AFC Notes: Dolphins, Jets, Patriots


  • ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe doesn’t expect QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to be back with the Dolphins in 2021 and adds that if Fitzpatrick doesn’t retire, he could probably land a job as a bridge starter for another team. 
  • ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler talked to NFL executives to paint a full picture of the situation the Texans find themselves in with QB Deshaun Watson. The consensus from NFL executives is that Watson is worth at least three first-round picks and probably another high pick for good measure, Fowler says. The Jets and Dolphins, given their draft capital, are considered the leaders for Watson because of that.
  • According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the Dolphins will roll over approximately $15,229,375 in cap space to 2021, with the final amount pending an audit by the NFL. 
  • Regarding the Dolphins’ offensive coordinator position, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer mentions QB coach George Godsey is the one who stands out most to him, considering that he has an established relationship with Tua Tagovailoa and has worked with a number of young quarterbacks.


  • ESPN’s Adam Schefter says not to get any hopes up regarding a potential Jets trade for Texans QB Deshaun Watson.
  • ESPN’s Rich Cimini highlights S Marcus Maye as the Jets’ top pending free agent. New York has said they want to bring Maye back but they’ve said similar things about past players like S Jamal Adams and WR Robby Anderson who are now elsewhere. 
  • NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero reports the Jets pushed hard to hire Rich Scangarello as their QB coach but he ended up taking the same position with the 49ers. 
  • Former Jaguars LB Paul Posluszny was in touch with new Jets HC Robert Saleh about a role on the defensive staff but plans to finish grad school work at Carnegie Mellon for the time being. (Cimini)
  • Saleh confirmed new OL coach John Benton would also have the title of run game coordinator. (Brian Costello)
  • The Jets also announced five more hires on the defensive coaching staff, including DL coach Aaron Whitecotton, assistant DL coach Nate Ollie and defensive assistants Chip Vaughn, Ricky Manning Jr. and Hayes Pullard. (Twitter)
  • New York has expressed interest in adding veteran TE coach Ron Middleton to the offensive staff. (Peter Schrager)
  • Saleh says he plans to interview Jets ST coordinator Brant Boyer and DB coach Dennard Wilson to potentially stay on staff. (Costello)
  • Saleh praised Jets QB Sam Darnold in his introductory press conference: “He’s got an unbelievable arm talent. There’s a reason why he was the No. 3 pick in the draft. He’s fearless in the pocket. He’s mobile. He’s extremely intelligent. He’s tough as nails. You can see all those qualities on tape.” (Ralph Vacchiano)
  • However, he stopped short of committing to him as the team’s starter in 2021: “There are a lot of discussions that need to be had. To give you that answer right now would be a bit premature.” (Connor Hughes)
  • Saleh confirmed the Jets would be transitioning to a 4-3 defensive scheme. (Hughes)
  • Jets CEO Christopher Johnson said the organization is tweaking its structure, as Saleh will report to GM Joe Douglas who will report to Johnson. (Cimini)
  • Johnson added his brother, Woody Johnson, was flying back after his tenure as U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom and would resume his role as principal owner. However, the younger Johnson will continue to be heavily involved in the day-to-day operations of the team. (Hughes)


  • The Athletic’s Jeff Howe notes the Patriots will face a challenge this offseason of signing enough of their pending free agents to keep strong leadership and continuity, but not bringing back too many that they can’t improve from a mediocre season.
  • Howe says it’s unlikely New England will keep both G Joe Thuney and C David Andrews. Thuney has a shot to become the NFL’s highest-paid guard and Andrews can command around $10 million a year as a strong starting center.  
  • He adds the Patriots also face a lot of turnover on the defensive line potentially, with Deatrich Wise, Adam Butler, Lawrence Guy and John Simon all on expiring deals. Butler in particular could fetch $10 million or more per year in free agency. 
  • Howe thinks New England can bring back RB Rex Burkhead on a minimum deal closer to the start of the season due to his knee injury. The future of RB James White is more up in the air after a really rough 2020 season, though he suffered a lot of personal tragedy this year. 
  • Patriots CB Jason McCourty could also be brought back on a cheap deal if he’s still interested in playing, per Howe. 
  • ESPN’s Mike Reiss notes New England could place an extra premium on bringing back Andrews because he helps set protections, which will be a nice boost if they have a new starting quarterback. 

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