AFC EAST KEY ADDITIONS/LOSSES
By Walter Stringer
With the sudden passing of the NFL’S all-time winningest coach Don Shula there is an obvious void of a face of sustained success in the Miami Dolphins organization. That void is currently being worked on by 2nd year Head Coach Brian Flores who has managed to change the culture of a team midseason, and galvanize a fractured locker. What is in store for year 2?
KEY ADDITIONS: Free Agent cornerback Byron Jones was a highly coveted commodity of the phins from the moment the Cowboys were officially eliminated from playoff contention. The 6 year veteren was given a massive deal of 5yrs/$82.5 million, including $57 million guaranteed to help out a secondary hindered by a rash of injuries a season ago. Former Bills DE Shaq Lawson ( (Via FA), and Boise State DE Curtis Weaver (Via Draft) were two welcoming additions to a defense that ranked 26th against the pass, and dead last in the league in passing td’s given up. On the offensive side of the ball they made the biggest splash, and maybe riskiest one in selecting QB Tua Tagovailoa from Alabama 5th overall. Brought in to be the one to resurrect a QB starved fan base/franchise that has seen 0 Pro Bowl QB’s since Hall of Famer Dan Marino walked away.
KEY LOSSES: From a roster that was nearly left on zero by midseason the only serious loss of significance suffered was that of former Pro Bowl Safety Reshad Jones. Still a capable option on the backend, but being north of 30, and accompanied by a heavy ticket price are an elixir for organizations to move on.
Going into year 4 of a solid rebuild Head Coach Sean McDermott seemingly has the Buffalo Bills right on the cusp of legitimacy. 9-7, and 6-10, cleaned up by a 10-6 Playoff berth in 2019 has Bills fans circling the wagons
KEY ADDITIONS: On March 16, 2020 the Bills made a very aggressive move in sending 4 Picks (1st, 5th, 6th) & a 4th in 2021 to the Minnesota Vikings for disgruntled WR Stefon Diggs. The Playmaker immensely upgrades a receiving corp full of good #2’s, but no DUDE! Seasoned veteran corner Josh Norman was added to an already stacked secondary as depth, and rookie DE AJ Epenesa, stolen with the 54th pick in the 2nd round is expected to be a penciled in rotational player in the beginning at least on an already crowded defensive line.
KEY LOSSES: The loss of Shaq Lawson may not show up in the box score, but should count for 2 considering he bolted to a division rival, and DT Harrison Phillips was a consistent disruption in the middle of the defensive line, although it was completely understandable allowing him to walk considering he is coming off a season ending torn ACL.
Head Coach Adam Gase, & GM Joe Douglas have pulled no punches on their public support of 3rd year franchise QB Sam Darnold, but the type of support he truly needs should come in the form of a complete offensive overhaul. Can Gase & Douglas keep Darnold afloat while they build this roster?
KEY ADDITIONS: The Jets this offseason have spent nearly $73 million fixing the worst offensive line in football a year ago. Former Seahawk George Fant is expected to bring consistency to either tackle position, while Josh Andrews can step in at either guard, or center. The wildcard of the franchise’s offseason additions comes in the form of 6’7” 364lbs Mekhi Becton. Highly regarded as a player that could either reset what the standard is for left tackles, or be a complete bust, Becton has enormous upside and the ability to be brought along slowly with all the veteran free agent additions.
KEY LOSSES: Robby Anderson, Robby Anderson, Robby Anderson!!! Letting Anderson leave via free agency, and replacing him with Breshad Perriman ( a career journeyman), and Denzel Mims ( a rookie whose nowhere ready to contribute) is not the best way to maximize the success window of an already shaken 3rd year QB.
The age old question of Brady or Belichick whose more important? will finally get answered in 2020. At least we think!
KEY ADDITIONS: Judging by the Pats moves this offseason so far it’s apparent that with the massive loss suffered on the offensive side of the ball “YOU KNOW WHO” the organization plans on going all in on a defense that was already elite just a season ago until that other issue gets resolved. They gave that side of the football a much needed infusion of youth oddly enough via undrafted free agents Nick Coe, and Anfernee Jennings who both have good chances of making the roster, and Josh Uche a hardworking tackling machine at the outside linebacker spot.
KEY LOSSES: Klye Van Noy takes a lot of versatility with him to Miami, and the loss of high priced corner Logan Ryan could prove to be a big blow to the backend. For the first time in 20 years the Pats will begin a season without Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. on the roster. You don’t replace a 6x Superbowl Champ overnite, but if any coach can weather the storm the entire football world (including myself) believes Belichick is the mad scientist to do it.