AFC Notes: Bills, Jets, Patriots

     

Bills

  • The Athletic’s Matthew Fairburn writes that while the Bills don’t have the flexibility to be as splashy as they were last offseason, GM Brandon Beane specifically mentioned tight end as a place they want to upgrade. Fairburn notes Buffalo could go after Titans TE Jonnu Smith for a deal worth $8 million a year or so. Rams TE Gerald Everett is another option who would be cheaper, but less of a proven commodity. 
  • Fairburn notes the Bills could try to reshuffle their investments on the defensive line after splurging last offseason and it turning out to be a weakness in 2020. Giants DT Dalvin Tomlinson would be pricey but would go a long way toward reinforcing the run defense. Or perhaps the Bills go after Texans DL J.J. Watt in a slightly different role. 
  • Bills G Jon Feliciano will be one of the team’s top priorities to re-sign, but Fairburn points out he might want to test the open market to see if another team will offer more. 
  • If the Bills can’t re-sign OT Daryl Williams, Fairburn mentions Cody Ford and Ryan Bates as internal options at right tackle, with the offensive line taking greater prominence as a draft need. 
  • Fairburn mentions 49ers CB Richard Sherman and Colts CB Xavier Rhodes as potential targets at No. 2 corner for the Bills, as they’d be fits as both veterans and primarily zone corners. 
  • The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia notes that if the 2021 salary cap is on the higher end of projections at around $185 million instead of the $175 million floor, that could give the Bills enough room to put the franchise tag on LB Matt Milano. Otherwise, it sounds like he’s headed for free agency. 
  • Buscaglia expects the Bills to exercise LB Tremaine Edmunds‘ fifth-year option this May even though he struggled at times in 2020. 
  • While Bills LB Tyler Matakevich has a $3.7 million cap hit that’s hefty for a special teams-only player, Buscaglia notes they apparently love his fit with the unit and could find that worth it. 

Jets

  • ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler says the Jets are taking a look at Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster and Texans WR Will Fuller as potential free-agent additions, along with second-tier options like Colts RFA WR Zach Pascal and Raiders WR Nelson Agholor.
  • Fowler is also the latest person to connect the dots between the Jets and new HC Robert Saleh and 49ers CB Richard Sherman.
  • The Athletic’s Connor Hughes notes Bears WR Allen Robinson has hinted on social media he would like to play with the Jets. But money will ultimately be the biggest driving factor in all likelihood, and while the Jets are loaded with cap space, Robinson isn’t necessarily the most ideal scheme fit for their new Shanahan-style offense. 
  • Panthers WR Curtis Samuel is a much better fit with his speed and versatility but Hughes notes the Jets should be able to add both if they want. 
  • Other major splashes the Jets could make include going after Patriots G Joe Thuney and/or Steelers OLB Bud Dupree, per Hughes.
  • Hughes sees the Jets letting WR Breshad Perriman, OLB Jordan Jenkins, LB Neville Hewitt and potentially slot CB Brian Poole walk in free agency. 
  • The New York Jets announced that they have hired former NFL RB Leon Washington as a special teams assistant. 
  • Washington spent that last two years with the Detroit Lions as an offensive and special teams assistant. He was a part of the league’s Minority Coaching Assistantship program.

Patriots

  • Sources have told Jeff Howe of The Athletic that the Patriots are not a serious suitor in trade talks for Eagles QB Carson Wentz.
  • Howe mentions that it’s unclear what the Patriots’ best offer to G Joe Thuney has been but the two sides have never really been close on a long-term deal. New England tagged Thuney somewhat surprisingly last offseason and it would be an even bigger surprise if they tagged him again. 
  • Some targets the Patriots could lure in free agency with their abundance of cap space, per Howe, include Chargers TE Hunter Henry, Buccaneers LB Lavonte David, Giants DL Dalvin Tomlinson and Panthers WR Curtis Samuel.
  • Fansided’s Matt Verderame says that while Thuney is more likely than not to test the open market, a return is not out of the question. 
  • ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler says to keep an eye on the Patriots as a suitor for Titans WR Corey Davis in free agency. 
  • He also adds that Lions DE Romeo Okwara might be an option after the Patriots hired Matt Patricia to their staff, as Patricia had a big hand in helping him develop as a pass rusher the past few seasons. 
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