AFC North mailbag

Let's dig into the division mailbag.

BIG SLIM from FT. Washington, MD, writes: How do you think Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed will perform this year after coming off an injury-plague season?

James Walker: Reed is certainly banged up after hip surgery, and it appears he's going to wait until he 100 percent. When will that be? No one knows for sure. Reed recently estimated that he's about 35 percent, which means he has a long way to go. I don't anticipate him doing much, if anything, in training camp and the preseason. But if Reed misses regular-season games, I think the Ravens are deep enough to maintain.

Ken from Washington, D.C., writes: Do you think that the Steelers would have any interest in trading for Vincent Jackson if San Diego made him available?

Walker: Ken, Jackson wants a big contract extension and will be suspended for the first three games. I don't see that as a match for Pittsburgh. Plus, the Steelers believe they're fine at wide receiver. They have a lot of confidence that Mike Wallace will be able to step up in the starting role and that Antwaan Randle El is savvy enough to fill in the No. 3 role. Their biggest concern right now is filling the right tackle spot vacated when Willie Colon was lost for the season following his Achilles injury.

Ben from Cincinnati wants to know if the Bengals can re-sign cornerbacks Johnathan Joseph and Leon Hall to long-term deals.

Walker: Readers of this blog know that it's always hard for me to look beyond one year. The NFL is very much a year-to-year league, so I try to stick to that approach. Joseph is in the final year of his contract, and the Bengals are making an effort to sign him long-term. I'm told talks are early and there are no guarantees. But both sides are happy there’s some positive communication. Hall has two years left on his deal, so he's not a primary focus for Cincinnati right now. But keeping both will be very expensive.

Dillon from South Dakota writes: How big of an impact FB/RB Peyton Hillis will make this year for the Browns?

Walker: Hillis was sick during mandatory minicamp last month so I didn't get to see how he fits in Cleveland's offense. Based on what I've seen in Denver, Hillis is tough between the tackles and could be a good fit. It looks like Montario Hardesty and Jerome Harrison will get a bulk of the carries. But Hillis should be able to carve out a role with Cleveland, perhaps in short-yardage situations.