As free agency begins officially today the league had a legal tampering period that saw enough movement to put AFC East fans into a frenzy.
With countless trades as well as agreements in principle, with deals not becoming official until free agency starts at 4 pm EST today March 18, 2020. For the continuous updates on all things in free agency, click here!
The AFC East saw a tremendous amount of movement and roster building. So, let’s dive in and at least begin the process of seeing what’s next and put together some guesses as to what it means and how it changes the landscape of the division.
The Miami Dolphins entered as the team with the most needs as well as the highest amount of available cap space. They also put their money where their mouth was and was very active in signing pieces to help in the 2020 season and beyond.
The team bolstered the offensive line with an agreement with Miami native Ereck Flowers, the offensive tackle showed glimpses of solid play in 2019 and should be a nice addition to help in protecting the quarterback while being coached up by this staff. On the second day of the tampering period, the team addressed the running back position by bringing in Jordan Howard. This should be viewed as a positive, although he struggled during his time with the Eagles, he is a formidable weapon for the offense to use.
The team addressed the defensive side of the ball as well. First, the team found a corner to pair with Xavien Howard in Byron Jones. The former Cowboy found himself the odd man out with the Cowboys and will take his talents to South Florida. Jones is a great athlete and has shown some versatility to play both corner and safety in his time with the Cowboys.
The team also added veteran Shaq Lawson who was brought over from the Bills to provide an edge presence to a team that was sorely lacking one in 2019. Also to help on the edge with the defense, the team agreed to terms with Emmanuel Ogbah who helped the Chiefs in their Super Bowl run. In addition to the additions on the edge for the team, the team secured the services of Kyle Van Noy from the Patriots to further help establish a dominant identity on Defense for the team.
Also, the team added safety Clayton Fejedelem from the Bengals as well as linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill form the Eagles. They showed they are ready to be active and pursue the pieces they need to help improve the team.
Moving forward, the team still needs to address the quarterback position as well as continued work along the offensive line and at running back, although the Howard signing does help the position a lot. It would seem that quarterback, as well as the offensive line, will be pursued in the draft. As for running back, former Falcon, Devonta Freeman, and former Chargers Running back Melvin Gordon remain on the market and provide interesting options for the team moving forward.
The New England Patriots’ biggest move was a move that saw Tom Brady become an unrestricted free agent and leave the organization he has made his home for his entire career. Brady, as it would eventually play out, would take his talents to Florida and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They also resigned Devin McCourty whose leadership at safety and in the locker room will help the organization attempt to continue their winning ways. Also, the team resigned special teams ace Matthew Slater and placed the franchise tag on guard Joe Thuney to aid in protecting the team’s next quarterback.
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Quarterback remains the team’s most pressing need moving forward. Also needs at linebacker and tight end remain. For the team’s next signal-caller, Jameis Winston is the biggest name on the market currently, although the Carolina Panthers have informed Cam Newton that he could seek a trade, lastly with the Bengals expected to move on from Andy Dalton he could be another option for the Patriots. With only Jarrett Stidham and Cody Kessler on the roster at the position, the team could use the draft or seek to add a veteran to lead the team.
At linebacker, the team could pursue veterans like Mike Barron, Alex Ogletree, or Tahir Whitehead to name a few of the players still available to help continue what the team’s defense did during the 2019 season, they finished number 1 in total defense for the season. For the tight end position, the team could look to pursue veteran Eric Ebron as well as target the position in the draft.
The team that finished second in the division for the 2019 season, the Buffalo Bills, made a statement of its own in trading for standout receiver Stefon Diggs from the Vikings. The trade resulted in sending four total picks to the Vikings in return for the services of the young wideout to help Josh Allen’s development.
The Bills also agreed to terms with Mario Addison and Quinton Jefferson to help replace the presence of Lawson. They also agreed to terms with defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson and veteran corner Josh Norman. They also resigned guard Quinton Spain to continue his protection of Allen as well.
Moving forward, help on the offensive line, and cornerback remain. With the offensive line, the draft seems the likeliest option for help. As for the corner position, they have the draft, however, names like Eli Apple, Chris Harris Jr., Ronald Darby, and Xavier Rhodes all provide options for the Bills as they look to make their changes.
Lastly, we come to the New York Jets. The free agents the team reached agreements with are tackle George Fant, Guard Alex Lewis, and Center Connor McGovern. The three men should help protect quarterback Sam Darnold. However, the team still needs help at corner, as well as an edge presence and more help on the offensive line. The team will more than likely pursue players to help in the draft, however, there are countless free agents the team could pursue as well. As far as what they will do, it is the Jets, so who can predict?