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Bengals Bytes (6/29): The bubble

Adam Jones could find himself on the roster bubble with the Bengals young corners competing for his job. Trey Wingo thinks Joe Flacco’s contract gutted the Ravens. A look at the chess match that happens every single play in the NFL.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals-Minicamp Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Veterans on the roster bubble for all 32 NFL teams - 2017 offseason
Could Adam Jones be on his way out in Cincinnati? Could Philadelphia's 2014 first-round pick Marcus Smith be on the outside looking in? NFL Nation reporters pick 32 veterans who might not make 2017 rosters.

Bengals A Cautionary Tale?
Since the 2011 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals have had only one losing season, last year at 6-9-1. Since the 2011 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns best season had seven wins. On the field, there is no comparison between the two teams. The Bengals have competed for division titles while the Browns have competed for high draft picks, dysfunction awards and the loss of hope among fans.

Do the Cincinnati Bengals have a top 10 QB?
When Cincinnati drafted Andy Dalton in the second round of the NFL Draft, Who Dey Nation did not know exactly what we were going to get. For a losing team, heading straight to the playoffs wasn’t necessarily in the cards, to say the least, but the dynamic duo of Dalton and A.J. Green got the job done. Dalton experienced two solid seasons to start his young career and then exploded in 2013.

Why Bengals' Vontaze Burfict will stay in Cincinnati
If you haven’t been paying attention to the current affairs of the Bengals, it may come as a surprise. But, if you’re a diehard fan that stays on top of the happenings, you may be wondering why this is even an issue. Vontaze Burfict will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2017 season. The Bengals have time to work things out with Burfict, but it has to start now.

Cincinnati Bengals: Top training camp battles to watch
Every team in the NFL will have some sort of a training camp battle. Whether it’s a quarterback battle or a fight to see who will be the No. 1 receiver, training camp battles are one of the few highlights to look out for in the offseason. Fans of a team can track information on the progress specific players have made.

Bengals' Brandon Thompson: Remains on Bengals' roster ahead of 2017 season
Thompson -- who originally tore his ACL in Week 17 of the 2015 season -- signed a one-year deal with the Bengals last year, but since he spent the entire 2016 season on the Reserve/PUP list, his contract rolled over to 2017. However, the 2012 third-rounder is far from being guaranteed a roster spot and will need to prove his worth in training camp and the preseason.

AFC North Bytes

AFC North Q&A: Who should start at quarterback for the Browns in 2017?
Another season means another round of questioning the Cleveland Browns' quarterback situation. They traded for Brock Osweiler, drafted DeShone Kizer and kept Cody Kessler. ESPN's AFC North reporters weigh in on which one should start.

Making the Leap: Steelers fielding title-caliber defense
Two years removed from legendary Steelers coordinator Dick LeBeau's exit, Tomlin is running a scheme in Pittsburgh closer to the one that helped build his reputation as a coaching prodigy. Unsung Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert has constructed a foundation of defensive players entering their primes who combine explosiveness and continuity, led by front-seven disrupters Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Ryan Shazier and Bud Dupree. Three promising defenders from last year's rookie crop look ready to take the next step. Pittsburgh's offense possesses an unfair amount of talent, taking pressure off the defense.

Trey Wingo says Joe Flacco’s contract “gutted” the Ravens
It's that time of year again. The weather is hot, baseball is approaching the All-Star break, training camp is just around the corner, and quarterbacks are about to get paid. Three NFL quarterbacks entered this period looking for a new contract extension from their teams, and Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was the first to get his earned payday as Oakland gave him a 5-year, $125 million extension with $40 million fully guaranteed, $70 million in total guarantees, and a $12.5 million signing bonus. With Carr's deal out of the way, the two other quarterbacks, Kirk Cousins and Matthew Stafford, will now try to negotiate with their respective teams on new deals.

Random Bytes

Every NFL Play Is a Brutal Game of Chess
Football games are won on the merits of power, speed and a refined intelligence. James Urban, the Bengals’ receivers coach and one of the most respected assistants in the league, walks us through the nuances of how plays are designed, routes are run, and passes get thrown.

Michael Vick throws eight TD passes in American Flag Football League Launch Game
Pictures and highlights from the American Flag Football League’s high scoring affair in San Jose.

Kaepernick Controversy Has NFL Players Searching for Louder Voice in Society
If you thought political activism among NFL players ended with the shunning of Colin Kaepernick, you couldn't be more wrong. "What Colin Kaepernick did is just the spark," Eagles defender Malcolm Jenkins said Monday. "What's coming after that is going to be a bigger wave, a more collective and concerted effort to use this platform of sports to try to make some change."