The AFC East, for the first time in two decades, might finally be competitive again.
Tom Brady is gone, adios, bye bye. The Patriots quarterback, he of six Super Bowl rings, has packed his bag for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It means that the Patriots are suddenly vulnerable and that the division is up for grabs.
And while the Buffalo Bills are certainly trending in the right direction following last year’s playoff appearance, any team could make a run in a division that is suddenly wide-open. Including the Patriots, who, even without Brady, still have a pretty good roster.
As we begin our 'AFC East Roundtable' series, we surveyed the publisher of each of the SportsIllustrated.com Maven team sites to come up with each team’s biggest offseason moves.
The best offseason move for Buffalo was their blockbuster trade for
They had to sacrifice four draft picks — one of which was a 2020 first-round pick — but in doing so they added a powerful weapon to their offense, which is pivotal if the team as a whole wants to take a step forward next season.
A quarterback is only as good as the weapons around them, which is why giving Josh Allen another talented pass-catching option will ensure the Bills are doing everything they can to put Allen in a position to succeed. Now, if Allen takes a step back in 2020 after progressing over his first two seasons in the NFL, the front office knows they’ve done their part to help their young quarterback.
— Devon Clements, PatriotMaven
As the team deemed by longtime NFL exec Gil Brandt to have had the best offseason in the league, it’s clear the Dolphins made several significant additions.
From a long-term perspective, there’s nothing that’s going to rival taking quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with the fifth overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft if he pans out the way the Dolphins anticipate.
But if we’re talking about an immediate impact, it’s tough to go against the addition of cornerback Byron Jones in free agency. Jones’ arrival to join 2018 Pro Bowl selection Xavien Howard will give the Dolphins one of the most talented cornerback tandems in the NFL and bolster a secondary filled with unproven players last season.
Honorable mention goes to the signing of veteran linebacker Kyle Van Noy.
— Alain Poupart, AllDolphins
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
When looking at the Patriots roster as a whole and thinking about thevoids that needed to be filled, third-round pick Devin Asiasi qualifies as their best offseason move.
New England has had a serious void at tight end ever since Rob Gronkowski retired last offseason, and did little to nothing this offseason to address the wideout position in free agency or the draft.
Because of that, adding Asiasi, who is a well-rounded tight end from UCLA who can be effective as a blocker and pass catcher, is a big upgrade to New England’s passing attack.
While some of the defensive talent they acquired in the draft could have been the pick as their best offseason move — like second-round pick Josh Uche — their production will not have as big an impact on their unit as Asiasi’s will to an offense that sputtered out quite often in 2019 because of a lack of pass-catching options.
— Devon Clements, PatriotMaven
NEW YORK JETS
The best move of the offseason from the New York Jets came in the second round of the NFL Draft. It is a move that was worthy of Kevin Costner in “Draft Day.”
Sitting at No. 48 in the draft, General Manager Joe Douglas (in his first full offseason with the team) traded back with the Seattle Seahawks. In exchange, the Jets got the Seahawks’ second-round pick (No. 58) and their compensatory pick in the third round, No. 101.
At the time of the trade, the move was panned. Why deal back when so much talent was still on the board and the Jets were short of playmakers?
In desperate need of a wide receiver, the Jets still had tremendous options on the board in Chase Claypool (Notre Dame) and Van Jefferson (Florida). But at No. 59, somehow available was Baylor’s Denzel Mims, a player who was seen before the draft as a possible first-round pick.
And then with No. 101, the Jets moved back again in a trade with the New England Patriots, allowing them to add more needed depth to their two-deep.
They didn’t land David Putney, but still a good move.
— Kristian Dyer, JetsCountry