AFC Notes: Bills, Dolphins, Jets

     

Bills

Bills GM Brandon Beane said there’s a chance they don’t get a deal done with QB Josh Allen this year, which is the first year he’s eligible to get one. One of the factors there is that Beane isn’t sure the cap in 2022 is going to fully recover from the effects of the pandemic even if others are bullish on that point. 

“If you’re on the same page on that, it helps you get it done quicker,” Beane said via the Athletic’s Matthew Fairburn. “Sometimes you’re feeling like the cap is going to go up eight percent and they’re hearing it’s going to go up 15 percent. Well that’s a big difference. They’re pressing for more dollars and you’re worried, ‘Well if I do that, I’m not going to be able to sign any other players. I may even have to cut players.’ That will all be part of the negotiation.” 

Beane acknowledged that’s going to affect their draft plans as well, as they’re already looking ahead to next year at players they could potentially have to let go to save money. 

“We do have to look at what’s coming down the pipe as far as guys that are going to be free agents next year or are their players that are going to have a high cap number that we may have to make a tough decision on depending on where the cap goes,” Beane said. “We’ve got to be smart with these picks. Finding as many guys — cheap labor, if you want to call it, I use that term loosely because player salaries aren’t cheap — but in comparison to what you would be paying a franchise quarterback or what we’re paying Tre’Davious [White] and Stef [Diggs] and all those guys, we’ve got to find some guys on the lower end, because you’ve still got to fill the team and you’ve got to find enough guys to line up and start for you.”

  • The Bills have explored the idea of adding a “big nickel” as a safety-linebacker hybrid in recent years but Beane notes they’ve cooled somewhat on the idea: “It’s one of those if you have the player on there the coaches will use it, but it’s not something we’ve gotta have for this defense, I guess is the best way to say it.” 

Dolphins

  • According to Barry Jackson, the Dolphins have had virtual meetings with Alabama RB Najee Harris, Clemson RB Travis Etienne, and North Caroline RB Javonte Williams. He also said it would be surprising if Miami didn’t take a running back win the first two rounds.
  • Jackson also mentioned that the Dolphins spent time with Harris at the Senior Bowl along with the virtual meetings.
  • The Dolphins are interested in drafting a young center to develop behind free-agent addition Matt Skura and to compete with converted G Michael Deiter, per Jackson.
  • Jackson highlights Georgia’s Trey Hill as someone the Dolphins like and could take on Day 3. 
  • According to Tony Pauline, the Dolphins might take Florida TE Kyle Pitts if he’s available at pick No. 6: I’m told the Dolphins are very confident in where they are right now because they’ll get Kyle Pitts, or one of the talented WRs. If they stand pat, it’s looking like the pick will be Pitts.”
  • Pauline also said he thinks the Dolphins will take a pass rusher with the No. 18 pick: “My sense from talking to people is that it’s probably not going to be Najee Harris at #18 – look for the Dolphins to take a pass-rusher at 18: (Michigan DE) Kwity Paye, (Georgia OLB) Azeez Ojulari.”
  • If the Dolphins take a pass rusher at No. 18, Pauline doesn’t think it will be Miami DE Gregory Rousseau.
  • Pauline mentioned he doesn’t think the Dolphins will consider taking Alabama WR DeVonta Smith: “Someone close to the organization said to me ‘when push comes to shove, we don’t know if (Dolphins GM) Chris Grier is going to draft a WR that’s under 170 lbs.”

Jets

  • The Athletic’s Connor Hughes believes the Jets “have to” address guard with either their second first-round pick or their first pick in the second round, as if they’re serious about giving presumed No. 2 overall QB Zach Wilson a better supporting cast than his predecessor, they can’t go into 2021 with Alex Lewis and Greg Van Roten starting again. 
  • Hughes thinks the Jets wouldn’t consider Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley until the second round and would prefer Northwestern CB Greg Newsome over him at No. 23 due to medical concerns over Farley’s back. 
  • Hughes mentions some coaches last year thought fourth-round OL Cameron Clark was a bust after he struggled mightily in training camp. But he improved after he returned from injury on the scout team and Hughes says he’ll have the opportunity to compete for a starting role. 
  • Former Jets CB Brian Poole is a candidate to re-sign with the team after the draft if they don’t add a slot corner, per Hughes. He adds LB Neville Hewitt is less likely as he’s not as good of a scheme fit.  
  • Hughes lists other cornerbacks available in free agency that the Jets could target including Richard Sherman, Steven Nelson, and Bashaud Breeland
  • Hughes expects the Jets to start contract talks with QB Brian Hoyer after the draft to come in as a mentor and backup. 

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