QB Ryan Mallett to Browns Is Lastest Rumor to Surface and More AFC North News

Andrea HangstFeatured Columnist IVDecember 21, 2012

SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 14:  Quarterback Ryan Mallett #15 of the New England Patriots warms up prior to the game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on October 14, 2012 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

With the Cleveland Browns changing ownership, CEO and president in the past few months, there has understandably been no shortage of rumors surrounding the team. From who may or may not stick in the coaching staff and the front office, to who may replace them and everything in between—speculation has been running wild, especially now that the season is nearly over.

The latest rumor swirling about comes courtesy of Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland, who reports the Browns may have interest in New England Patriots backup quarterback Ryan Mallett.

Grossi comes into this information via two channels—the first, the ubiquitous "source" that started this all, and the second, the adjoining rumor that the Browns are interested in Michael Lombardi to take over the general manager job.

Lombardi is connected to Bill Belichick, the current Patriots head coach, thanks to the time the two both spent in Cleveland before the franchise was moved to Baltimore.

At this point, anything and nothing is possible for the Browns. Rumors are just that, though I wouldn't be surprised if the Browns do bring in someone under center to challenge Brandon Weeden for the starting job next season.


Baltimore Ravens

Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun reports that Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who is set to be an unrestricted free agent after the close of this season, isn't worried about getting a new contract from the Ravens—though he may just play out the 2013 season on the franchise tag.

The playoffs have yet to begin, but Shawn Brubaker of Bleacher Report is looking to the future, with his first seven-round Ravens mock draft of the season.


Cincinnati Bengals

Though the final Pro Bowl announcement won't come until December 26, Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green leads the fan vote for AFC receivers this year.

Current NFL analyst and former Bengals wide receiver Cris Collinsworth joins Bleacher Report to answer the question, "Will the Cincinnati Bengals make the playoffs?"


Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns don't appear to be on their way to a Pro Bowl shutout, with Jodie Valade of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reporting that return man Josh Cribbs leads the AFC fan vote for special teams and kicker Phil Dawson is in second place at his position.

Timothy Tripp of Bleacher Report breaks down why present Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden can still be the team's quarterback of the future.


Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had some critical words for offensive coordinator Todd Haley after last week's loss to the Dallas Cowboys, but as Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has reported, he's since apologized. The comments didn't faze Haley at all, according to the Post-Gazette's Ray Fittipaldo, who also referred to Roethlisberger as "elite" on Thursday.

Bleacher Report's Nick DeWitt breaks down the keys to a Steelers defeat of the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, which will earn them a playoff berth.