The first major wave of free agency has come and gone with teams in the AFC East being very active. Coming into it, the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets were among the top teams with the most money able to spend. This week on the AFC East Roundup, we look at the major signings in the division as well as some implications for teams that decided not to re-sign certain players.
We start off with the Bills, who started free agency with major holes in the offensive line and needed upgrades at wide receiver. Well, they attacked it hard. They made Mitch Morse the highest-paid center in the league to protect Josh Allen for years to come and signed Cole Beasley and John Brown to add more speed for Allen to launch the ball. Even on defense, the team added a key piece in cornerback Kevin Johnson who can play a similar role to E.J. Gaines from a couple of seasons ago and Vontae Davis (who really only played a cameo role) last year. Buffalo knew their needs going into the offseason and wasted no time in trying to plug the holes.
Much like the Bills, the Jets had money to spend and wanted to give second-year quarterback Sam Darnold some weapons—and they achieved both. The big signing on offense was Le’Veon Bell who, yes, hasn’t played in a year but if he kept himself in shape can be a dangerous weapon for the team. On defense they also made a splash in linebacker C.J. Mosley on a big five-year deal. The Jets also added Jamison Crowder for Darnold to throw it to. After the first big wave of free agents, New York saw their Super Bowl odds increase greatly.
It was another typical offseason for the defending Super Bowl Champs as they are playing everything slowly. They re-signed a key piece in the secondary with Jason McCourty but they let big-time players go in Trey Flowers and Trenton Brown. The reason for this is all about getting those compensatory picks in next year’s draft and not wanting to dish out the big money if they do not feel the player absolutely deserves it. Free agency is not the time when New England looks to get into the headlines, rather it is in a couple weeks when they often seem to pick the right players in the draft.
Free agency has been rough for the Dolphins as it seems no one wants to sign there based on the news. Teddy Bridgewater looked like he would sign on to be their starting quarterback for 2019 but instead decided to go back to the New Orleans Saints to wait out Drew Brees’s final years in the league. Their big signing? Ryan Fitzpatrick who is a young 36-years old and appears to be the quarterback the team will go with for the season—while clearly looking ahead to 2020.