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Around the AFC North: Browns Hope to Resolve Baker Mayfield Situation "Soon"

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) warms up before an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday, January 3, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Cleveland Browns: Decision Looming on Baker Mayfield's Future

Cleveland's controversial decision to trade for Deshaun Watson means Baker Mayfield is no longer the starting quarterback for the Browns. Mayfield wants out of Cleveland and the Browns plan to move him, but where he's headed next remains to be seen. Mayfield has a reported $18.858 million guaranteed contract for next season that could be making it more difficult to trade him.

Head Coach Kevin Stefanski was asked about Mayfield's status Monday at the NFL league meetings.

"It's a unique situation," Stefanski said via Kevin Seifert of "We've got to see how it plays out. I think of all of us would love an answer yesterday, but that's not the reality of it."

The NFL is investigating Watson for allegations of alleged sexual assault and misconduct and he could face a suspension even without facing criminal charges. Jacoby Brissett is the backup quarterback on Cleveland's roster and Stefanski said the team is already making contingency plans in case Watson is not available Week 1.

"That's something we've spoken about," Stefanski said. "Until we know that final answer -- we're speaking in hypotheticals right now -- but we've got to be ready whenever a decision is made, potentially to go with Jacoby, or not. So we'll wait and see what the league has."

Cincinnati Bengals: Zac Taylor Believes Hayden Hurst Could Play Key Role

Not only did the Bengals upgrade their offensive line during free agency, they acquired former Ravens tight end Hayden Hurst, who spent the past two seasons with the Atlanta Falcons.

Hurst signed a one-year deal with Cincinnati after catching 26 passes for 221 yards and three touchdowns with the Falcons in 2021. However, Hurst could be the starting tight end with the Bengals, who have explosive wide receivers Ja'Marr Chase, Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins drawing plenty of attention from defense. It'san opportunity to shine, and Head Coach Zac Taylor hopes Hurst takes advantage of it.

"We're really excited to have him," Taylor said via James Rapien of "We think that that's a great fit for us and a great fit for him. Just having watched his career over the last four years in Baltimore and Atlanta, he's a guy that the more research we did on him and really dug into it, we feel like that guy can be a real weapon and asset for us this year.

"We've got high expectations for Hayden to come in here. I think he's made of the right stuff and he's really gonna be able to help us at the tight end position."

Pittsburgh Steelers: Mike Tomlin Doesn't Want Overtime Rules to Change

Mike Tomlin isn't in favor of seeing the NFL's overtime rules change.

At the league meetings, teams will consider a proposal to have both teams possess the ball at least once in overtime. Another proposal would have both teams possess the ball once unless the team with the first possession in overtime successfully converts a two-point conversion after scoring a touchdown.

Tomlin doesn't like either proposed change.

"To be quite honest with you, I'm a sudden death advocate. I'm a traditionalist," Tomlin said via Teresa Varley of the team’s website. "I don't fear sudden death and I never have, but obviously, I lost that battle a decade ago. But my position remains unchanged. I am one of the few sudden death advocates I would imagine.

"I just think 60 minutes everybody has had a fair opportunity to win the game. When you're talking about changes as it pertains to competitive fairness, I speak to the first 60 minutes that we all had. So, win the game."

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