- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Ravens reporter
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It's six days until the deadline to use the franchise tag, 14 days until the start of free agency and 58 days until the draft begins. Now that the countdowns are out of the way, here's your wake-up call ...
RAVENS: Safety Ed Reed has reached out to former LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu, the 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist known as the "Honey Badger." Well, sort of. “He never talked to me personally but he's reached out to my adoptive parents," Mathieu said at the NFL combine, via the Ravens' official website. “He's reached out to my agent and [former LSU defensive back and current Cardinals cornerback] Patrick Peterson." Mathieu, who is projected to be a mid-to-late round pick, was dismissed from LSU for reportedly failing drug tests.
BENGALS: The Bengals' biggest need in the draft is safety, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. The Bengals haven't selected one in the first round since 1992 (Darryl Williams) but they could do it this year considering how deep that position is in this year's draft class. “I think there’s a value on each position and sometimes the safety position may not be as important as other positions," defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer said. "If you can’t have 11 of exactly what you want, you mix and match in certain ways. I don’t have an issue with our safeties."
STEELERS: There's a chance that the Steelers will restructure some contracts this week, according to Ed Bouchette of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Steelers are $14 million over the cap and need to create more room by March 12. But don't expect quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to be among those reworking their deals, Bouchette reported. The Steelers could extend Roethlisberger, who has three years remaining on his current contract, but that probably won't happen until 2014. Pittsburgh usually doesn't extend the contracts of quarterbacks until they have two years left on their contracts.
BROWNS: Quarterback Brandon Weeden is "absolutely" confident he can beat out any competition for his job this season. "I completely expect to be the starter," Weeden said, via The Plain Dealer. "That's my mindset going in. I'm confident in my ability to be the guy, to lead this football team. I expect completely to be better this year than I was last year." Weeden said he hasn't gotten the playbook yet because of the rules of the collective bargaining agreement but he plans to be in Cleveland for the start of the offseason program April 1.
It's six days until the deadline to use the franchise tag, 14 days until the start of free agency and 58 days until the draft begins. Now that the countdowns are out of the way, here's your wake-up call .