Ranking the Steelers among AFC North teams after free agency frenzy

Steelers, Orlando Brown
Steelers, Orlando Brown / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages
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1. Cincinnati Bengals

This one, to me, is a no-brainer. In fact, it's hard to make the case for anyone else at the top of the AFC North at this point in time. For two straight years, since Joe Burrow returned from his ACL injury, the Cincinnati Bengals have owned the AFC North. During this time, they have made it to the AFC Championship game twice and the Super Bowl once.

Unfortunately for Steelers fans, this team probably got even better during the 2023 offseason. In free agency, the Bengals lost S Jessie Bates, S Vonn Bell, and TE Hayden Hurst, among others. However, they made one of the biggest free agent signings in the league by adding former Chiefs left tackle, Orlando Brown Jr.

This was a no-nonsense move on their part and kudos to them for seeing a problem and going big to try to correct it. In addition to this move, the Bengals were able to retain four players who hit the market -- including LB Germaine Pratt and S Michael Thomas.

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The Bengals are still the team to beat in the AFC, and though they didn't have the strongest free agency, getting a big improvement at left tackle over Jonah Williams will help Burrow a lot. This is going to be a tough team for the Steelers to get past once again in 2023.