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AFC East Roundup: Catching up after the first wave of NFL free agency

The AFC East has been busy in free agency

New England Patriots v Buffalo Bills Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images

The first wave of the 2023 NFL free agency period has come and gone, and a lot of teams wasted no time in improving their roster for the upcoming season. The AFC East is no exception, with some new faces joining the division and other players staying in the division but switching uniforms. Let’s take a look at some of the key signings and departures.

For the Buffalo Bills, things got off to a rough start when linebacker Tremaine Edmunds departed Orchard Park, NY and the team that drafted him to sign a very lucrative contract with the Chicago Bears. While many believe Edmunds was paid too much, his loss will have a pronounced affect on the defense this coming season. However, good news came a couple of days later when safety Jordan Poyer re-signed with the team after many expected him to leave in free agency. Buffalo only lost one game last year when Poyer played. General manager Brandon Beane signed two sneaky wide receivers in Deonte Harty and Trent Sherfield, and both can be used all over the field and on special teams. Then on Monday evening, the team signed running back Damien Harris who had 15 rushing touchdowns two years ago before an injury-riddled 2022.

Switching over to Harris’ former team, the New England Patriots have had a great start to free agency. They signed new weapons on offense in wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and tight end Mike Gesicki. The team lost receiver Jakobi Meyers but Smith-Schuster and Gesicki should have no problem picking up the slack on offense. On the defensive side of the ball, the Patriots re-signed cornerback Jonathan Jones and safety Jabril Peppers. An x-factor signing for New England could be running back James Robinson who comes over after being traded to the New York Jets last season.

That brings us to the New York Jets, who’ve not done much of anything so far in free agency. The problem is that the Jets still seems to be in limbo regarding the status of quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Comments Rodgers made recently stated he expects to be a Jet this season but New York and Green Bay Packers have yet to come to an agreement on trade compensation. The Jets did sign wide receiver Allen Lazard, but not much else as they don’t truly know how much cap space they have available until the Rodgers deal is done. Special teams do matter so the team went out and signed punter Thomas Morstead from the Miami Dolphins.

And in South Beach we’ll end this installment. After trading for star cornerback Jalen Ramsey, the Dolphins have prioritized bringing back familiar faces in free agency. The team re-signed running backs Jeff Wilson, Myles Gaskins and Raheem Mostert. Each add their unique spin to the offense and are all useful tools in Mike McDaniel’s offense. Miami did go to a familiar face in the division to back up quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, signing Mike White, whose time in New Jersey didn’t pan out as most envisioned at points during the past two seasons.