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Around the AFC North: Ben Roethlisberger Might Lose Another Bodyguard

Steelers G Alejandro Villanueva
Steelers G Alejandro Villanueva

Pittsburgh Steelers: Question Marks Surround Offensive Line

The Pittsburgh Steelers will have Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback for another season, but their offensive line could undergo a major overhaul.

Veteran left tackle Alejandro Villanueva is set to hit free agency Wednesday, after spending the past seven seasons in Pittsburgh.

Jeremy Fowler and Dan Graziano of ESPN reported Sunday that the Steelers have engaged in talks with Villanueva, hoping to keep him. However, the reduced league salary cap of $182.5 million will make it difficult , especially with Pittsburgh offensive tackle Zach Banner and guard Matt Feiler also set to become free agents.

Long-time Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey announced his retirement after the season, which was the first big offseason change on Pittsburgh's offensive line. Some pundits believe Pittsburgh should prioritize re-signing Banner and Feiler, and accept that they will lose Villanueva.

The Steelers have already addressed losing Pouncey by signing center B.J. Finney, who spent his first four NFL seasons in Pittsburgh.

However, it would not be surprising to see the Steelers take an offensive lineman with the 24th pick in the draft, trying to keep the 39-year-old Roethlisberger secure in the pocket while also improving a running attack that struggled last season. In his latest mock draft, Josh Edwards of has the Steelers taking Michigan offensive lineman Jalen Mayfield and ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. said he could envision Alabama center Landon Dickerson landing in Pittsburgh or Baltimore.

Cleveland Browns: Andrew Billings' Return in 2021 Could Boost Defensive Line

The Browns signed defensive tackle Andrew Billings to boost their front seven in 2020, but Billings has asthma and opted to sit out the season due to COVID-19 concerns.

With the Browns expected to lose starting defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi in free agency, Billings will have a chance to compete for a starting job next season. Billings made 37 starts with the Cincinnati Bengals from 2017-19 and has 80 tackles, 3.5 sacks and 12 quarterback hits during his three-year career.

Billings is still only 25 years old with plenty of upside, and the Browns hope lining up next to Myles Garrett will give Billings plenty of opportunities to make plays. Cleveland may also look to sign a pass rusher during free agency or draft another pass rusher to upgrade its front seven.

Cincinnati Bengals: Veteran Cornerback A.J. Bouye Set to Visit

The Bengals will reportedly visit with veteran cornerback A.J. Bouye, who spent last season with the Denver Broncos.

Bouye ranks No. 45 on's list of the top free agents. He has played for both the Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans, but Bouye only played seven games with Denver last season due to a shoulder injury and a violation of the league's performance-enhancing drug policy.

Bouye, who finished with 23 tackles and six passes defensed in 2020, served four games of his six-game suspension last year, meaning he won't be available for the first two games of 2021.

Bengals starting cornerback William Jackson III is a free agent who could be departing. Signing Bouye is a move the Bengals might make to upgrade their depth, or to offset Jackson's departure.

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