AFC Notes: Bills, Dolphins, Patriots


  • Alaina Getzenberg of ESPN lists veteran LB A.J. Klein and DT Star Lotulelei as two potential cap casualties for Buffalo this offseason.
  • The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia believes the Bills’ top priority this offseason should be re-signing DT Harrison Phillips after his breakout in 2021. 
  • Rather than outright cutting Lotulelei, which would incur minimal cap savings, Buscaglia thinks Buffalo should try to work out some sort of pay cut where they reduce Lotulelei’s $6.15 million base salary by a couple million and guarantee the rest. That gives the Bills some savings and gets Lotulelei more than he would get in theory if he were to be cut. 
  • Buscaglia expects the Bills to try to re-sign DT Justin Zimmer despite the 29-year-old’s torn ACL. If he rehabs well, he’ll have a chance to make the team. 
  • PFN’s Aaron Wilson reports the Bills are hiring Jaylon Finner as a defensive assistant. He was previously the safeties coach for Texas A&M – Commerce. 


49ers WR Deebo Samuel was one of 2021’s biggest breakout players, as he took a step forward not only as a receiver but as a versatile chess piece who was San Francisco’s most explosive running back as well. Behind the scenes, it was his work with former 49ers OC and new Dolphins HC Mike McDaniel that helped key that success.

The two would meet every Tuesday, a day the NFLPA has ensured players aren’t required to be in the facility, and go over aspects of the game plan. Before the season even began, McDaniel also set out a vision for Samuel that proved to be prescient for them both. 

“This past season, I had a talk with him in the offseason. I was meeting with Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo at 6 a.m. every day during training camp because we needed them to step up,” McDaniel said via NBC Sports’ Peter King. “I asked Deebo, ‘Are you the best player on the offense?’ He was like, ‘Yeah.’ I said, ‘The time is now. Do you really wanna be great? Greatness is hard. That’s why it’s great. It’s not easy. It’s a burden, really.’ …You know those days you feel like crap? Everybody else does too. Those are the days you’ve got to ask more of yourself, show more of yourself.

“Then I gave him a quote that he still says to me today. I said, ‘If you do that every day and stay healthy and take care of your body and all that extra leg work that the true great ones do, at the end of the season, you’ll be first-team all-pro and you’ll make me a head coach.”


  • ESPN’s Mike Reiss notes Patriots G Shaq Mason could become a cap-casualty this offseason as he’s due $10.1 million against the cap in 2022.
  • In addition to Mason, Reiss says WR N’Keal Harry and CB Joejuan Williams, the team’s top two draft picks in 2019, could also be on the move this offseason as both were trending down by the end of 2021.
  • Reiss adds the Patriots will likely look to extend CB J.C. Jackson this offseason, then add a legitimate wide receiver to help further develop QB Mac Jones.
  • Reiss also writes the team could look to address cornerback and linebacker early in the 2022 Draft, with the team missing on those positions, particularly linebacker, in recent drafts.

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