Chat with James Walker
Walker joined ESPN.com in 2008 after three seasons covering the Cleveland Browns for the Columbus Dispatch. He also covered the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Cavaliers at the Dispatch. Walker grew up in Hyattsville, Md., before attending Temple University, graduating in 2001 with a B.A. in communications and mass media. He resides in the Cleveland area.
Send your questions now and join Walker on Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET!
James Walker (3:56 PM)
Everyone, I'm back for another round of questions. Let's chat.
Walker, let's keep the nice tradition going. How are you doing today my friend?
James Walker (3:57 PM)
Steiny what's going on?
Can you see Terrell Suggs coming to play in New York with Rex Ryan?
James Walker (3:58 PM)
Terrell Suggs isn't going anywhere. Ray Lewis might, but not Suggs.
Marvin Lewis talked about the Bengals being active in free agency. Does that mean they will go after top level talent or more of the middle level guys?
James Walker (4:00 PM)
No, Gina. The Bengals rarely, if ever, go after top-level talent. By top level I mean Julius Peppers, Ray Lewis territory. They have a top-level player on their own team in T.J. Houshmandzadeh that they're probably not going to pay for.
joe G (niagara falls NY) [via mobile]
what team do you see making the biggest splash in free agency?
James Walker (4:02 PM)
The Arizona Cardinals could be a team to watch. They have pretty good cap space and could be searching for a new starting RB and WR if they trade Boldin.
Matt Lownes East Hampton New York
Should the Jets draft a quarterback in the first round because they don't have a second round draft pick?
James Walker (4:03 PM)
You have to wait to see what happens with Brett Favre. But considering that it's likely that he doesn't return, New York may want to look at some vets on the market. There should be several available this year.
David Fairborn, OH
So what, do the the Bengals go for a CEnter in FA? Ghuichac is not by any means a center for the AFC North. I can see the right rookie Center step up and take charge of the line though, if he is out there in the draft.
James Walker (4:06 PM)
Eric is a free agent this year, and my guess is he doesn't return. So the Bengals will have to address this need at some point in the offseason. It won't be in the first round. They have too high a pick to look at that position. Maybe in the second round.
Any chance the Steelers franchise Max Starks? He's only 27 yeard old, started on two Super Bowl teams and can play both OT spots.
James Walker (4:08 PM)
Why would they do that again, JP? That would be awful business for Pittsburgh. Tackles make too much money to pay Starks in the top 5.
Drew from Baltimore
How is the AFC North going to play out next season?
James Walker (4:09 PM)
Way too early, Drew. Ask me after the draft and free agency. No point in predicting things in Feb.
Have the Bengals EVER signed a blue chip free agent from another team? Seriously, I would love to see a list of their free agent signings from the last 25 years.
James Walker (4:11 PM)
None that I can think of, Rob. That's why it's confusing when Bengals fans ask about getting Julius Peppers, etc., because it's obvious they haven't been paying attention to the past 20 years.
David Fairborn, OH
Too the Bengals credit, they ALMOST did have Shawn Rogers.
James Walker (4:12 PM)
Almost doesn't count.
David Fairborn, OH
So what do the Browns look like they're going to do with DA? I always thought he wasn't that great, but granted I'm a Bengals fan.
James Walker (4:14 PM)
I'm still digging around with this because Eric Mangini has his poker face on with his quarterbacks. I don't even think Quinn and Anderson know what's going on.
any chance pitt uses larry foote to move up in the draft?
James Walker (4:15 PM)
I doubt it, Mike. The Steelers need linebackers playing a 3-4. So even though Timmons could take over next year, depth is important.
how do think pats are going to do next season
James Walker (4:17 PM)
The Pats could be the Super Bowl favorites coming into next year, as long as Tom Brady is healthy and the starter in Week 1.
So you think Housh ends up leaving Cincy? Who do you like to pick him up?
James Walker (4:19 PM)
Houshmandzadeh would fit in well with a west-coast offense. Teams like Philadelphia and Seattle come to mind.
Do you like the Bucs signing Luke McCown? Jagodsinzki could be the perfect candidate to help him develop into a legitimate pro quarterback
James Walker (4:21 PM)
I'm not high on McCown and what I've seen from him in the past. But I could be wrong.
David Fairborn, OH
If crabtree is there for the 'gals at 6, do they pass him up for a need or take him as the best player available?
James Walker (4:24 PM)
I wouldn't rule out Crabtree for the Bengals, other than to say the team drafted two WRs last year in Simpson and Caldwell. They would be admitting those are mistakes by spending a first-round pick on Crabtree.
ryan (cleveland, ohio)
would aaron curry be a good fit in the 3-4? would he be a middle or outside backer?
James Walker (4:26 PM)
He's versatile, but probably outside would be his best position. The Browns would be fortunate to land him, though. He would be ideal. Right now the their starting LBs would be Wimbley, Jackson, Alex Hall and Leon Williams.
If Mangenius picks DA as his QB, can the Browns get a 1st for Quinn considering the dearth of QBs available in the draft and free-agency.
James Walker (4:28 PM)
Eric won't pick DA as the starter next year. That's the least likely scenario. If anything, he will have an open competition between Anderson and Quinn and let them settle it on the field. Otherwise, he may choose Quinn and trade Anderson.
I just want to point out to SportsNation that you called the Steelers "elite" early in the season when no one was hyping them -- well done, James...
James Walker (4:29 PM)
I know football and I trust what I see.
If the Seahawks sign TJ from Cincinnati, then will they still draft Crabtree?
James Walker (4:30 PM)
They would still have Chad Ocho Cinco, so I would say no. The Bengals would hope their younger WRs such as Henry, Caldwell and Simpson step up. They need help elsewhere, like the offensive line.
MRL the Pearl
James - I think Nate Washington is the perfect receiver for what the Ravens lack. First and foremost, he'll cost a fraction of the bigger name free agent receivers. He's young (25), played in 16 games in his last three seasons, is improving, and has tremendous deep speed, which the Ravens lack. Plus it weakens the team we're gunning for. Thoughts?
James Walker (4:32 PM)
Nate Washington a Raven? I don't know. He's a Steeler to the heart. He may sign elsewhere but I find it hard to imagine him in Baltimore.
Joe (Chicago, IL)
Why are Caldwell and Simpson already mistakes?
James Walker (4:34 PM)
I didn't say they were already mistakes. I said if the Bengals draft Crabtree with the No. 6 overall pick, the TEAM would be saying those picks were mistakes.
Joel (Newq Jersey)
Is it possible T.O. and Boldin could end up playing for the same team?
James Walker (4:35 PM)
Maybe the same fantasy football team.
James, is there anyway the Steelers would trade/trade up to get Andre Smith to beef up the O-line for '09?
James Walker (4:36 PM)
I doubt it. Pittsburgh would have to move way up in the top 10 to grab Smith.
MRL the Pearl
James - can a legitimate argument be made that Ray Lewis is the third most important free-agent the Ravens have? If so, isn't that amazing. I'd personally prioritize Jason Brown and Terrell Suggs over Ray Lewis. That's no knock on what he's done, but more speaks to what they other two WILL DO.
James Walker (4:38 PM)
I would disagree and say Ray Lewis is second behind Terrell Suggs. Lewis brings a leadership element to the team, also.
PJ(vidor.tx) [via mobile]
do you think it is time for the colts to part ways with marvin harrison
James Walker (4:40 PM)
There is a good chance, PJ, especially with a new coach coming in.
tedy Blessed (Arkansas)
Dont you think the officiating has gotten worse?
James Walker (4:41 PM)
Yes, I do. I've been writing about bad officiating all season and plan to give it a rest, for the most part, until September.
The Browns have cut Antwan Peek. Where do you think he will end up?
James Walker (4:43 PM)
Steiny, it's too early to tell. He's coming off an injury so I think the market will be slow for him.
Is Crabtree the best prospect? Of all time? Is he better than Calvin Johnson was at the time of the draft 2 years ago?
James Walker (4:45 PM)
Slow down, Gary. Some feel he's the best prospect in this draft. But WRs are the last link in the chain, so it's hard for teams to covet him like it would quarterbacks or o-linemen.
David (Des Moines)
where will shuan alexander play, if at all this year?
James Walker (4:48 PM)
He will probably get an invite somewhere. But I'm not sure if he makes a team. He didn't produce much in Washington last season.
Whos better Fitzgerald Or Andre Johnson
James Walker (4:48 PM)
Is Santonio Holmes an elite receiver in the NFL?
James Walker (4:51 PM)
Steiny, Holmes still has room to grow. He has yet to have a 1,000-yard season because he doesn't make enough routine plays. Once he does that, he will be a solid No. 1.
chances of steelers resigning mcfadden?
James Walker (4:54 PM)
Decent. McFadden wants to stay but his agent is Drew Rosenhaus. So you never know how that can pan out.
James Walker (4:55 PM)
Everyone, thanks again for the time. Check out the AFC North blog to keep up with the latest off-season news in the division.