AFC East Notes: Bills, Dolphins, Jets, Patriots

     

Bills

  • Per the Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia, Bills HC Sean McDermott said giving second-round OL Cody Ford reps at guard was partially planned, partially due to injuries: “We’re just looking at some things there. Trying to put the best five on the field.” 

Dolphins

  • Per Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald, Dolphins HC Brian Flores says QB Josh Rosen has definitely improved in recent days, though the competition between him and Ryan Fitzpatrick to start continues: “I’ve seen a lot of improvement from a lot of guys. He’s one of them. But he’s still got a long way to go. By no means are we anointing him or crowning him.”
  • Flores said the team hopes to have S Reshad Jones back soon, though he wouldn’t commit to a return by Week 1, as he deals with a foot injury: “He’s doing everything possible to get back.” (Beasley)
  • Dolphins RB Mark Walton has pulled into the lead for the No. 3 running back slot, ahead of seventh-round rookie Myles Gaskin who’s on the fifth-team. (Joe Schad)
  • Dolphins OT Jordan Mills also got some first-team reps at right tackle for his “solid” play, per Flores, though the competition continues. (Schad)

Jets

Jets CB Darryl Roberts says he hasn’t heard all the analysis identifying the secondary as the weak link for the Jets this year. Currently slated to be the team’s No. 2 corner, Roberts says he feels like the team has his back and is confident in his ability this year. 

“I know I’ve been in the league, going into this year this is my fifth season, and I’ve played a lot of football,” Roberts said via Brian Costello of the New York Post. “One thing I know is a coach isn’t going to start someone he thinks is sorry. They have confidence in me to be able to start. I just have to come out and execute my job regardless of what anybody says.”

Center was seen as another weak spot for the Jets until the surprise signing of Ryan Kalil last week. The move pushes former starter Jonotthan Harrison to the bench, though he’s still expected to play a key role as a backup. 

“That’s one of those conversations that’s just not fun,” HC Adam Gase said via the Athletic’s Connor Hughes. “Joe (Douglas) grabbed him (Friday). I talked to him (Friday). (Offensive line coach) Frank (Pollack) talked to him. He is a true pro in the way he handled it, like he handles everything else: Just stoic and, ‘I’m going to keep working.’ That says something about who that guy is. He knows he’s just got to keep coming out here and doing his job. When his number’s called, he’s got to be ready.”

  • Hughes says the Jets have been rotating heavily at outside linebacker between Brandon Copeland, Harvey Langi and Frankie Luvu to try and find a consistent starter. 
  • According to Hughes, the Jets have been working fifth-round LB Blake Cashman in with the first-team to minimize how much LB Avery Williamson has to cover. 
  • Hughes says Williamson won’t be cut this year, as it would be a $10 million cap hit, but the Jets could save $6.5 million by moving on in 2020. 
  • The Jets held DL Leonard Williams out of practice with a hip irritation. (Costello)

Patriots

Patriots QB Tom Brady will play this season at the age of 42, which is something few passers in NFL history have ever done. Brady acknowledges that makes for some interesting situations given the unknowns, particularly as it relates to his contract and status with New England. 

“It’s a unique situation I’m in — 20th year with the same team, I’ll be 42 years old. So pretty much uncharted territory for everybody,” Brady said via ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “I’m going to go out there and do the best I can this year and see what happens.”

Despite reports of a two-year extension, Brady’s deal voids at the end of the 2019 league year and the team has agreed not to use the franchise tag on him. That means Brady could hit unrestricted free agency for the first time in his career in 2020 and heads into the season with as uncertain a future as any time since he was a rookie. 

“It is what it is. That’s a good line. Whoever said it; it’s very pertinent,” Brady said. “Like I said, there are a lot of guys who have one year left on their contract. So the situation — I have one year to go, we’ll see what happens.”

  • According to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, even though there’s a rule preventing two extensions in the same year that theoretically would force Brady to hit free agency next year, a source tells him the deal falls outside of that category and the two sides can execute a new deal if they want. 
  • Per Over the Cap, if the Patriots created $5.5 million in cap room and gave Brady an $8 million a raise for the year, then Brady likely received a signing bonus of $20.25 million. 
  • That would mean the Patriots would have a $13.5 million cap charge if they don’t re-sign Brady or he retires.
  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer writes that the Patriots may have cost themselves some money by giving Brady $5 million last year in incentives rather than straight salary. 
  • Breer says Brady has been known to remember stuff like that in negotiations, and his new deal is closer to the top of the quarterback market than some deals he’s signed in the past. 
  • Brady still has $1 million in per-game active roster bonuses in his deal. (Joel Corry)

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Russell Easterbrooks

Look for the Patriots to trade LB Roberts to the Lions for a 4th-5th pick in 2019 draft.