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2020 AFC East Free Agency: recapping the first wave

The AFC East has been very active so far.

Free agency isn’t even a week old yet but the AFC has put the rest of the league on notice that they are not to be taken for granted this year. With the Tom Brady news official of his departure from New England, the other three teams smell blood in the water and feel that the division can be theirs for the taking. Let’s recap all the moves the teams have made thus far.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills have made one of the bigger splashes in free agency, coming in the form of a trade. Buffalo got their true number-one receiver in trading for Stefon Diggs, formerly of the Minnesota Vikings, for a first-round pick and additional picks in 2020 and 2021. Diggs adds another weapon to a powerful offense for Josh Allen—and the passing numbers should sky rocket from last season. General manager Brandon Beane also took care of his own by extending safety Jordan Poyer two more years to be an anchor in the secondary. Other signings for the team include:

  • OLB Mario Addison
  • OLB A.J. Klein
  • DT Vernon Butler
  • DE Quinton Jefferson
  • ILB Tyler Matakevich
  • RB Taiwan Jones

Miami Dolphins

Heading into year two with head coach Brian Flories, the Dolphins took the opportunity to sign some impact players and improve the roster for the 2020 season. Miami showed they aren’t playing any games signing the now highest-paid cornerback in the league in Byron Jones. They also signed players they were used to facing in the division with Shaq Lawson and Kyle Van Noy coming to town. The team did sign running back Jordan Howard but it was clear their focus thus far was to improve a defense that gave up a whole lot of points last year. Other signings include:

  • OG Ereck Flowers
  • DE Emmanuel Ogbah
  • S Clayton Fejedelem
  • C Ted Karras
  • OLB Kamu Grugier-Hill

New York Jets

Fans in New York have been frustrated because the team hasn’t made any flashy moves in free agency this year. However, the Jets have made good signings that should benefit quarterback Sam Darnold in the long run. They bolstered the offensive line by signing George Fant and Connor McGovern. The team also added Brandon Shell to the mix. These players may not excite the fan base, but look at what a beefed up offensive line did for Josh Allen in Buffalo last season. At wide receiver the Jets can easily get an immediate impact player in the draft, which I expect them to do. Other signings include:

  • ILB Neville Hewitt
  • CB Maurice Canady

New England Patriots

Lastly, we have the Patriots who haven’t really done anything noteworthy in free agency. In fact they’ve lost more players (6) in free agency than they’ve signed (4) thus far. This could benefit them in the long run with compensatory picks in the draft but for now the team is taking a wait-and-see approach. New England did re-sign several key pieces of their roster, with wide receiver and special teams standout Matthew Slater and safety Devin McCourty returning on new contracts. The main thing they have to deal with now is replacing the legend that is Tom Brady. Other signings include:

  • WR Damiere Byrd
  • S Adrian Phillips
  • LB Brandon Copeland
  • QB Brian Hoyer