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State of the AFC North: Ravens sign Maclin; Antonio Brown put on blast, again

The Ravens have signed Jeremy Maclin; and are still interested in Eric Decker, Antonio Brown can’t seem to keep his private life off social media. The Browns cut a player hours before he threw the first pitch at an Indians’ game.

AFC Championship - Pittsburgh Steelers v New England Patriots Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Baltimore Ravens had an obvious need at receiver after the 2017 NFL Draft. After Jeremy Maclin was cut and the Jets made Eric Decker available, they’ve pounced and have now signed one of the two. Antonio Brown keeps getting put on blast over social media. The Browns cut one of their players just hours before he was scheduled to throw out the first pitch at a Cleveland Indians game.

Baltimore Ravens

Ravens sign Jeremy Maclin

It is no secret the Ravens needed more help at receiver coming into this week. They didn’t make any moves at the position during the draft or in free agency, until now.

After getting cut by the Kansas City Chiefs last week the Ravens have signed talented wide receiver Jeremy Maclin to a two-year deal. The Bills and Eagles were also in contention to get Maclin, but he and his wife opted to make the move to Baltimore.

Maclin joined the Chiefs two seasons ago, and while it started off great, he took a step back last year. Part of that was due to an injury, as he only played in 12 games, but his production still took a huge nose dive for playing that many games. He finished 2016 with only 44 catches for 536 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Meanwhile, Tyreek Hill and Chris Conley showed they could do his job as good if not better for a fraction of the cost. Maclin carried around a $12 million cap hit into 2017 and the Chiefs decided they were better off without him.

Against the Bengals in 2015, Maclin notched 11 catches on 13 targets for 148 yards. The Bengals won the game 36-21 and didn't allow the Chiefs to score any touchdowns. He will certainly add a spark to an offense that needed receiver help.

Ravens may not be done adding to offense

Prior to signing Maclin, the Ravens were also reportedly interested in former Jets receiver Eric Decker. The Jets tried to get a trade done, but failed and ultimately released the veteran receiver.

And even after signing Maclin, the Ravens are still reportedly interested.

Decker is 30-years-old and coming off hip and shoulder surgery after missing most of last season. It may not seem like a big deal, but as soon as a player hits that 30 mark, the body doesn’t bounce back from injuries quite as easily.

Decker has been a very productive possession receiver for quite some time, and he would be the perfect complement for the other receivers currently on the Ravens’ roster. Joe Flacco is known for his huge arm, but some of his most productive seasons came when he had a guy like Anquan Boldin who could make a contested catch to move the chains. Decker should supply Flacco with that kind of receiver again, if the Ravens lock him up.

Cleveland Browns

Browns cut Powell hours before first pitch

The life of a player at the bottom of the roster can be hectic and inconvenient. It can be especially bad if you have a big event planned, like throwing out the first pitch at an MLB game.

Tyvis Powell was picked up off waivers by the Browns in February after the Seahawks waived him. The former Buckeye was scheduled to throw out the first pitch at an Indians game. It was probably an exciting time for the Ohio man, but it got ruined a few hours before the game. Why?

The Browns cut him.

To Powell’s credit, he still went on with the show and threw out the pitch despite it probably being slightly upsetting. Unfortunately, such is the life of a fringe roster player trying to stick with a team.

Sports Illustrated pegs Collins as most important Brown

Sports Illustrated has named the most important player on every team. And just as they did with the Bengals, the list intentionally didn’t include quarterbacks—just to get that argument out of the way.

The writers ranked linebacker Jamie Collins as the most crucial player to the Browns’ success just a hair ahead of offensive tackle Joe Thomas. It makes sense, too. Obviously Thomas is going to be a solid left tackle as he has been for his whole career, but Collins needs to be an anchor for this Browns defense during some major changes.

Collins and first overall pick Myles Garrett need to get some real pressure on opposing quarterbacks. While people will probably put more expectations on Garrett to perform early, it is actually Collins who needs to really prove he is worth the deal he received this offseason after the Browns gave up a third round pick to trade for him prior to last year’s trade deadline. He can make it easier on Garrett by drawing the attention of double teams toward his side.

Collins only had two sacks last season, but he joined the team late, and there was an insane lack of talent around him. We should expect far more production from him this season.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Brown gets put on blast, again

Antonio Brown got paid this offseason. It was $68 million extension that makes him the highest paid receiver in the league, just ahead of A.J. Green. He has also been putting in the work to prove he is worth that deal, and he has kept track of it all over social media.

Unfortunately for him, something else has been well documented on social media, and that is his love life. Earlier this offseason a woman pregnant with Brown’s baby called him out for being with an Instagram model. Now a different Instagram model has pulled one of the best revenges in the modern age of social media, and posted Brown’s telephone number online. Who’s to say what exactly transpired between the two, but surely the receiver did something to upset the woman.

One thing is certain: Brown has been a busy man on- and off-the-field this offseason. Still, I’m sure he’d like to stay out of the headlines for reasons like this.

(By the way, Cincy Jungle called Brown’s phone within 30 minutes of his number being posted online and it had already been disconnected. Too bad!)

Steelers have three players eligible for huge extensions

The Steelers are in quite the pickle going into the season. They have three players who are scheduled to be free agents next offseason who they’d desperately like to keep. But, keeping the trio could cost the team more than $100 million, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.

The first, and most obvious, is Le’Veon Bell who hasn’t been shy about wanting a long-term deal instead of playing under the franchise tag. Bell would make around $12 million this season if he signed his tender.

The next player in need of an extension is Stephon Tuitt. Tuitt has been an anchor along the defensive line, and while he doesn’t get a ton of sacks, his role is more of a space eater. It would be a huge loss if the Steelers actually let him walk.

Last, but not least, is Alejandro Villanueva who has become an important piece of the offensive line. He was offered an exclusive rights free agent tender, although he hasn’t signed it yet, hoping for a long-term deal. Meanwhile, he is still showing up for voluntary workouts and signed a waiver/participation agreement, which pays him the tendered amount if he's hurt in organized team activities, per Fowler.

Right now the Steelers have about $16 in cap space for this season, according to, and that number includes the $12 million hit from Bell’s franchise tag. There’s some money to get these players signed to long-term deals, but will they all actually be extended this offseason?

The first step is to get Bell a long-term deal that has an initial cap hit less than the current $12 million. That would free up space for Tuitt and Villanueva to receive deals. The trio’s overall deals would likely crack the $100 million mark, which could be a burden on the team in the future. But, that is the price you pay for having young, talented players. We’ll have to wait and see how the Steelers maneuver the rest of the offseason.