NFL Free Agency: AFC North
I don't know if the draft is more fun or if free agency takes the cake, but either way, this is a great time of year to be a football fan. True, we have a long summer in front of us before we get to enjoy our sport again, but sometimes seeing what the billionaires and front office stooges in the NFL decide to achieve or fuck up in the offseason can be just as entertaining as watching action on the gridiron.
Anyhoo, these are my thoughts thus far regarding the free agency maneuvering of the AFC North.
Not too shabby. They replaced the lost talents of Mike Mitchell with those of Morgan Burnett, and brought in a versatile linebacker with Jon Bostic. They have, however, had to franchise tag Bell again, and it's looking like there's no end in sight when it comes to agreeing to contract terms. Bell is great and everything, but the Steelers could easily find themselves in a salary cap hole if they don't make some careful moves.
Meh, they did okay. Retaining Tyler Eifert looks like a slam dunk on paper, but the dude can’t stay on the field and he needs a reliable quarterback if he's going to live up to the blow he delivers to the salary cap. Signing Chris Baker feels like a similar scenario. He has the potential to be a run stuffing monster, but odds are pretty good he'll be a moderate to underwhelming force.
Good on ya, Browns. After playing like The Little Giants for the past two seasons, the Browns decided to tear a page out of the Philadelphia Eagles book on free agency from last year. Will adding Tyrod Taylor, Jarvis Landry, Damarious Randall, and Carlos Hyde bring them to the promised land? Fuck no, but it's a damn good start. Still though, losing perennial Pro Bowler Joe Thomas to retirement definitely can be considered a giant step back.
Adding Michael Crabtree and lighting- fast John Brown to the receiving corps is a major move for a team with a quarterback that has a dangerous deep-ball. Keeping Brandon Carr around is boring as fuck, but it's not the worst move, and rumor has it that they may be looking to nab up Eric Ebron or Jimmy Graham to fill the void at tight end. Their cap situation is ghastly however, and they'll really have to do some fancy money tricks in order to make that situation work.
Free Agency Winner for AFC North:
Cleveland Browns take the cake with a solid B+ by my estimation.