AFC East Notes: Bills, Jets, Patriots

     

Bills

  • The Athletic’s Matthew Fairburn writes that 2020 will be a prove-it season for Bills QB Josh Allen, as with new No. 1 WR Stefon Diggs, a solid offensive line and his third straight year under OC Brian Daboll, Allen has everything he should need to perform. 
  • Based on Buffalo’s offseason moves, bolstering the interior of the offensive line, Fairburn believes the team hopes to play 2019 second-round OL Cody Ford at right tackle instead of right guard. 
  • After not making any offseason additions at the position, Taron Johnson and Siran Neal seem like the top candidates for the Bills’ big nickel position. 
  • Fairburn lists Bills RB T.J. Yeldon, WR Robert Foster, QB Matt Barkley, WR Duke Williams and QB Davis Webb as players that got serious competition and could be pushed off the roster in the next year or so. 
  • As for Bills DE Trent Murphy, while Buffalo could save $8 million by releasing him before the start of the season, and did make a number of additions at defensive end this offseason, Fairburn writes that Murphy’s work ethic embodies what HC Sean McDermott is looking for, and that could secure a spot for him. 
  • Fairburn adds that Bills K Stephen Hauschka‘s job might be safer than initially thought after the team drafted K Tyler Bass in the sixth round. Bills GM Brandon Beane praised Hauschka’s accuracy inside of 50 yards but noted he struggled with longer kicks and kickoffs: “Last year Stephen wasn’t able to kick the 55 plus balls as much. But, we were happy with Stephen’s accuracy at 50 and in. Stephen is a proven guy. I extended Stephen a year ago and still believe in Stephen. He made some big kicks down the stretch.”
  • Bills DL Quinton Jefferson said he never really came close to re-signing with Seattle this year and chose Buffalo in part because of director of player personnel Dan Morgan, who previously worked for the Seahawks. (Sal Capaccio)

Jets

  • Jeremy Fowler reports that despite his neck injury, QB Joe Flacco can currently throw the ball and is hoping to be ready for contact by September. Flacco is not expected to be ready by week one but should be available for the Jets early in the regular season.
  • According to Manish Mehta, Flacco has been medically cleared to start throwing and will likely have the ability to participate in non-contact drills during training camp this summer.
  • Connor Hughes of The Athletic believes that the Jets should pursue free agent RG Larry Warford.
  • Hughes adds that the Jets still have an interest in CB Logan Ryan but GM Joe Douglas is unwilling to pay a player more than he believes they are worth.

Patriots

  • Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald thinks Patriots UDFA QB J’Mar Smith might have the edge for a spot on the practice squad for his ability to mimic mobile quarterbacks on the scout team. 
  • Guregian mentions Patriots 2019 third-round RB Damien Harris could push RB Rex Burkhead off the roster if he’s ready for a bigger role. 
  • Guregian has WR Damiere Byrd beating out Marqise Lee, Gunner Olszewski, Will Hastings and Jeff Thomas, among others, for a spot on the final roster. 
  • She expects Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo to battle for the third and final tight end position. LaCosse has experience on his side but the potential cap savings from a release work against him. 
  • With the new practice squad rules allowing for more players to be moved from the practice squad to active roster, especially if they’re offensive linemen, Guregian could see the Patriots trying to stash sixth-round rookie OL Michael Onwenu and Justin Herron on the practice squad.
  • Guregian adds Patriots OT Marcus Cannon could be in trouble with a bad camp as he has a $9.6 million cap hit. 
  • At defensive end, Guregian thinks Deatrich Wise, Derek Rivers, Tashawn Bower and rookie UDFA Nick Coe are battling for one spot. She gives the early edge to Wise but says to keep an eye on Coe. 
  • Key special teamers like LB Brandon King and S Terrance Brooks are also on the outside looking in, per Guregian. 
  • ESPN’s Mike Reiss mentions DL Bill Murray as the Patriots rookie who might be most likely to continue New England’s 16-year streak of having an undrafted free agent make the final roster. 
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