Skip to main content

A whip around the AFC East offseason personnel moves


The Buffalo Bills ended last season going 4-2 in the division. They completed season sweeps of the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets, but could not get the better of division nemesis New England. So what has happened in the AFC East arms race this offseason to potentially alter the playing field in the division?

Buffalo Bills What's new?
In a word rehab for both Shaq Lawson and Sammy Watkins. Coming off of offseason surgeries neither will be participating in OTA practices that begin on Monday. Training camp is a no go for Lawson and Watkins figures to be eased in toward the tail end of the preseason.

Draft impact
Though the potential absence of Lawson at the start of the 2016 season hurts, Reggie Ragland and Adolphus Washington are huge adds on defense. Jonathan Williams and Kolby Listenbee might surprise some people.

Up in the air
When Lawson will be cleared to return to action is the great unknown, and though timetables might be set every case is different. Hopefully for him and the Bills it's sooner rather than later.

Miami Dolphins


What's new?
A re-tooled running back corps will have a new look with Jay Ajayi (5th rd pick - 2015) the favorite to land the starting job with Lamar Miller now in Houston. Third-round pick Kenyan Drake is expected to compete for the third down role and Daniel Thomas is back for his second stint to battle Isaiah Pead for a short yardage role.

Miami's front seven is also new with defensive linemen Olivier Vernon and Derrick Shelby out and Mario Williams and Kiko Alonso in.

Draft impact
Grabbed headlines by taking the sliding and possible future franchise left tackle Laremy Tunsil 13th overall in the first round. He's likely to replace the aging Branden Albert at some point on Ryan Tannehill's blind side.

With three wide sets a staple in head coach Adam Gase's offense, Miami drafted more receiving talent in Leonte Caroo and Jakeem Grant. Both will be backups to start.

Up in the air
The big question is whether Ryan Tannehill can avoid the inconsistency that has pockmarked his NFL career. Being thrust into a new system doesn't make that task any easier this season.

New England Patriots


What's new?
The Bills weren't the only AFC East team with a key offensive weapon undergoing offseason surgery. Patriots WR Danny Amendola underwent knee and ankle surgeries this offseason to remove a bone spur and correct a knee problem originally sustained last November. The expectation is Amendola will be eased into training camp.

New England's receiving corps has been altered with the addition of Chris Hogan and Nate Washington while Brandon LaFell departs.

Draft impact
Despite the team not having a first-round pick due to Deflategate, the team added some line depth on offense and another pass catching target. Wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell drafted 112th overall offers could be a new playmaker for Brady. Top pick CB Cyrus Jones is expected to be the favorite for the nickel corner role. QB Jacoby Brissett might push Jimmy Garappolo for the backup job.

Up in the air
Deflategate has temporarily come to an end. As it stands now quarterback Tom Brady will be suspended for the first four games of the season, which would include Buffalo's Week 4 trip to New England. Of course there are reports that Brady will have his lawyers file a petition for a rehearing of the federal appeal that resulted in the reinstatement of Brady's four-game suspension. So stay tuned.

New York Jets


What's new?
With no sign of Ryan Fitzpatrick the beneficiary has been fourth-year QB Geno Smith, who has made big strides in Chan Gailey's offense.

"You can tell he's got a little bit more of a comfort level," Jets offensive coordinator Chan Gailey told "You have to make sure you don't just say it's [because] he's gained a bunch of knowledge... He could always make the throws. It's how he's developed mentally."

Could Smith be seen as the starting quarterback for the Jets again, at least at the start of the season?

Draft impactIn the second round, the Jets answered the question of who its future quarterback might be taking Christian Hackenberg. The question is does the future start sooner or later?

New York got solid upgrades for its fourth ranked defense by selecting LB Darron Lee from Ohio State and OLB Jordan Jenkins from Georgia.

Up in the air
The Jets and QB Ryan Fitzpatrick are still far apart on a new contract, though WR Eric Decker told NFL Network this week he thinks in the end Fitz will be the quarterback this fall for New York.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.