AFC Notes: Bills, Dolphins, Patriots

     

Bills

  • Joel Corry notes that $11 million of Bills WR Stefon Diggs’ $12,708,333 base salary for the 2021 season became fully guaranteed.
  • Buccaneers TE Rob Gronkowski confirmed he flirted with the Bills and some other teams in free agency but ultimately coming back to Tampa Bay was important to him: “There was a little extent to that … There were a couple other teams also. But just overall I wanted to be back with the Buccaneers organization. … I knew I wanted to come back.” (Ben Volin)
  • Bills OL Jon Feliciano signed a three-year, $14.4 million that includes $4.4 million guaranteed, and a $2.25 million signing bonus. He’ll make base salaries of $1.4 million (2021 guaranteed), $3.1 million (2022), and $3.1 million (2023). (Aaron Wilson)

Dolphins

  • NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero reports the Dolphins’ decision to move on so quickly from T Isaiah Wilson was due to him being hours late for his physical, being late for his onboarding process, and the fact that he did not show up for two planned workouts.
  • Dolphins’ LB Brennan Scarlett‘s one- year, $1.127 million deal includes $637,500 guaranteed, a $137,500 signing bonus, and a $990,000 base salary ($500,000 guaranteed). (Aaron Wilson)
  • Dolphins’ LB Duke Riley‘s one-year, $1.127 million contract includes $637,500 guaranteed, a $137,500 signing bonus, and a salary of $990,000 ($500,000 guaranteed) (Aaron Wilson)

Patriots

The Patriots acted dramatically out of character based on the past two decades when they went on a record-setting spending spree in the first couple days of free agency last week. Owner Robert Kraft acknowledged as much, even saying they used to laugh at other teams when they had the benefit of a Hall of Fame quarterback both recruiting and taking less than a market rate to help them build the roster. Times have changed and Kraft said New England is trying to change with them to avoid another 7-9 season. 

“It was very exciting,” Kraft said via Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. “Look, we want to win. We’re spoiled. We got used to winning all the time. And that’s our objective. It’s a very competitive sport, it’s all geared to having every team be 8–8 over a long balance of time, the way the draft is, the way we all have a salary cap. This was a unique year in the sense that the cap came down, and because we had so many players opt out last year, then have a non-continuation of the quarterback salary at the higher level, it created uniquely a big cap opportunity.

“It was a chance for us to recharge. We’ve never done anything like this in all the years I’ve owned the team. So what we did, as we were competing for new players, normally in free agency, you’ll have 10 or 12 teams going after it. Here, we had two or three. I just want to compliment our staff, our organization, Bill, all the scouting and personnel people, for a real team effort. Look, we’re not going to know till the fall — we always used to make fun of the people who won the headlines in March — but here I believe we really improved our team.”

  • Breer says New England specifically targeted WRs Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne, zeroing in on Agholor for his speed and seeing Bourne as the type of crafty wideout they usually have gravitated toward. 
  • According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, the Patriots attempted to trade for Bourne twice when he was with the 49ers. 
  • Bourne told reporters his Wes Welker, the WRs coach for the 49ers and former Patriots wideout, was a positive influence and helped convince him to sign with New England: “I learned a lot from that guy and the stories he gave me about New England.” (Karen Guregian)
  • Bourne was asked if QB Cam Newton was a draw for him to sign with New England. “It was awesome talking to him. Told him I’ve been a fan for a long time..I’m just excited to play with him. Told him I’ve been watching him since I was a young guy. It’s an honor to play with you.” (Michael Giardi)
  • David Andrews‘ four-year, $19 million deal with the Patriots includes $6.5 million guaranteed, a $1.5 million signing bonus, salaries of $1 million guaranteed, $4 million guaranteed, $4.5 million, $4.5 million, up to $500,000 in per-game active roster bonuses for 2021, $1 million in per-game active roster bonuses for 2022-24, and a $1 million playtime incentive for 2021-2022. (Aaron Wilson)

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