate, whom Cincinnati selected in the seventh round (No. 253 overall).
  • Ohio’s other team signed a fifth-round pick Monday, with the Browns agreeing to terms with Memphis linebacker Genard Avery (Round 5, pick 150).
  • Jon Gruden‘s presumptive Marquette King replacement also signed today. Florida punter Johnny Townsend (Round 5, pick 173) signed his four-year Raiders deal.
  • The 49ers signed a fellow former Gator — No. 184 overall pick — in sixth-rounder Marcell Harris, Nick Wagoner of tweets. San Francisco now has six of its nine selections under contract.