Chris Worley

Sunday NFL Transactions: AFC North

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four AFC North teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Ravens, Bengals, Browns, and Steelers are noted below.

Additionally, as of 12:00pm CT today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.

Here are Sunday’s AFC North transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:

Baltimore Ravens

Practice squad:

Cincinnati Bengals

Signed:

Practice squad:

Cleveland Browns

Claimed:

Cut:

Pittsburgh Steelers

Practice squad:

* = international player
** = practice squad exception

Bengals Trim Roster To 53

For the time being at least, Michael Johnson will not be part of the Bengals’ 53-man roster. The longtime starting defensive end does not appear among Cincinnati’s regular-season contingent, signalling a changing of the guard opposite Carlos Dunlap.

While Johnson could well return, with Cincinnati.com’s Paul Dehner Jr. tweeting this is a possibility because of the team trying to protect as many young players from the waiver wire as possible, he’s again off the roster. Johnson spent a year with the Buccaneers in 2014 but returned to Cincinnati a year later.

He’s been a Bengals starter in five of the past six seasons, but third-round selections of Jordan Willis and Carl Lawson last year — along with 2018 third-rounder Sam Hubbard — made the 31-year-old talent a less important commodity. Johnson registered five sacks last season and has 44 in his career.

As for the rest of the Bengals’ cuts, here are the other players who aren’t on the 53-man roster.

Released as vested veterans:

Waived:

Placed on IR:

The placement of Barkley on IR and the waiving of Woodside leaves Jeff Driskel as the Bengals’ only Andy Dalton backup. It would be logical if the Bengals examined the waiver wire this weekend for a possible signal-caller addition.

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 cleveland.com 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.

Bengals Notes: Atkins, Flowers, Worley, Supplemental Draft

Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins is one of several stars around the league waiting to get paid. Entering the last year of his contract, he’s also one of several Bengals waiting to get paid. Defensive end Carlos Dunlap has made waves this offseason by staying away from OTAs and making it clear that he wants a new contract, but Atkins is the better player and likely the player the team wants to lock up first. The Bengals view Atkins as a priority according to Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com, who writes an extension is “an absolute must. Like sunrise or high tide. They know they need him.”

Hobson thinks the Bengals will do everything they can to ensure the three-time All-Pro doesn’t become a free agent at the end of this season. He thinks the wait for a new deal may have something to do with Aaron Donald and the Rams. As Donald awaits his new deal that may make him the highest paid defensive player in the league, Hobson thinks if “Donald signs before him it will make it easier” for Atkins to sign since it will “set the parameters” by resetting the market for defensive tackles.

One way or another, it looks like something will get done and that Atkins will be a Bengal for years to come.

Here’s more from Cincinnati:

  • The Bengals could be active in this year’s Supplemental NFL Draft, according to Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Although the Bengals haven’t taken anyone in the Supplemental Draft since 2006, Owczarski thinks this years crop of eligible players are the type of players the Bengals like, writing “this year’s supplemental draft group might pique the Bengals interest.” He thinks the players who have announced “fit positions and physical traits that suit the Bengals” and that since the Bengals have a bunch of late-round picks for the 2019 draft, they might be willing to use one or more of them in the Supplemental Draft.
  • Hobson thinks undrafted linebacker Chris Worley will have “every chance to make” the Bengals’ roster. A rookie from Ohio State, Worley has reportedly impressed during OTAs and Hobson gives him a good shot at making the team due to linebacker Vontaze Burfict’s four-game suspension to start the season.
  • Quinton Flowers is a “long shot” to make the team, according to Hobson. Flowers was a quarterback at South Florida, but switched positions to running back after signing with the Bengals as an undrafted free agent. If he does manage to make the team, Hobson thinks he’ll play a hybrid role as “the third QB, fourth running back, seventh wide receiver and second or third returner.”