2024 NFL Season: Ranking Every AFC East Roster

The Bills have won four straight division titles, but the Dolphins have a better roster from top to bottom.
Tyreek Hill leaps to make a catch against the Bills.
Tyreek Hill leaps to make a catch against the Bills. / BILL INGRAM/THE PALM BEACH POST / USA

For two decades, the New England Patriots dominated the AFC East. Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the rest of their crew took home a host of accolades.

Since then, the Buffalo Bills have taken the division crown each of the past four seasons. But suddenly, the AFC East is more open than in recent years as the Bills appear to be transitioning from an older team to a more youthful group.

But does Buffalo still have the best roster in the division, or has it been overtaken? Let’s run it all down.

1. Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins might not have been the best team in the AFC East last season (although it’s possible), but this is the best roster top to bottom.

Miami has a quality quarterback in Tua Tagovailoa, two established running backs in De’Von Achane and Raheem Mostert, receivers Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle and Odell Beckham Jr., and a terrific left tackle in Terron Armstead.

Defensively, the Dolphins have a host of elite talents including edge rushers Jaelan Phillips and Bradley Chubb, corner Jalen Ramsey and safety Jevon Holland.

For Miami, the big questions almost all revolve around whether Tagovailoa can step up against quality competition while also handling the elements. Last season saw the Dolphins rip up poor teams, only to be turned back time and again by true contenders.

2. Buffalo Bills

These aren’t your father’s Bills. Hell, they aren’t your older brother’s Bills.

Buffalo went through a sea change under general manager Brandon Beane this offseason, attempting to get younger while cleansing the salary cap going forward.

The Bills released center Mitch Morse and safety Jordan Poyer, and traded receiver Stefon Diggs. In free agency, edge rusher Leonard Floyd, wideout Gabe Davis, safety Micah Hyde and corner Dane Jackson all went elsewhere.

For Buffalo, there is still hope because of quarterback Josh Allen. Last year, Allen threw for 4,306 yards and 29 touchdowns against 18 interceptions, while notching 524 rushing yards and another 15 scores.

If Allen can finally start cutting down on the turnovers while maintaining his production, the Bills remain a playoff threat.

3. New York Jets

How you view the Jets is really a matter of perspective.

On one hand, you could argue that New York has really improved and could be a Super Bowl contender. The Jets brought in three tackles between rookie Olu Fashanu, and veterans Tyron Smith and Morgan Moses. They also acquired guard John Simpson and signed receiver Mike Williams to play opposite Garrett Wilson.

Defensively, the Jets traded for edge rusher Haason Reddick, who over the past four years has totaled 50.5 sacks. With Reddick now on his fourth team in five years and looking for a new contract, he could be in line for a huge year.

However, the other perspective is rooted in age. Aaron Rodgers is coming off a torn Achilles and turns 41 years old this season. Moses and Smith are both 33, and Smith hasn’t played more than 13 games in a campaign since 2015. Williams, for all his talent, is oft-injured, playing three games last year before sustaining a torn ACL.

The Jets could be very good, but there are plenty of red flags.

4. New England Patriots

There’s no argument here. The Patriots are the worst team in the AFC East, even if Drake Maye turns out to be a top-tier franchise quarterback.

Maye might end up being special, and could form an elite tandem in the future with coach Jerod Mayo. However, this New England team isn’t ready to do more than put forth a modest improvement. If the Patriots are going to win games, it’ll largely be because the defense stepped up with a healthier unit, led by edge rusher Matthew Judon and corner Christian Gonzalez.

The Patriots’ record will be almost unimportant in 2024. What’s noteworthy will be how well Maye and Mayo work together, and if we see improvement from them and the overall team over the final half of the season.

If that happens, New England will have plenty to be excited about entering next offseason. But if Mayo and/or Maye look completely lost, the Patriots won’t be ascending any time soon.

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Matt Verderame


Matt Verderame is an NFL staff writer for Sports Illustrated. He hosts The Matt Verderame Show on Patreon; previously wrote for FanSided and Awful Announcing; and is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association. A proud father of two girls and lover of all Italian food, Matt is an eternal defender of Rudy, the greatest football movie of all time.