Top storylines to watch in the AFC East

Posted Feb 9, 2018

The AFC East has seen a lot of shuffling among the coaching staffs so far this offseason. There could also be some marquee player moves due to cap constraints or free agency. Here’s an early look at what each team has done and what’s on their respective to-do lists.

Buffalo Bills
What will Sean McDermott do for an encore?
Buffalo’s first-year head coach helped vanquish the playoff drought demons for the Bills fan base in 2017, but there are a lot of holes to fill and areas to improve to keep the team on an upward trajectory.

Coaching changes: Buffalo hired Brian Daboll as their new offensive coordinator and John Butler as their new secondary coach. They also promoted Bill Teerlinck to defensive line coach after the retirement of Mike Waufle. Aaron Whitecotton was promoted to Teerlinck’s previous position of assistant defensive line coach.

Notable potential free agents: LB Preston Brown, RB Travaris Cadet, CB E.J. Gaines, LB Ramon Humber, WR Jordan Matthews, DT Kyle Williams.

Potential draft needs: Buffalo will be looking to make additions to their front seven on defense and adding depth to their offensive line and at running back. The Bills are also expected to look for a future franchise caliber player at quarterback.


Miami Dolphins
Will the Dolphins keep Jarvis Landry?
The receiver who logged more catches in his first four seasons than any receiver in league history is set to become a free agent. Contract negotiations are underway on a long-term deal, but may not reach a conclusion any time soon. That could force Miami to make use of the franchise or transition tag.

Coaching changes: The Dolphins hired Dowell Loggains as their new offensive coordinator and Jeremiah Washburn as their new offensive line coach. Three other assistants were re-assigned to new roles and three more were fired.

Notable potential free agents: QB Jay Cutler, TE Anthony Fasano, DE William Hayes, WR Jarvis Landry, K Cody Parkey, RB Damien Williams.

Potential draft needs: Miami needs a starter at tight end and linebacker. They also need to find a future starter at defensive end with Cameron Wake now 36-years old. Depth in the secondary and the offensive line are also on the to-do list.


New England Patriots
Can New England maintain their level of success?
The Patriots lost a key member of their coaching staff and a handful of their key contributors on offense are set to become free agents. Is the window of dominance in the AFC beginning to close for New England?

Coaching changes: Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia left to become the new head coach of the Detroit Lions. As of publish time, New England had yet to name a successor, though linebackers coach Brian Flores is reportedly a favorite to assume the position.

Notable potential free agents: WR Danny Amendola, CB Malcolm Butler, RB Rex Burkhead, OT Cameron Fleming, RB Dion Lewis, OT Nate Solder.

Potential draft needs: The Patriots are desperate to add athletes to the defensive side of the ball, which struggled against offenses that possessed good overall speed. New England needs a starting offensive tackle and running back help with starters at those positions among their impending free agents.

New York Jets

Headline: Will the Jets take a quarterback with the sixth pick?
New York has drafted a quarterback in two of the last three drafts, but many expect them to go to the well again with veteran Josh McCown a free agent and Christian Hackenburg not demonstrating enough progress.

Coaching changes: Head coach Todd Bowles fired offensive coordinator John Morton and offensive line coach Steve Marshall. The Jets promoted quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates to offensive coordinator and hired Rick Dennison as a running game coordinator.

Notable potential free agents: K Chandler Catanzaro, LB Demario Davis, G Dakota Dozier, DE Kony Ealy, QB Josh McCown, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins.

Potential draft needs: New York could very well take a quarterback with their pick at six. They also need a starting cornerback, tight end and guard. Linebacker depth is also a must.