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Bengals Bytes (7/3): Reason for turnaround

Here are a few reasons why the Bengals could have a better season in 2017 than 2016. Do the Steelers have the best wide receiver duo in the NFL? Sammy Watkins thinks NFL players need to get paid more.

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NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Summer reading list
The Fourth is here but the sparklers are going to keep crackling all month long to give Bengaldom a giddy, Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks haze during the entirety of July. For the first time since what seems like the kickoff of the Dec. 13, 2015 game against the Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium, the Bengals are able to line up all their big guns and some new ones for the start of training camp on July 28.

Bengals 50: The QB wreckers Lynch, von Oelhoffen and Tuitt
Different generations of Bengals fans may view each of the following players differently, but one thing ties Jim Lynch, Kimo von Oelhoffen and Stephon Tuitt together as one influential entry: they are the men ruined Bengals quarterbacks and seasons.

Bengals preview: Marvin Lewis, Andy Dalton face critical year
There is only one coach in the NFL with a longer tenure than Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis, and that is the New England Patriots’ Bill Belichick. For the first time since 2010, Lewis enters a season without a contract in place for the following season, however. Lewis has insisted that not having security past his 15th campaign on the Bengals sideline won’t weigh on him, but after a 6-9-1 season, the expectation is that the club will make the postseason again. By not having a contract, a slow start will intensify questions about Lewis’ future.

AFC North Bytes

Jamar Taylor has found a home as a quiet leader in the Browns secondary
When a team trades a player for a seventh-round pick three years after picking him in the second round, it tells you all you need to know about how they feel about that player -- he's not good enough. That's what the Dolphins decided when they traded Jamar Taylor to the Browns on Day 3 of the 2016 draft, following a season in which his playing time fell off of a cliff. It's not the first time, either, that he's essentially been told he wasn't good enough. Back in Pop Warner, when Taylor was just starting to play in San Diego, he says his coach told him, "You're not good."

Will Baltimore Ravens be doomed by lack of established WR or RB?
Building a Super Bowl-caliber defense seemed to be the Ravens' top priority in the draft, and that philosophy came at the expense of an offense in need of help at running back and wide receiver. Our AFC North reporters weigh in on the consequences.

Are Steelers WRs Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant the best tandem in the NFL?
The Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t, and never do, make a splash in free agency. They aren’t in the market for veteran players who have a gigantic price tag attached to themselves. However, they still received a huge addition to their roster in the form of recently reinstated wide receiver Martavis Bryant.

Random Bytes

Sammy Watkins Tweets NFL Players 'Gotta Get Paid More'
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins has taken a look at his bank account and apparently wants to add a few extra zeroes for himself and all NFL players. "We gotta get paid more I'm pretty sure 2014 class will change the market," Watkins tweeted Sunday.

John Lynch Says Colin Kaepernick Should Reaffirm Commitment to Football
San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch said in an interview on KNBR (h/t Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk) that free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick should make it clear he's committed to being an NFL signal-caller.

Carmelo Anthony of New York Knicks open to waiving no-trade clause for Houston Rockets, Cleveland Cavaliers
Carmelo Anthony, a 10-time NBA All-Star, is open to waiving his no-trade clause to join the Houston Rockets or Cleveland Cavaliers should those teams create a pathway to a deal with the New York Knicks, league sources told ESPN. Houston has been proactive in pursuing possible trade scenarios for Anthony lately, though its discussions around the league have yet to gain traction on a deal, league sources said.