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AFC North mailbag

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

Let's dig into the mailbag for each team in the division.

I will start with Adrian, who wants me to look into my crystal ball in regards to the contract holdout of Cleveland Browns kicker Phil Dawson.

James Walker: Dawson's apparent unhappiness with his contract is certainly not surprising, but the way he is going about it is. I'm not sure how many NFL kickers have held out, but it's probably not many. My crystal ball says this won't impact the Eric Mangini regime very much. If the Browns aren't bending for Joshua Cribbs, who is being very diplomatic about his situation, I really can't see them doing it for Dawson, who hasn't been around at all. Thursday's minicamp is mandatory, so Dawson is required to show up and face questions about his situation. Therefore, everyone should know a lot more by the end of the week.


Kirk doesn't like Cleveland's ability to rush the passer this year and wonders if any more help is on the way.

James Walker: Kirk, the Browns are scouring the waiver wire daily for additional help, but most likely they would grab cost-effective options to provide depth on the 53-man roster (see OT George Foster from last week). Former Dallas Cowboy Greg Ellis, who had eight sacks in 2008, is available. Yet, I don't see the Browns spending enough money to get that caliber of veteran this summer. As mentioned in the previous question, Cleveland has its own money issues internally in deciding whether to pay extensions to Cribbs and Dawson. It's uncertain that those players get new deals this summer. So I really don't see the Browns signing or trading for someone significant defensively this late in the offseason.


Thomas from Charleston, WV, wants to know if the Cincinnati Bengals will consider giving Chris Henry a long-term deal if he produces.

James Walker: It's too early to tell, Thomas. Henry is still taking baby steps and doing a great job so far. Henry knows he's down to his last strike and has worked really hard with quarterback Carson Palmer while keeping his focus on football. For various reasons, Henry has never put it all together for a full season. He needs to first be accountable and productive for 16 games, then let the chips fall where they may contractually in the offseason.


Ben is eager to see Pittsburgh Steelers left tackle Max Starks sign an extension.

James Walker: This is the biggest issue left in Pittsburgh's offseason, Ben. The Steelers could dangle long-term security to Starks as a trade for cap relief, while Starks could sit on his huge one-year salary ($8.451 million) and choose to go back to the negotiating table again next year. Starks is one player with the franchise tag who probably has the most leverage. So I wouldn't be surprise either way in how this turns out.


Mark from Baltimore wants to know what the Baltimore Ravens are thinking by placing Le'Ron McClain back at fullback.

James Walker: McClain was the leading rusher last year, but Baltimore feels a healthy Willis McGahee and a stronger, more experienced Ray Rice can be a better primary combination. The three-headed monster isn't going anywhere in Baltimore. McClain, Rice and McGahee will all get carries. But the distribution likely will be altered, with less carries for McClain and more given to Rice and McGahee.