After the first week of the NFL’s Free Agency period, let’s breakdown the moves that were made and how the AFC North shapes up pre-draft for the 2020-21 season.
– Buffalo Bills (2019-20 Record: 10-6 / 2nd in Division) –
Gained: Edge- Mario Addison, DT- Vernon Butler, WR- Stefon Diggs, CB- E.J. Gaines, DE- Quinton Jefferson, CB- Josh Norman, OL- Daryl Williams
Lost: RB- Frank Gore, DT- Corey Liuget, DT- Jordan Phillips, DE- Shaq Lawson, OLB- Lorenzo Alexander, CB- Kevin Johnson, S- Kurt Coleman
Entering the first week of free agency, the Buffalo Bills were top 5 in cap space available, and boy did the spend it wisely. They added Vikings stud receiver Stefon Diggs to pair with John Brown, Devin Singletary, and Cole Beasley, improving the already young and impressive core offense. Additionally, they beefed up their already above average defense by adding Mario Addison, Vernon Butler, and Quinton Jefferson on the line and Josh Norman / E.J. Gaines in the secondary. Very solid moves for a very solid team moving forward.
The underlying fact that makes Bills fans excited is that with Tom Brady headed down to Tampa, the AFC North is finally wide open for the first time in literally twenty years. While Buffalo aren’t currently the favorites (New England is +125), they are a close second at +140 odds. Vegas thinks that both teams will approach the double digit win mark even with Brady gone, but if you have a hunch and want to ride the Bills, I’d highly suggest jumping on that train now.
"Stefon Diggs, John Brown and Cole Beasley now form an impressive Big 3 that should allow Josh Allen plenty of opportunity to take the next step as a passer."
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) March 25, 2020
– Miami Dolphins (2019-20 Record: 5-11 / 4th in Division) –
Gained: OT- Ereck Flowers, LB- Kamu Grugier-Hill, RB- Jordan Howard, CB- Byron Jones, OL- Ted Karras, Edge- Shaq Lawson, Edge- Emmanuel Ogbah, LB- Elandon Roberts, LB- Kyle Van Noy
Lost: TE- Clive Walford, OT- J’Marcus Webb, OL- Evan Boehm, S- Reshad Jones
This offseason been nothing short of impressive for the Miami Dolphins. Miami is one of the top free agency destinations in the country, there’s no state tax for players, and the weather is almost always incredible. With the most cap space in the league, the Dolphins were able to pick up a ton of free agents over the last few weeks. This may not be a hot take now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a playoff run out of Miami in the next two to three seasons.
The Dolphins dumped all of their bad contracts before the end of the 2019 season and weren’t forced to make any major free agency cuts. They do however end up parting with Reshad Jones, who would’ve cost an additional $15.6 million to stay on this year’s roster. On the flip side, they bulked up the defense by signing several Patriots (LB- Elandon Roberts, OLB- Kyle Van Noy) along with edge rushers Shaq Lawson and Emmanuel Ogbah. Miami’s team is starting to look legit, we’ll see if it pans out this season in a weaker division.
Dolphins are going ALL-OUT in free agency so far:
Byron Jones ? 5 years, $82.5M
Kyle Van Noy ? 4 years, $51M
Ereck Flowers ? 3 years, $30M
Shaq Lawson ? 3 years, $30M
Emmanuel Ogbah ? 2 years, $15M pic.twitter.com/IevPxxnUOR
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) March 17, 2020
– New England Patriots (2019-20 Record: 12-4/ 1st in Division) –
Gained: DT- Beau Allen, WR- Damiere Byrd, QB- Bryan Hoyer, S- Adrian Phillips, FB- Danny Vitale
Lost: QB- Tom Brady, WR- Phillip Dorsett, TE- Ben Watson, OL- Ted Karras, DT- Danny Shelton, LB- Elandon Roberts, OLB- Jamie Collins, OLB- Kyle Van Noy, S- Duron Harmon, K- Stephen Gostkowski
It is the end of a 20-year dynasty for the New England Patriots. Tom Brady is gone, Stephen Gostkowski is gone, Gronk is not coming out of retirement, and the Patriots are letting half their team walk this offseason. While they decided to keep safety Devin McCourty, much of the elite defense we saw for the majority of last season have been shipped out all over the country (some even to in division rival Miami). Guard Joe Thuney was franchise-tagged, but not much was done to improve the offense outside of signing Damiere Byrd, Danny Vitale, and former Pats QB Brian Hoyer.
Belichick must have some tricks up his sleeve left, as he’s going to need to pull them out soon and get them on this roster. The 2020 season is the first time in a LONG time that there is balance in the AFC East.
Tom Brady and Stephen Gostkowski had been the Patriots' two longest-tenured players. Now, they're both gone.
— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) March 23, 2020
– New York Jets (2019-20 Record: 7-9 / 3rd in Division) –
Gained: OL- Josh Andrews, CB- Pierre Desir, T- George Fant, Edge- Jordan Jenkins, C- Connor McGovern, LB- Patrick Onwuasor, WR- Breshad Perriman, OL- Greg Van Roten
Lost: QB- Trevor Siemian, WR- Robby Anderson, WR- Demaryius Thomas, OT- Ryan Kalil, OT- Kelvin Beachum, LB- Brandon Copeland, CB- Darryl Roberts, CB- Maurice Canady
While I want to have hope in the Jets, they’ve done so little with so much cap space. Breshad Perriman did replace Robby Anderson in the last few weeks, but outside of that, they seem to swapping band-aids when they could attempt to sign some key free agents. New York is not a trade destination by any means, and with Adam Gase and current management in place, players just do not want to go play with Darnold, Bell, and co.
It looks like Miami may beat out New York for the 3rd overall place in the division this season, and that will not sit well in the Big Apple. It looks like the trend of poor management in New York continues to haunt the existing professional teams.
— NYJ Matt (@NYJ_Matt) March 16, 2020