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Bengals Bytes (3/2): Sprouting a new leaf

Vance Joseph is bringing the Bengals’ drafting philosophy to the Denver Broncos. The Browns get called out for tanking in 2016. The NFL may be relaxing on its celebration rules.

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Denver Broncos Introduce Vance Joseph - News Conference Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

VJ notes Bengals' drafts

Vance Joseph, the newest leaf on the Marvin Lewis coaching tree, plans to abscond with some draft principles he picked up in Cincinnati. Joseph, the Broncos new head coach, started the festivities at the NFL scouting combine Wednesday morning in the first media availability of the week. During his two seasons as the Bengals secondary coach, Joseph came out of the draft with one first-rounder in cornerback Darqueze Dennard in 2014 and one fourth-rounder in slot corner-safety Josh Shaw in 2015.

Bengals unresolved on Adam Jones; McCarron not being actively shopped

The Bengals aren’t ready to resolve the status of Adam Jones and say their cornerback one year removed from the Pro Bowl “has to earn his way,” as faces charges stemming from a Jan. 3 incident at a downtown Cincinnati hotel. While meeting the media at the NFL scouting combine Wednesday, Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin also indicated that backup quarterback AJ McCarron’s contract status could be headed to arbitration and that they’re not actively looking to trade him.

Tobin remains bullish on Ogbuehi

Two years ago when the Bengals used their first two draft picks on offensive linemen Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher, they were widely praised for planning for the future. Both players had first round grades on Cincinnati’s draft board and the expectation was that the team had selected long-term replacements for 30-something starting tackles Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith.

No. 9 has to shine as best player

The best available player lives. Duke Tobin, the Bengals director of player personnel who has steered them through a series of grade-centric drafts yielding their series of best records ever, assures Bengaldom the philosophy holds. Even with the ninth pick. Even in the wake of a 6-9-1 record. Even with the last three draft classes still looking to get a foothold on the roster.

Cincinnati Bengals find out spending limit with salary cap set

The NFL announced Wednesday the salary cap for the 2017 season will be $167 million, up $13 million from last year. The Cincinnati Bengals, according to, have $131.7 million invested in 2017 salaries and approximately $6 million they can roll over from last year, leaving the team with nearly $41 million to work with when trying to re-sign their 16 free agents and those from other teams when the new league year begins March 9.

AFC North Bytes

Bill Polian: Cleveland Browns tanked last season

Former NFL executive Bill Polian, a regular on ESPN's NFL Insiders, suggested during Wednesday's show that the Cleveland Browns lost intentionally during their 1-15 campaign this past season.

James Harrison Agrees to New 2-Year Contract with Pittsburgh Steelers

Linebacker James Harrison is set to return to the Pittsburgh Steelers after coming to terms with the organization Wednesday on a two-year deal, the team announced. The longtime star defender posted on Instagram after signing the contract

With free agency looming, Ravens hoping to hold on to their guys

As coach John Harbaugh exited a downtown hotel Wednesday morning and headed to the convention center to fulfill his media responsibilities on the first day of the NFL Scouting Combine, he ran into Ravens senior vice president of football administration Pat Moriarty. The team's chief negotiator, Moriarty was hustling to a meeting with an agent.

Random Bytes

NFL hopes to relax anti-celebration rules

INDIANAPOLIS -- The NFL hopes to relax anti-celebration rules that have vexed players and fans in recent years, a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed Wednesday. League officials began discussing the issue during the 2016 season, amid heavy criticism for punishment of a series of relatively minor infractions such as pretending to shoot a basketball jump shot after a touchdown.

Washington General Manager missing Combine for “family matters”

Washington General Manager Scot McCloughan is not at the NFL Scouting Combine, and a team spokesman told the Washington Post that McCloughan is “taking care of some family matters.” McCloughan told the Washington Post Wednesday evening that he’s not in Indianapolis due to a death in the family.

NFL Combine 2017: Matt Miller's Position-by-Position Primer

What does the NFL Scouting Combine mean to the draft stock of the players who will perform, those too injured to take part and even those not invited? Tons. The combine, which ends Monday, is the best chance to compare athletes across the board. It's also the first chance for teams to meet underclassmen, put all 330 players through medical tests and conduct 15-minute private interview sessions. This is the introductory phase for these teams. Does the athleticism on the turf match what we saw on film? That's the question everyone will be asking throughout the week.

Adrian Peterson posts video to prove he's 'not on a decline'

Adrian Peterson is looking for a job and wants NFL teams to know he isn’t washed up as he’s about to turn 32. Peterson, whose $18 million option for next season was declined by the Minnesota Vikings this week, posted video of himself working out to prove he’s “not on a decline, rather an incline!”