AFC Notes: Kyle Dugger, Michael Onwenu, Jaelan Phillips, Dolphins, Patriots


Dolphins OLB Jaelan Phillips was in the midst of a breakout season when a dreaded torn Achilles cut things short. Phillips doesn’t have a short injury history but he acknowledged he hasn’t faced anything quite like this. Still, he’s taking things in stride. 

“It’s definitely different,” Phillips said via David Furones of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “It’s something that’s kind of new to me because I’ve never had a lower-extremity injury like that — long term, at least. So it’s been cool, it’s been a new experience learning my body and figuring out what to do is best for me. So it’s been great.”


Patriots executive Eliot Wolf doesn’t have the title of general manager, but it’s becoming pretty clear he’s the one in charge of New England’s front office going forward. Wolf will get the chance to answer questions at the NFL Scouting Combine this week about his philosophy, but his background as the son of former Packers GM and Pro Football Hall of Famer Ron Wolf has likely influenced him to a great degree. 

“Of all the things I learned from [Ron], one of the biggest was ‘don’t hide your mistakes — admit it, fix it and move on.’ I’m sure Eliot will embrace a similar type of philosophy,” former Packers HC Mike Sherman said via ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “The other thing he would always talk about is the best available player, not necessarily what you might need. You may need something else, but it’s not based on needs, it’s based on ability. For the most part I think Ron Wolf did a good job of living by that.”

Former Packers executive and current social media commentator Andrew Brandt expanded on the philosophy he’d expect Wolf to lean on, though he’s already been immersed in the Patriots’ organization for the last few seasons. 

“I believed before, during and after [my tenure] in the Packer Way, which in simplest terms is ‘no quick fixes, slow and steady, trust your scouting, trust your board and almost mandate that your coaches play young players,'” Brandt said. “So it’s draft and develop, and then speaking to my end [as a negotiator], once you identify those core players, get them under extensions way before free agency.”


  • Doug Kyed of the Boston Herald says based on his conversation with a team source, the Patriots are weighing whether to use the franchise tag to keep either OL Michael Onwenu or S Kyle Dugger. It would cost $21 million to tag Onwenu and $17.1 million to tag Dugger. 
  • Kyed adds a tag for either player is a possibility but not necessarily a high likelihood. 
  • Aaron Wilson reports Patriots WR Kendrick Bourne is expected to hit free agency and test the market without a new deal. After suffering a torn ACL in October, Bourne is likely to be an unrestricted free agent without a new contract from New England.
  • ESPN’s Mike Reiss reports Bourne recently had a checkup with the team to gauge his recovery. He adds there have been no substantial contract talks yet. 

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