AFC Notes: Broncos, Jets, Patriots



  • Connor Hughes of The Athletic notes that the Jets cannot focus primarily on adding weapons for QB Zach Wilson in the offseason as they need help in all areas of the defense. 
  • Hughes adds that the Jets could focus more on drafting a receiver or pass-rusher should they sign a big-name free agent such as Patriots CB J.C. Jackson to help them in the defensive backfield.
  • As for the upcoming draft, Hughes believes the offensive tackle class to be rich in talent but doesn’t see any of the receivers living up to the impact that Eagles WR DeVonta Smith or Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase has had this season.
  • There are plenty of receiving options that the Jets could target in free agency, according to Hughes, including WR Michael Gallup, WR Mike Williams, WR Allen Robinson, TE Mike Gesicki, TE Dalton Schultz, TE O.J Howard, and TE David Njoku.
  • As for help on the offensive line, Hughes points out that adding Washington G Brandon Scherff would be huge for the team, as would the potential addition of 49ers G Laken Tomlinson
  • When it comes to current Jets players who may end up as cap casualties, Hughes points to DE Shaq Lawson, G Greg Van Roten, and TE Ryan Griffin as the most obvious candidates. He also believes that the team could let go of T George Fant, C Connor McGovern, and DT Sheldon Rankins if they find replacements during the draft.


The Patriots spent a lot of money overhauling the tight end position this offseason, including signing TE Jonnu Smith, So far, though, Smith hasn’t made much of an impact. With just two games left this season, Smith has only 27 catches for 274 yards and a touchdown. Patriots OC Josh McDaniels says it’s incumbent on him to get Smith more involved. 

“Sometimes when the game gets out of hand, you don’t really get to call everything you’d like to call in the game the way you’d like to call it,” McDaniels said via NESN’s Zack Cox. “And there’s certain things, certain aspects of your game, that become less productive when you’re behind and when you’re behind by multiple scores. That can become challenging because the defense doesn’t necessarily allow you to do those things when they’re in a different mindset of pass rush or what have you.

“No, there’s no question about that: He’s a player that can do some things with the ball in his hands. We know that. Very talented guy, works really hard. I’ve got to do better to get him the ball.”

  • CBS Sports analyst and former agent Joel Corry believes Patriots CB J.C. Jackson is a strong franchise tag candidate this offseason. The tag will be $17.287 million for cornerbacks.
  • Patriots RB Brandon Bolden revealed that he battled cancer in 2018. Bolden was diagnosed after the Patriots-Eagles Super Bowl. He has been cancer-free since his surgery. (Zack Cox)

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