AFC Notes: Bills, Jets, Patriots



Arguably Buffalo’s biggest move this offseason was the trade for WR Stefon Diggs from the Vikings. The deal gave the Bills a bonafide No. 1 receiver for QB Josh Allen entering his third season. However, Allen says Diggs’ effect on the other members of Buffalo’s receiving corps shouldn’t be forgotten, and that with more attention diverted, Bills WRs John Brown and Cole Beasley should have even more room to operate. 

“I think this is going to give them an opportunity to have more chances to catch the ball,” Allen said on SiriusXM NFL Radio, via the Buffalo News. “They had career years and everybody talking about the addition of Stefon Diggs will hurt their value. I think it’s the other way around. John was a 1,000-yard receiver last year. Man-to-man, he’s extremely tough to cover. Cole, on the inside, if you put a nickel on him, he’s a tough cover in man-to-man. I appreciate what Brandon Beane has been doing by putting these guys around me. Now it’s up to us to go out on the field and execute and put the plan together.”


Despite the addition of RB Le’Veon Bell in free agency, the Jets running game floundered in 2019. Bell had one of the worst seasons of his career, averaging just 3.2 yards per carry on his way to 789 yards rushing. The debate the entire year was whether New York’s struggles were the product of a poor offensive line or Bell regressing after a year away from football. This offseason, the Jets made it a point to rebuild the offensive line, and one of its new members, C Connor McGovern, says it’s their job to help prove Bell hasn’t lost a step. 

“He’s a special player,” McGovern said via Ethan Greenberg of the team website. “He’s one of the greats and will go down as one of the greats, and I’m excited to have someone like that [in the backfield].”

“If you don’t make the perfect block, he’ll still make you look good and make something special happen,” McGovern added. “If you block for three yards and the play is supposed to get three yards, he’ll get seven or eight yards.”


While the football world was connecting the Patriots to every available quarterback, including Cam Newton, and while the organization was telling everyone who would listen how happy they were with the options on the roster, HC Bill Belichick was talking to those who know Newton best to ascertain how strong of a fit he would be in New England. His offensive coordinator for the past two seasons, Norv Turner, had glowing things to say. 

“My whole deal is, when Cam was healthy, and we were there with him [in 2018], we were 6–2,” Turner said via Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. “Just look at the tape—played his ass off. His issue was more health than anything else, and from what I understand, I don’t think these are health issues that he can’t overcome. He’s had the time off now. I think he’ll be great.”

  • Breer adds a source familiar with Belichick says tanking was never an option for the Patriots in 2020: “Bill was never punting on the season.”
  • ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports the Patriots and Newton talked a few times this offseason but things didn’t heat up until Thursday and Friday last week. 
  • According to the Athletic’s Jeff Howe, the Patriots have not guaranteed Newton anything in terms of the starting job and he’ll compete with 2019 fourth-round QB Jarrett Stidham and veteran QB Brian Hoyer
  • Howe says while the Patriots weren’t interested earlier this offseason, their stance changed when Newton’s contract requirements dropped. 
  • He adds the Patriots won’t have to make any cuts to fit Newton’s contract, especially if it’s a minimum base salary. 
  • Howe also notes it was implied the signing of Newton was not an indication that Stidham had been disappointing during virtual OTAs. 
  • Because Newton just played two games last year, most if not all of his incentives in his deal should be classified as not likely to be earned and won’t count against New England’s cap in 2020. (Pats Cap)
  • Any NTLBE incentives Newton hits this year will count against New England’s cap in 2021. As long as Newton doesn’t count more than $1.4 million against the 2020 cap, the Patriots won’t need to create space. 
  • Newton’s willingness to play on potentially a minimum deal is a large reason why the Patriots were willing/able to bring him in. (Mike Reiss)
  • Reiss adds Newton has to be seen as the leader for the starting job based on his past resume. 
  • Newton still needs to pass a physical but the Patriots are confident that won’t be an issue. (Mike Garafolo)
  • If Newton is healthy and starting, Garafolo confirms the Patriots will tailor the offense to Newton’s particular skillset. 
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Sean Condon
Sean Condon
6 months ago

I think it’s a great pick-up for the Patriots. If he starts, he brings a new dimension to the offense. Teams won’t be able to double team the receivers and wait for Brady to throw. They have a veteran running game, a strong defense, and the receivers are a little weak, but hopefully someone will step-up after Edelman and Sanu. A bonus is Newton and Stidham or similar quarterbacks. Even if he’s the #2 Newton will be able to help him with different parts of his game. Sitting behind Brady last year and playing with Newton this year, are pretty… Read more »