AFC Notes: Bills, Dolphins, Jets, Patriots

     

Bills

  • According to the Athletic’s Matthew Fairburn, the Bills weren’t willing to come up and match what DL J.J. Watt got in his offer from the Cardinals, and their offer was much lower. 
  • Fairburn says between Watt’s injury history and a perceived decline in his level of play the past two seasons, the Bills felt a multi-year deal at that number was too big a risk. 
  • The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia writes that Bills DL Quinton Jefferson is an easy cut given the cap savings and the fact he never really settled into a role last year. 
  • Buscaglia adds that while DT Vernon Butler has also been speculated as a cut, he thinks Butler played well enough to stay unless Buffalo needs to free up space for a major addition. 

Dolphins

  • ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe says to keep an eye on Raiders QB Marcus Mariota as a new backup for Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa if he’s released by Las Vegas. 
  • He adds he would be surprised if the Dolphins don’t come away from this offseason with a new feature back, whether it’s landing Packers RB Aaron Jones or pairing a rookie with someone like Chiefs RB Le’Veon Bell or Buccaneers RB Leonard Fournette
  • Wolfe notes that adding a free-agent wide receiver with some speed is a priority for the Dolphins, and he highlights Texans WR Will Fuller, Colts WR T.Y. Hilton, Panthers WR Curtis Samuel and Raiders WR Nelson Agholor as some potential fits. 
  • Linebacker is another position Wolfe highlights as one the Dolphins will want to address, with some free-agent options including Buccaneers LB Lavonte David, Titans LB Jayon Brown and Jets LB Neville Hewitt.
  • The Dolphins are pretty solid at safety, but Wolfe points out the coming free agent class is tremendous at that position. Guys like Saints S Marcus Williams and Rams S John Johnson would be major upgrades and Wolfe mentions Miami could be interested in lower-tier options like Lions S Duron Harmon or Colts S Malik Hooker.
  • Dolphins LB Kyle Van Noy‘s base salary of $12.5 million becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the 2021 league year, which is why it looks like Miami is set to move on. (Doug Kyed)
  • Miami apparently never approached Van Noy about restructuring his deal and intend to simply cut bait via a trade or release. (Barry Jackson)
  • However, another report indicates Miami asked Van Noy to take a pay cut. (Wolfe)

Jets

  • ESPN’s Rich Cimini thinks the Jets will swap out backup QB Joe Flacco for 49ers QB C.J. Beathard in free agency since the latter is a better scheme fit for the new offense. 
  • After the fiasco with Le’Veon Bell, Cimini doubts the Jets make a major financial investment at the position, especially because the Shanahan-style offense new OC Mike LaFleur is implementing has a history of getting a lot of production out of unheralded options. The plan could be to draft someone to complement and compete with current RBs La’Mical Perine and Ty Johnson.
  • Jets GM Joe Douglas has established a reputation as being somewhat thrifty, so Cimini notes he might be more likely to pursue players like 49ers WR Kendrick Bourne or Raiders WR Nelson Agholor than the top of the market options in free agency. 
  • For a similar reason, Cimini points out the Jets might prioritize their need at edge rusher in the draft over free agency, especially since they have three of the first 34 picks. 
  • Cimini confirms the franchise tag is definitely in play for Jets S Marcus Maye and it could be an attractive alternative for both sides if the cap rebounds in 2022. 

Patriots

  • NFL Media’s Michael Giardi said he heard from talking with teammates and people inside the building that Patriots QB Cam Newton was put in an untenable situation in 2020 by joining the team late and needing to play catch-up with everything. 
  • Some players thought OC Josh McDaniels struggled to integrate his offense with Newton’s strengths, adding it looked like the same offense Tom Brady ran but with more quarterback runs mixed in. 
  • Others thought McDaniels went out of his way to make Newton comfortable and did a good job all things considered. 
  • As a whole, Giardi’s sources scoffed at the idea that all the blame for the Patriots’ struggles on offense in 2020 fell at Newton’s feet, with many believing the progress he made over the season deserved to be seen as impressive. 
  • Per NESN’s Doug Kyed, a source says “everything is on the table” regarding a potential reunion between Dolphins LB Kyle Van Noy and the Patriots. Miami apparently intends to trade or cut Van Noy. 

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