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Bengals Bytes (3/17): Vontaze Burfict could pay a huge price if his suspension holds

Vontaze Burfict could lose a huge chuck of change following yet another suspension from the NFL.

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Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images

Jeremy Hill signs with the New England Patriots
The Cincinnati-New England connection will continue in 2018 as ESPN reported that Jeremy Hill, the Bengals' season-opening starter at running back the last three years, has signed a free agent contract with the New England Patriots. Hill rejoins Rex Burkhead in an offensive backfield, as Burkhead left the Bengals for the Patriots before the start of last year and re-signed this week.

2018 NFL free agency: Preston Brown signs with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Cincinnati native and Buffalo Bills linebacker Preston Brown hoped he had done enough playing under first-year head coach Sean McDermott to warrant a new, long-term deal with the team that drafted him in the third round out of Louisville in 2014. But after a few days exploring his options on the open market, his work proved to be enough for the Bengals to lure him home with a one-year free-agent deal, The Enquirer confirmed. Brown only had to take a minute to roll down Fourth St. to make it official.

Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict is facing a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy according to league sources
Cincinnati Bengals' LB Vontaze Burfict is facing a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy, pending appeal, per league sources. Burfict's appeal will center around the fact that he was on prescribed medication for the concussion he suffered on a hit from Steelers' wide receiver Ju-Ju Smith Schuster on Dec. 4 and that he suffered a Grade 3 shoulder AC sprain during the Detroit Lions game on Dec. 24 and was on prescribed medications for this injury as well, per another source.

Cincinnati Bengals signing former Buffalo Bills LB Preston Brown
The Cincinnati Bengals signed former Buffalo Bills linebacker Preston Brown to a one-year deal on Friday. Brown finished this past season with 144 tackles, tied with Green Bay Packers linebacker Blake Martinez and Cleveland Browns linebacker Joe Schobert for the most in the NFL.

Even if Bills draft a quarterback as expected, McCarron relishes chance to start | WKRC
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) - Quarterback A.J. McCarron is eager for the opportunity to prove himself with the Buffalo Bills after spending the previous four seasons working in Andy Dalton's shadow. And it makes no difference to McCarron if the Bills add more competition.

TDBH: Boomer salutes Bengals for ‘doing me right,’ in trade to Jets
The two Cincinnati newspapers embrace Boomer Esiason’s trade to the Jets today for a third-round pick this year and a conditional second-rounder next year with all the trappings of a presidential visit or an election night or a federal disaster. There are A-1 stories and C-6 sidebars and file photos mixed with press conference shots and quote boards of reaction. This is big because this is Norman Julius Esiason, the blond, brash, and bold Bengals quarterback who is one of the most visible pro athletes in the county.

Bengals hit a homer with signing of MLB Brown
How much does Preston Brown love Cincinnati? He lives downtown so close to Paul Brown Stadium that he can bike to his new job. Despite offers to train in the offseason in the sun and fun, he always returns to Ignition Sports hard by I-275 in suburban Mason, Ohio and to join his football-coach dad for drills at the University of Cincinnati.

Vontaze Burfict will lose almost $1.5 million if PED suspension stands
ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported Burfict is facing a four-game suspension for a violation of the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy. Burfict plans to appeal the suspension, but if it isn't overturned, he stands to lose at least $1.458 million in base salary and roster bonuses, putting his total losses at more than $3.4 million for his career.

AFC North Bytes

Ryan Jensen Agrees to 4-Year, $42 Million Contract with Buccaneers
Veteran center Ryan Jensen has agreed to terms on a four-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His agent, Mike McCartney, relayed the news Friday, and Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported the deal was worth $42 million with $22 million guaranteed.

Carlos Hyde would welcome Browns drafting Saquon Barkley
Carlos Hyde is the presumptive starting running back for the Cleveland Browns after signing a three-year contract as a free agent. Hyde and Duke Johnson form what should be an effective and versatile 1-2 punch in the Browns backfield. That doesn’t mean Hyde would shy away from his new team spending one of its top draft picks on Penn State phenom Saquon Barkley. The former Ohio State standout welcomes the thought of playing with Barkley in Cleveland and how it could help the team.

Hue Jackson recommended AJ McCarron to Bills' GM Brandon Beane |
Jackson didn't end up with his old Bengals QB AJ McCarron, but he talked him up to Bills Brandon Beane the night before Buffalo signed him.

Random Bytes

Tyrann Mathieu Agrees to 1-Year Contract with Houston Texans
Veteran safety Tyrann Mathieu agreed Friday to a one-year deal with the Houston Texans, the team announced. ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported the deal. Schefter added the deal is worth $7 million. The Arizona Cardinals released Mathieu on March 14 after he declined to accept a pay cut for the 2018 season.

Danny Woodhead Retires from NFL After 10-Year Career
Woodhead played for the New York Jets, New England Patriots, San Diego Chargers and Baltimore Ravens throughout his 10-year career, which started when he was an undrafted free agent in 2008. This retirement isn't particularly surprising considering Woodhead is 33 years old and has dealt with significant injuries in recent seasons. A hamstring setback limited him to eight games last year after a torn ACL kept him off the field in all but two games in 2016.

Kyle Fuller Reportedly Remains with Bears After Packers Offer Sheet Matched
The Chicago Bears matched the Green Bay Packers' four-year, $56 million offer sheet for cornerback Kyle Fuller on Friday, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Fuller will reportedly earn $18 million guaranteed after the Bears initially signed him to the transition tag worth a shade under $13 million.

LeGarrette Blount Reportedly Signs 1-Year, $4.5 Million Contract with Lions
The Detroit Lions reportedly will sign veteran running back LeGarrette Blount to a one-year, $4.5 million contract, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Blount, 31, is coming off a solid season for the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. He rushed for 766 yards and two scores while splitting time in the team's backfield with Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement.