AFC East Needs

The season may be over but that doesn’t mean that the news and opinions run dry!  There may be no games to talk about anymore but there is the offseason and for many reasons, this could be an exciting one!  We’ve generally seen an increase in trades over the last couple of years – both when it comes to draft positions but also players and I don’t expect that to slow down this year.

Already we’ve had the coaching merry-go-round completed and now I want to take a look at the greatest players needs for each team as they head in to 2019 and begin making decisions around free agents and the draft, starting with the AFC East

Miami Dolphins

Might be easier to say what they don’t need!  They’ve got a new coach so that’s something.  There’s been rumours of the Dolphins being on a programme of tanking through 2019 (which would explain why Brian Flores has been given a five year guaranteed contract), and it wouldn’t be a bad idea given the talent of QBs likely to be available in 2020 rather than this year.  Increasingly it looks as though Ryan Tannehill is going to be released or else have to restructure his contract and accept less than $20m a year.  Chances are, a new quarterback comes in but expect it to be stop gap.

Cornerback is probably the only real position they don’t need that much help in.  Whilst both defensive and offensive lines have some good players there’s a significant lack of depth.  Kenyan Drake didn’t inspire at running back and whilst Frank Gore is going to the HoF, the fact that we’re talking about that points to his age more than his stats!  Devante Parker didn’t see much playing time last year and could be keen to look elsewhere and Danny Amedola only appears in the playoffs so we’re not likely to see him for as long as his tenure in Miami lasts.

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Buffalo Bills

Need to boost the offensive line as a priority.  They’re set with Josh Allen at quarterback but his highlights from 2018 were when he made runs forced by the line in front of him disintegrating.  With where the Bills lie in the draft I could see them trading down to get more picks to bolster the line as much as possible.  They could also look at free agency to bring in some veteran talent.  

As well as protecting Allen, they need to give him some more weapons to work with.  Wide receiver talent is lacking significantly and they could also do with a good tight end.  LeSean McCoy is looking like coming back for 2019 but he’s not the same player he once was and having a good passing option from the backfield could be another area of focus.

On defence, bolstering the line to put pressure on Tom Brady twice a year would be a good ploy.  The backfield isn’t great and could also use reinforcements.

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New York Jets

Like the Bills, they’re set at quarterback with Sam Darnold installed for the long term (unless he miraculously turns into Mark Sanchez!).  Also like the Bills, the needs are quite similar – offensive line, wide receiver and running back are all areas I would expect to see the Jets target in the offseason.  With Jamal Adams et al in the backfield though they’re set at safety and cornerback though if Buster Skrine and Morris Claiborne both leave in free agency they’ll need to bring in some more depth.

The pass rush does need help.  In recent years they’ve let Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson leave with only Leonard Williams remaining as a potential blue chip player.  Where they are in the draft could see them pick up a good pass rusher like Josh Allen out of Kentucky (though two Josh Allen’s in the same division might be too much), but they could also trade down for more picks – something they could use after the deal to move up last year to get Darnold.

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New England Patriots

Surely it doesn’t matter what they need, they’ve got the coaching staff to make anything work it seems!

Anyway, it’s no great secret that Tom Brady isn’t a spring chicken so bringing in a legit backup quarterback to groom to take over from old man Brady would be a good ploy.  No one really believes that Brian Hoyer is a long term replacement.  Trent Brown had a good season following his trade from San Francisco last year but is still debatable whether he’ll get a new contract – if he leaves then there’s a need at tackle again though last years first round pick Isaiah Wynn could step in after a year on the PUP list.

If Gronk retires a new tight end will also be needed.  Even if Gronk doesn’t retire, it would make sense to bring in a good pass catching tight end to compliment the passing game as Gronk is not as fit as he once was.  Speaking of the passing game, some more receivers for Brady to pass to who aren’t named ‘Julian Edelman’ would be nice.  Cordarelle Patterson, Chris Hogan and Phillip Dorsett are all free agents and I wouldn’t be shocked if all were to leave, with perhaps only Hogan in with a shot of staying.

With Malcom Brown and Danny Shelton also set to hit free agency, the middle of the defensive line will need some depth as well.  With Patrick Chung facing time away and the McCourtney twins contemplating retirement I would expect one or two new cornerbacks and another safety to come in.  

Lastly, kicker Stephen Gostowski’s contract has just finished.  Last time that happened, the Pats slapped a franchise tag on him before negotiating a new deal.  Gostowski hasn’t been as good as he once was so may also be jettisoned in which case a new kicker will be needed.

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Categories: draft, Free Agency, Reality

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