Editor’s note: Will’s views below are also reflected in “A Chester Minute” podcast “the Kings of the NFL Norths Offseason Preview”
AFC North offseason Preview
Browns- While many can’t take the Browns seriously, there shouldn’t be a football fan who isn’t jealous of their draft position. With the 1st and 4th overall selections, as well as more quality selections in the 2nd and 3rd rounds, the Browns are in position to draft 2 difference makers. The obvious answer is QB at 1 and either Saquon Barkley or a defensive player at 4. While this is probably the course of action they’ll take, if they can lure Kirk Cousins there they have an opportunity to draft the 2 best players available, or trade down for a QB hungry team.
Steelers- Pittsburg has the chance (I don’t think they’ll do it) to pull a Bill Belichick and let a star player leave and replace him with multiple players. If they let Bell leave, they’ll likely get a 3rd round pick via the compensatory system and have the cap room to do a few things. I could sign Dion Lewis or Rex Burkhead from the Patriots, maybe even both, then use that money to take care of the secondary/ middle linebacker but hey, I’m writing articles for a website and not running the Steelers organization. They also need a plan for when Roethlisberger retires, but if you believe in Josh Dobbs they can use their draft picks and cap room elsewhere.
Bengals- While the Andy Dalton situation is a yearly question, let’s assume they keep him as their starter. They can draft O-line and defensive help. I think they let Tyler Eifert leave and it’ll be interesting if he signs a one year deal with a contender (possibly as a 2nd TE) and tries to stay healthy and productive enough to sign a longer deal this time next year.
Ravens- Their biggest issue is their WR group. Assuming Maclin isn’t back next year they could look to sign Amendola from the Patriots (see the theme of taking from the Pats) and either draft a WR or running back in this year’s draft to help Flacco. Their defense looked elite at times, but Jimmy Smith is coming off an Achilles tear and Eric Weddle isn’t getting any younger. With the right moves they could be playing in January in 2019.