AFC Notes: Jets, Patriots, Steelers

     

Jets

Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.com spoke to an NFL agent who suggested that the Jets will have difficulty in luring free-agent receivers without a definitive answer at quarterback.

“It’s the first question they’re all going to ask, after they know the money,” said the agent. “Money is always going to matter most to some guys. But if it’s close, the Jets are going to have some tough questions to answer.”

Another agent told Vacchiano that he expects top receivers on the market to be dissuaded by the fact New York likely won’t identify their starting quarterback until the 2021 NFL Draft. 

Players don’t like uncertainty,” said the agent. “I would think those (top receivers) will want to know who their quarterback is going to be, not just for this year, but for the length of their new deal.”

  • Syracuse DB Trill Williams has met virtually with the Jets, and it is unclear what position he will play in the NFL as some teams like him as a safety and other teams see him as a cornerback. (Justin Melo)
  • Notre Dame TE Tommy Tremble has met virtually with the Jets. (Justin Melo)
  • Potential first-round Northwestern CB Greg Newsome has met with a host of teams virtually ahead of the draft, including the Jets. (Justin Melo)

Patriots

  • Doug Kyed of NESN believes the Patriots could turn into contenders again if they spend their $60 million cap space wisely. However, he feels it’d be unlikely to expect New England to compete for the AFC East division title if they come away with QBs Jacoby Brissett or Nick Foles as their next starting quarterback. 
  • When examining the top receiver free-agent targets for the Patriots, Doug Kyed of NESN mentions that Allen Robinson, Chris Godwin and Kenny Golladay will likely be franchise tagged, leaving JuJu Smith-Schuster, Will Fuller and Curtis Samuel as the best likely available options. 
  • At tight end, Kyed sees Rams TE Gerald Everett as the most likely candidate for the Patriots. 
  • Regarding Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore, Kyed believes he has a “50-50 shot” to be traded this offseason given he carries a $16.3 million cap figure for 2021 and would be costly to extend. While Kyed could see Gilmore being an extension candidate, he says it’s unlikely New England would sign him for more than two years. 
  • ESPN’s Mike Reiss noted how Patriots QB Cam Newton described WR N’Keal Harry as “battered.” Harry has struggled with injuries his first two seasons but the description made Reiss question if Harry is a good fit for New England’s machine-like culture. 
  • Reiss expects Patriots DT Adam Butler to sign elsewhere if he gets a full-time role and salary at $4 million or more a year. Butler recently told the Two-Minute Drill podcast that he plans to do what is best for him in free agency. 

Steelers

Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette takes a look at the Steelers’ upcoming free-agents and how the team could handle them this offseason. 

  • Dulac thinks DT Tyson Alualu‘s price should help him return. 
  • At cornerback, Dulac believes the Steelers must decide between Mike Hilton or Cam Sutton
  • Dulac writes that the Steelers could go “either way” with DE Chris Wormley after earning a one-year, $2.13 million salary last season. 
  • Dulac doesn’t expect LB Avery Williamson or S Jordan Dangerfield to be retained.
  • As for Steelers P Jordan Berry, Dulac could see Pittsburgh opting for practice squad P Corliss Waitman.  

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