Even though the Ravens had a rough season last year, they will have plenty of draft picks to load up their roster again. In Cleveland, it is all about the quarterback according to Hue Jackson. The Steelers need some help in the secondary after losing some key contributors, but do they really have a shot at a few free agents who are former Bengals?
Ravens hope to reload quickly
Not only will the Ravens get several key contributors back from injury next season, but Baltimore also has seven draft picks in the first four rounds. The Ravens were very competitive in all of their games last season. They only had two games where they lost by more than eight points, and they also pulled a late season upset against the Steelers. If the Ravens can add even a few contributors with those seven picks to couple with free agent signings like Mike Wallace and Eric Weddle, they could easily have a quick turn around in 2016.
First of all I highly recommend you click on the link above and read Justin Forsett's account of his time in Italy. Forsett has been quite the diplomat for the NFL this offseason. First, he helped Flint, Michigan during its water crisis, and now he's teaching Italians about American Football. The NFL continues to try and expand its brand beyond the United States with games in London and Mexico and even China. The games in London have proved there's interest abroad, but through programs, like Forsett is running, the NFL hopes to garner more interest and maybe start that interest in foreign countries.
Hue Jackson continues to say exactly what is on his mind. Jackson is now talking about the culture he plans on creating in Cleveland, and it is based around the most important position in the NFL. Jackson talked specifically about that in an article by Patrick Maks of clevelandbrowns.com:
"We look through this through the eyes of the quarterback, not so much through the eyes of anything else," Jackson said. "Because we all know, if your quarterback plays well in the National Football League, you have a chance to win. And if he doesn't, you have no chance at winning. That’s how we see it."
This is a fair and probably necessary shift in culture for a team that's had its well documented trouble with the position. I still personally feel like Jackson has a secret football crush on Carson Wentz or Jared Goff, and he won't hesitate to draft one of them and sit them behind newly acquired Robert Griffin III for a season.The Browns weren't just a quarterback away from being a real competitor last season, so why not let the future of the franchise watch Griffin for a season and learn, and then move on from there? It's the old fashioned approach, but it's one the Browns haven't really tried, especially in recent history. It might be frustrating for the fan base, but patience could yield the biggest return.
"Jimmy Haslam came into the league as one of the very best owners that we have. I’d put him in the top five. Right now," Jerry Jones told Steve Doerschuk of the Canton Repository.
First of all, who ranks owners? This is such a ridiculous statement by one of the most ridiculous owners in the NFL. Jones points to the Cowboys' struggles and then quickly turns around and says the Browns (and apparently Jimmy Haslam) are capable of also turning things around. Well Jones didn't fire Jimmy Johnson after starting 8-24 in the first two seasons. Haslam has already showed impatience with building any sort of continuity at the head coaching and general manager positions. Haslam has been extremely hands on, he was even heavily involved in the addition of Griffin. While I think a vast majority of football fans agree that Jackson was a great head coaching hire, we'll have to see how Haslam's decisions to fill his front office with executives that have little-to-no football experience plays out. Those moves will be the ones that will prove if Haslam is smarter than everyone, or if he's just not.
The Steelers have lost Antwon Blake and Brandon Boykin in free agency. They are also looking to upgrade the safety position, which was one of their weaker position groups last year. Some of the top remaining free agents on the market are familiar faces in Leon Hall and Reggie Nelson. While their fates may not be decided until after the draft, could the Steelers actually sign one -- or both -- of the former Bengals? Nelson seems like an unlikely choice to land in Pittsburgh. He had a run in with Mike Munchak in the playoffs and prior to that, he had gotten into an altercation with Mike Tomlin in 2014. Plus, there was his little exchange with Antonio Brown last season.
Hall was even involved in that, but he would be more likely to sign with Pittsburgh than Nelson who I think it's safe to say, would rather play for any other franchise at this point. Seeing Hall go to the Steelers after eight years with the Bengals would be among the worst ways for Hall's Bengals career to end.
Bell got involved in the holiday spirit on Friday with a very unfortunate April Fools Day Tweet for those gullible enough to believe it.
it's been a great run with Steeler Nation, I will always have love 4 all my former teammates, coaches, & for all my fans! but gotta move on!— Le'Veon Bell (@L_Bell26) April 1, 2016
Bell's agent apparently saw his phone blow up as many believed the joke. I'm sure there were even some Bengal fans who saw it and may have been elated for a moment. But of course, is was just a joke. Still it's pretty fun to read some of the reactions of the people who fell for it.