The AFC East noticed a seismic shift of energy happen in 2020. After a two-decade reign with Tom Brady below heart, the Patriots endured their worst season in latest reminiscence after their franchise icon left final offseason for the Buccaneers. That opened the window for the remainder of the division to seize ahold of this chance and run with it, which each the Payments and Dolphins did with various levels of success. Miami pushed for the postseason and confirmed that the Dolphins have been a group on the rise whereas Buffalo confirmed the Payments are able to contend within the right here and now, successful the AFC East for the primary time since 1995 and reaching the AFC title sport.
That now units the stage for what might find yourself being a somewhat important offseason because it pertains to the way forward for the division. Whereas the Payments and Dolphins appear to be trending within the optimistic course and easily seeking to proceed constructing towards what they hope is Tremendous Bowl competition, each the Jets and Patriots are in for a pivotal subsequent few months. New York has the third-most cap area within the NFL and a ton of draft capital — together with the No. 2 general decide — to place a rebuild into hyperspeed. In the meantime, the Patriots have the No. 15 decide and the fourth-most cap area, giving Invoice Belichick loads of choices to keep away from one other 7-9 season in 2021.
It is a fascinating time within the AFC East’s historical past and every group can have great stress heading into the offseason to both rebuild its roster from the bottom up or hold including to what’s already a promising group. Under, we will spotlight the wants for every of those 4 groups together with different key notes as they start this offseason.
Wants: EDGE, CB, OL, TE
Buffalo is on the doorstep of a Tremendous Bowl run and, in flip, would not have an incredible quantity of urgent wants on the roster. Josh Allen is solidified as an MVP-caliber quarterback, Stefon Diggs is likely one of the greatest receivers within the NFL and Tre’Davious White is an elite nook. One other 12 months of development ought to do that group a world of excellent. That mentioned, the Payments ought to look so as to add to their defensive entrance this offseason. If they can clear cap area, Yannick Ngakoue, Kawann Quick, and even J.J. Watt are choices to give attention to within the open market. Linebacker Matt Milano may additionally be a free agent price retaining. As for the offense, the O-line ought to take some focus with deal with Daryl Williams and guards Jon Feliciano and Brian Winters all taking a look at free company.
Draft place: No. 30 general. In our newest mock drafts, Ryan Wilson has the Payments taking Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Chris Trapasso has them deciding on Penn State tight finish Pat Freiermuth, and Josh Edwards sees them concentrating on Penn State edge rusher Jayson Oweh.
Projected cap area (by way of Spotrac): $3,869,343 (twentieth within the NFL)
Wants: RB, OT, LB, WR
There’s a ton of intrigue as to what the Dolphins could do on the quarterback place. They have already got Tua Tagovailoa in-house after deciding on him No. 5 general within the 2020 NFL Draft. That mentioned, he did not precisely impress over his rookie season and, with the likes of Deshaun Watson presumably available, they might be in for a significant splash. Outdoors of the quarterback place, the Dolphins ought to look to construct a extra steady ability place group. Whereas they’ve DeVante Parker and Preston Williams at receiver, they need to search for somebody who can stretch the sphere extra. Within the backfield, they’re in determined want of a legit again after averaging simply 3.9 yards per carry as a group in 2020. The offensive line improved marginally from 2019 however remains to be an space price addressing each within the draft and in free company.
Draft place: No. 3 general, No. 18 general. In our newest mock drafts, Ryan Wilson has the Dolphins taking Oregon offensive deal with Penei Sewell at No. 3 and Purdue receiver Rondale Moore at No. 18. As for Chris Trapasso, he mocks Miami buying and selling for Deshaun Watson by delivery the No. 3 decide, Tua Tagovailoa and a few 2022 alternatives to Houston. At No. 18, he has them taking Virginia Tech offensive lineman Christian Darrisaw. In the meantime, Josh Edwards has the Dolphins sliding again to No. 6 to pick out LSU receiver Ja’Marr Chase after which choose Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah at No. 18.
Projected cap area (by way of Spotrac): $35,628,922 (eighth-most within the NFL)
New England Patriots
Wants: QB, WR, LB, DT, OL, TE
Firstly, New England must zero in on a quarterback. Whether or not it is buying and selling for Jimmy Garoppolo or Marcus Mariota, drafting a younger signal-caller at No. 15 or a mix of each, that must be the primary shoe to drop. From there, Invoice Belichick wants to make use of his great quantity of cap area and deal with what might be the worst assortment of ability place gamers within the league. Julian Edelman is on his final leg and N’Keal Harry hasn’t lived as much as his first-round invoice, which factors to a whole rebuild on the receiver place. The Patriots might be out there for one of many higher-profile receivers in free company and may be taking a look at tight ends with Hunter Henry — a favourite of Belichick’s — hitting the open market. The Patriots will even must make some main selections alongside the offensive line with each Joe Thuney and David Andrews taking a look at free company. Defensively, the entrance seven wants a lift even when the membership will get Dont’a Hightower and different opt-outs again for 2021.
Draft place: No. 15 general. In our newest mock drafts, Ryan Wilson has the Patriots touchdown Alabama receiver Jaylen Waddle, whereas Chris Trapasso initiatives them taking Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. Josh Edwards factors to them taking Alabama nook Patrick Surtain II.
Projected cap area (by way of Spotrac): $68,667,937 (fourth-most within the NFL)
New York Jets
Wants: CB, S, WR, QB, RB, EDGE
Whereas the Jets have been the worst membership on this division, they do have essentially the most flexibility this offseason. Below new head coach Robert Saleh, the membership has an incredible quantity of each draft capital and cap area. Nevertheless, as a result of New York was so poor in 2020, there are loads of holes to fill. The No. 1 precedence is determining the quarterback scenario. In the event that they elect to maintain Sam Darnold, that opens the door to make use of all of these different property to construct a winner round him. If they’re wanting in direction of a reset, you progress on from Darnold, purchase property by way of commerce after which presumably use the No. 2 decide on BYU’s Zach Wilson or commerce for Deshaun Watson.
After the quarterback, the Jets must replenish the ability positions, particularly large receiver and operating again. They may get a participant for any of those top-flight pass-catching choices whereas searching for a stable again who would not break the financial institution like Le’Veon Bell did a couple of years in the past. On the defensive aspect, it’s going to be curious to see if Saleh’s repute can lure some notable names (Richard Sherman, Shaq Barrett, and so forth.).
Draft place: No. 2 general, No. 23 general. In our newest mock drafts, Ryan Wilson has New York going with BYU quarterback Zach Wilson at No. 2 after which Penn State edge rusher Jayson Oweh at No. 23. Chris Trapasso additionally has the Jets choosing Wilson at No. 2, however including Clemson operating again Travis Etienne at No. 23. Similarly to Trapasso, Edwards has the Jets going with Wilson at No. 2 and Etienne at No. 23.
Projected cap area (by way of Spotrac): $75,532,774 (third-most within the NFL)