Now that Super Bowl 50 is over, NFL teams can begin officially waiving players, and signing players to their 90-man offseason rosters.
The Cincinnati Bengals have already added several guys this offseason to future contracts, and they just announced two more additions to the team in the form of cornerback Chykie Brown and offensive tackle Darryl Baldwin. Both players have previous ties to the Baltimore Ravens, so Cincinnati should have some familiarity with them, especially Brown.
Last year, Brown was signed by the New York Giants to a two-year, $2-million deal before being released during final roster cuts. He was dealing with a knee sprain that cost him most of the preseason, which helped lead to his release and no team showing much interest in him since. He spent the 2015 season not on an NFL roster.
Brown originally played with the Ravens for a little over three seasons after they took him in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL draft out of Texas. You may also remember him from being on the wrong end of an A.J. Green game-winning touchdown in Baltimore during the 2014 season.
Brown was the guy who Green beat deep for the go-ahead score, and that was just one of many blown coverages and big plays he allowed that season before being released midway through the year. His brief stint with New York was his last NFL action, so don't expect him to be much more than competition for the fifth and sixth corner spots on next year's roster. The Bengals actually worked out Brown in November when the team was dealing with a host of injuries to the secondary, but he was not signed at the time.
As for Baldwin, he is a first-year pro out of Ohio State who signed with Baltimore as a college free agent in 2015. He was with the Ravens in preseason and played in one game before being placed on the team's Reserve/Non-Football Injury list. He was later waived during final preseason cuts and was not with an NFL team at any point during the 2015 season.
At Ohio State, Baldwin was a starter only in his senior year, during which, he received Honorable mention All-Big Ten performer recognition and was the only senior starter along the offensive line, where he played right tackle. In 2014, he started all 15 games for the national champion Buckeyes and helped anchor an offensive line that ranked first in the Big Ten in total offense (511.6 ypg) and scoring (44.8 ppg) and second in rushing (264.5), per OhioStateBuckeyes.com.
Here is Baldwin's NFL.com scouting report from prior to the 2015 NFL Draft:
STRENGTHS: Outstanding arm length and understands how to use it. Will punch and then reset hands when needed against spin moves. Has plus upper-body strength and uses it to redirect pass rushers who turn the corner on him. More than capable of latching on and shutting down simple, straight-ahead rushers.
WEAKNESSES: Stiffness in knees. Plays upright and struggles to get his backside cut-off blocks when moving laterally. Feet get complacent upon contact, allowing defenders with strong motors to work back into plays. Sluggish with punch. Needs to be more sudden and aggressive when he shoots his long arms.
DRAFT PROJECTION: Round 7 or priority free agent
BOTTOM LINE: Stiff-legged, long-armed pass protector who has the length to stymie and frustrate hard-charging pass rushers. Baldwin lacks change-of-direction ability to handle athletic pass rushers on a consistent basis and is very limited as a run blocker. He could be drafted late on Day 3, but will absolutely be in someone's camp this year.
It sounds like Baldwin has enough potential that he could be a candidate for the practice squad this year, if not compete for one of the backup tackle spots. Though, that depends on what happens with impending free agents Andre Smith, Eric Winston and exclusive restricted free agent T.J. Johnson.