AFC Notes: Bills, Jets, Patriots

     

Bills

Bills sixth-round K Tyler Bass really settled into his own as the season progressed and ended up having a terrific rookie season. He made 28-34 field goal attempts and 57 of 59 extra points, showing off the strong leg that drew Buffalo to him. What also set him apart to Bills HC Sean McDermott was the personality he displayed, and it’s part of why they felt comfortable spending a draft pick on him. 

“He really did a great job in his first season,” McDermott said in an interview on the Pat McAfee Show via USA Today’s Nick Wojton. “What I love about him is, he’s got the one piece of eye black underneath the eye, he’s got a little bit of swagger, he gives the flex after he has a big kick. Really, he did that in college. I was watching tape and Heath Farwell, our special teams coordinator, said ‘hey, this is the guy,’ and I saw the flex and I’m like ‘hey, rewind that’ because everybody wants a kicker that’s more than a kicker, he’s a football player. I think that’s what really endears him to his teammates.”

Jets

Jets QB Sam Darnold has had no relief from speculation that his job is in jeopardy for months. Even when New York won a few games to drop out of contention for the No. 1 pick and generational Clemson QB prospect Trevor Lawrence, he was soon replaced in the rumor mill with a possible trade for Texans QB Deshaun Watson. But Darnold still has some believers, including former teammate and Seahawks S Jamal Adams.

“Absolutely he can play,” Adams said on CBS Sports Radio’s “Tiki & Tierney” show. “Right now, he’s lost a lot of confidence. You get all this speculation [about] a new quarterback. [People] want Trevor [Lawrence], they want Deshaun — those things are definitely getting to him. And I know it is because he’s human at the end of the day.”

“Wherever he lands, he’s going to be fine,” Adams added. “I’m pulling for Sammy. I shot him a text the other day. He’s going to be fine, man. He’s going to get his confidence back, and he’s going to start ripping again.”

  • ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen report that once Carson Wentz is traded, it could help to set the asking price for other deals including one involving Darnold.
  • SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano reports the Jets do still legitimately like Darnold and value him, but they’ve made no decisions on whether they will stick with him or pursue other options, either at No. 2 overall in the draft or via trade. 
  • ESPN’s Rich Cimini notes that people who know GM Joe Douglas point out that the Super Bowl-winning teams he was on started Trent Dilfer, Joe Flacco and Nick Foles at quarterback, for what that’s worth.
  • Cimini also mentions he would expect Buccaneers OLB Shaquil Barrett to be too pricey for Douglas if he were to hit free agency.  

Patriots

A report that the Patriots were the one team QB Matthew Stafford would not accept a trade to predictably drew a strong reaction, both from New England fans and their many, many haters. Some used it to question Stafford’s toughness. But Stafford’s good friend, ESPN analyst and former QB Dan Orlovsky, pushed back on the way Stafford’s feelings were characterized. 

“First of all, Matthew’s one of my dear friends,” Orlovsky said on WEEI’s Dale & Keefe Show. “I talked to him about this whole process often. He never once mentioned anything in terms of not wanting to go to New England to me. He was very clear with what was going on and who the teams were that were involved. He certainly had preferred destinations, but never once, like even in joking, said, ‘I ain’t going to New England.’ So he never shared that information with me.”

  • ESPN’s Mike Reiss writes the Patriots will likely have more comfort rolling with a veteran as the starter as opposed to a rookie in 2021. He mentions Raiders QB Marcus Mariota as an option that they could pursue. 
  • He adds QB Cam Newton returning to New England also isn’t out of the question, as the thought is he could be a lot more effective if they’re able to improve his supporting cast. 
  • Reiss notes if the Patriots wanted to make a serious run at Saints QB Jameis Winston, who’s a free agent, they have the cap space to easily push the price out of New Orleans’ range. 
  • Other veteran options with extensive starting experience include Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, Colts QB Jacoby Brissett, Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky, Cowboys QB Andy Dalton and Chargers QB Tyrod Taylor.
  • Reiss mentions Matt Patricia is bringing research assistant Evan Rothstein with him to New England. Rothstein called plays on defense for the Lions one game this season after COVID-19 knocked out most of the defensive coaching staff. 
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