Inside the AFC North

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

With free agency starting in less than 12 hours, we thought it was best to provide another insider's look at what's currently going on within the AFC North division.

  • Things are extremely quiet on the Derek Anderson front and we're being told that the Cleveland Browns weren't even actively shopping him at the NFL combine last week. The Browns would be open to trade possibilities if the right deal came along. But as of right now, teams in need of quarterbacks are not interested until the Browns pay the guaranteed $5 million bonus due March 13. Once that bonus is paid, the phones should ring more often and it will be up to the Browns whether to keep or trade Anderson after already paying that huge bounty.

  • Speaking of contract negotiations, the Baltimore Ravens have had serious discussions this past week in regards to both linebacker Bart Scott and center Jason Brown. It looks like Scott is the leader of the two at the moment. It is unlikely the Ravens will be able to keep both players and Ray Lewis in house for 2009.

  • The depletion of the cornerback market is not helping the Pittsburgh Steelers. Players such as Oakland Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and Dunta Robinson of the Houston Texans were taken off the market last week. This continues to climb Pittsburgh's Bryant McFadden to the top of the list of available corners and will make it even more difficult to sign in free agency.

  • As we noted in this space Wednesday, Cincinnati Bengals free-agent receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh will have no shortage of suitors starting tomorrow. Noticeably absent from our long list was Cincinnati. Despite coach Marvin Lewis' claims to keep Houshmandzadeh, most people around the league do not believe the Bengals will compete with the type of money Houshmandzadeh will command on the open market. Therefore, we kept the Bengals off the list. Cincinnati has a history of backing down from bidding wars with its own quality players. The most recent examples include guard Eric Steinbach, defensive end Justin Smith and safety Madieu Williams. Next week you can add "Housh" to the list.