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State of AFC North: Cost of defense; patience key for Cleveland; Revis Island relocating?

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The Ravens have done a good job at building up their defense, but at what cost? Maybe the Browns should wait on taking a quarterback and not jump to take one in Round 1. Could the Steelers really land Darrelle Revis? He seems to like the idea.

Philadelphia Eagles v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Free agency is dying down, and the dust is settling just in time for draft coverage to really kick into gear. Let’s check in on some of the top stories for the Bengals’ AFC North rivals this week. The Ravens have done a great job of building their defense, but it has come at the cost of their offense not getting as many resources. The Browns may be smart to be patient when finding a quarterback, even if that means waiting until 2018 for a long-term solution. The Steelers haven’t had an exciting offseason so far, but they have already accomplished what they set out to do.

Baltimore Ravens

Carr’s deal is extremely team friendly

The Ravens made another addition to their secondary by adding veteran cornerback Brandon Carr from the Cowboys. Carr has been a solid fixture in Dallas’ secondary for awhile as he just finished up a five-year deal.

It has been reported that the deal with the Ravens is a four-year deal. However, it is more of a year-to-year deal. The Ravens have a team option to retain him or part ways with him after each year. You can read the contract details here.

That makes a lot of sense considering Carr will be 31 by the time the 2016 season starts. This deal favors the Ravens incredibly. If Carr plays well, then they pick up the option. If he doesn’t perform at a high level, then the Ravens can let him go back out into free agency. This seems to be a great signing for the Ravens.

Baltimore hasn’t helped Flacco so far

The Ravens have been making splashes for two offseasons now, but most of them have been on the defensive side. The negative effects of this are starting to be seen on offense.

Over the past two offseasons the Ravens have let two talented offensive linemen get away via free agency. Kelechi Osemele bolted for Oakland, and Rick Wagner left this offseason for Detroit. The Ravens added Ronnie Stanley in the last draft, and he’s been good so far, but that is only one spot along the line. The Ravens also let their prized fullback, Kyle Juszczyk, leave for San Francisco. To the Ravens’ credit they did bring in running back Danny Woodhead this offseason, but he is coming off an ACL injury so his impact could be questionable.

The Ravens have invested a lot of money into Joe Flacco, but he isn’t a quarterback who can lift an offense on his own. That isn’t really an insult either. There are only a handful of quarterbacks in the NFL that can actually do that. The Ravens could have one of the best defenses in the league next year, but if they can’t protect Flacco how much will that help?

Cleveland Browns

Waiting until 2018 for a quarterback is a good idea

There is an obsession that every NFL team that doesn’t have a franchise quarterback should be constantly trying to fill that hole with the first quarterback they can get their hands on. It is a nice notion, but it often ends in failure and wasted years. Not to mention, risking everyone’s jobs on one player.

Let’s say for the sake of argument that the Browns took a quarterback in the first or even second round of this year’s NFL Draft. That guy would become the franchise guy for the Browns, like so many quarterbacks before him. If he doesn’t develop into THE guy, then the coaches’ jobs are at risk. None of the top quarterbacks in the 2017 draft scream franchise quarterback. There’s potential, but that doesn’t provide much security, especially when many experts have made it known they don’t believe any quarterback in this year’s draft will be ready to start Week 1 of the season.

Alternatively, even after a strong free agency, the Browns still have plenty of holes to fill on their roster. This year’s draft offers a talented class outside of quarterbacks and offensive linemen. Realistically, the Browns could load up on talent to surround their next quarterback. This would give the next quarterback an increased chance of actually having success, whenever he does arrive in Cleveland. It obviously is hard to ask the Browns to endure another season of a quarterback carousel, but if it leads to a franchise quarterback in 2018 (and for the long-run) it would all be worth it.

The experiment is working so far

There was plenty of skepticism when the Browns’ organization was handed over to Sashi Brown. Brown had never run a football organization or even really been involved in one. I personally had my doubts, but so far, the Browns are seemingly in position to actually become relevant...soon.

After a 1-15 season, the Browns secured the first overall pick, and they keep accumulating high draft picks. They may not use all these picks, but the ammunition allows them to move almost at will around the draft. Of course the Browns need to actually start hitting on these picks to really become a competitor.

They have also done a great job at getting free agents to actually sign with the team. Though, some players, like Tony Jefferson, turned down more money to sign with a better team. And, the Browns have made some nice singings while also maintaining a great amount of cap space. Even with the Brock Osweiler trade, that gained them a second round pick next season.

the Browns need to start nailing the draft, and that will be incredibly important, but so far, there seems to be a reason to believe in the Browns again. And, head coach Hue Jackson has a lot to do with that, too.

Browns sign kicker Brett Maher

The Browns are adding another kicker to the roster to compete with Cody Parkey. Brett Maher, originally signed by the Jets as an undrafted free agent out of Nebraska in 2013, has also spent time with the Cowboys and bounced around in the Canadian Football League for the last three seasons. In 2016 with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, he hit 41/50 field goals including a long of 58 yards.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Steelers accomplished what they wanted in free agency

Many Steelers’ fans are watching the Patriots make moves at a blistering pace, and are becoming frustrated with the Steelers’ lack of activity. This isn’t fair though because the Steelers already did what they set out to do in free agency.

Before this offseason even started, the Steelers had two goals. They needed to extend Antonio Brown and secure his spot on the team for a long time, and they also wanted to at least get Le’Veon Bell franchise tagged. This isn’t a sexy offseason, but it does keep the window open slightly for the Steelers to make another run at the Super Bowl. You do have to laugh when knowing Davon House was on a visit with the Steelers and agreed to a deal with the Packers while he was still in Pittsburgh. The Steelers also tried their luck at Dont'a Hightower, but he opted to re-sign with the Patriots instead.

Could Revis Island relocate to Pittsburgh?

Darrelle Revis signing with the Steelers has been discussed before, but it seems to be gaining more traction. Revis recently stated playing for the Steelers would be “a dream come true.” Of course he said this in a courthouse in Pittsburgh after being cleared of all charges in a fight from February.

Revis isn’t the same player he once was. He has started to decline and will be 32 by the start of the 2017 season. He could provide some great veteran leadership, but if Steeler fans expect him to come in and shutdown guys like A.J. Green then they better think again...

Other Steelers moves:

The Steelers signed running back Kniles Davis who spent time with the Chiefs, Packers and Jets in 2016. Pittsburgh also signed cornerback Coty Sensabaugh, who spent time on the Rams and Giants in 2016. Davis' deal is for one-year, while Sensabaugh's is for two. Both players look to add talent to positions where depth is needed for the Steelers. Neither signing is splashy, but, they're low-risk moves that could pay off. Running back DeAngelo Williams, who has spent the last two seasons in Pittsburgh, is currently a free agent and remains on the market.