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NFL Free Agency Needs: AFC East

Offensive Line Among Priorities in Division

The NFL offseason is shaping up to be an exciting edition, led by a promising pool of free agents. Tuesday marks the first day teams can use franchise tags on pending free agents. We should have plenty of free agency news through the end of March.

Before free agency officially begins on March 15, let’s go over each team’s list of free agents and needs. We start with the AFC East – one of the league’s best divisions in the 2022 season.

Corey Davis #84 of the New York Jets
Corey Davis #84 of the New York Jets - Jamie Squire/Getty Images/afp

Let’s check the latest NFL news, stats, injury reports and NFL picks for you to consider.

1. Bills

  • Free Agents
    • S Jordan Poyer
    • LB Tremaine Edmunds
    • RB Devin Singletary
    • G Rodger Saffold
    • CB Dane Jackson
    • DE Jordan Phillips
    • DE Shaq Lawson

Safety Jordan Poyer and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds headline the Buffalo Bills’ free agents. Poyer will likely demand a lucrative contract after making the Pro Bowl in 2022 and earning All-Pro honors in 2021. However, Poyer turns 32 in April, which could cause the Bills to hesitate. In addition, Buffalo has roughly $10 million annually tied up in linebacker Matt Milano. It’s unlikely the Bills re-sign Edmunds to a costly long-term deal.

The Bills could bring back players like running back Devin Singletary and cornerback Dane Jackson on affordable deals. However, don’t be surprised if Buffalo opts to get younger at running back, letting Singletary walk in free agency.

  • Positions of Need
    • Offensive line
    • Wide receiver
    • Defensive line
    • Safety
    • Linebacker

Upgrading the offensive line and receiving corps will likely be the biggest priorities. Quarterback Josh Allen needs improved protection, and the offense lacked a consistent wideout outside of Stefon Diggs. As of now, Buffalo is negative in cap space, meaning it will have to cut players and/or restructure contracts. Guard Will Hernandez is an affordable option that could upgrade the Bills’ run game.

The Bills could also need replacements at safety and linebacker if they fail to re-sign Poyer and Edmunds.

2. Dolphins

Mike Gesicki of the Miami Dolphins celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the second quarter of a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars
Mike Gesicki of the Miami Dolphins celebrates after scoring a touchdown – James Gilbert/Getty Images/afp
  • Free Agents
    • TE Mike Gesicki
    • OLB Melvin Ingram
    • RB Raheem Mostert
    • RB Jeff Wilson Jr.
    • QB Teddy Bridgewater

The Miami Dolphins have few notable players on expiring contracts. Tight end Mike Gesicki is likely on his way out after playing on a franchise tag in the 2022 season. Veteran edge rusher Melvin Ingram could find a new home as well after Jaelan Phillips had a breakout season. Miami will have to make some decisions at running back. It’s unlikely the Dolphins will re-sign both RaheemMostert and Jeff WilsonJr. Of the two, Mostert has the best chance of being re-signed.

  • Positions of Need
    • Cornerback
    • Running back
    • Offensive line
    • Tight end
    • Middle linebacker

Many expect the Dolphins to cut cornerback Byron Jones, which would save Miami more than $10 million. With this move and some restructures, the Dolphins will get under the cap. Miami must potentially find replacements for Gisicki and Jones. In addition, the Dolphins need to address middle linebacker, especially after bringing in defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. Miami could also use an upgrade at offensive guard. Cornerback Jamel Dean and tight end Evan Engram are two free agents that would be nice fits in Miami.

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3. Patriots

  • Free Agents
    • WR Jakobi Meyers
    • S Devin McCourty
    • CB Jonathan Jones
    • OT Isaiah Wynn
    • RB Damien Harris
    • WR Nelson Agholor
    • S Jabrill Peppers

Bringing back wide receiver Jakobi Meyers should be one of the Patriots’ top priorities. New England’s receiving corps was already underwhelming. Losing its top target would be a big hit. Following running back Rhamondre Stevenson’s impressive season, it’s unlikely the Pats bring back running back Damien Harris – unless it is a cheap deal.

Safety Devin McCourty could retire, and cornerback Jonathan Jones is another potential re-sign for New England.

  • Positions of Need
    • Offensive line
    • Wide receiver
    • Cornerback
    • Linebacker
    • Safety

Surrounding quarterback Mac Jones with better talent should be the focus of the Patriots’ offseason. Jones had a poor second season, but is it due to a lack of talent? Plus, the offense had poor play-calling with Matt Patricia. Offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien should be a significant upgrade. New England must determine if Jones is the future in the 2023 season.

The Pats can upgrade their offense by improving their offensive line and wide receivers. In the 2022 season, offensive tackle play was shaky, and outside of Meyers, the wide receivers were inconsistent. New England could be one of the most aggressive teams of the offseason with about $33 million in cap space, which is the seventh-most in the league.

Right tackle Mike McGlinchey, linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, safety Jessie Bates III and cornerback Byron Murphy are a few options in free agency. These would be significant signings, but they will likely require some serious money. The Patriots could also pursue wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins via trade with the Arizona Cardinals.

4. Jets

Scoping Out the Top Candidates to Win Offensive Rookie of The Year Award
Garrett Wilson #17 of the New York Jets – Al Bello/Getty Images/afp
  • Free Agents
    • C Connor McGovern
    • DT Sheldon Rankins
    • LB Kwon Alexander
    • LB Quincy Williams
    • QB Mike White
    • S Lamarcus Joyner
    • K Greg Zuerlein

Center Connor McGovern and defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins come off great seasons. Re-signing both will likely be a high priority for the New York Jets. Linebackers Kwon Alexander and Quincy Williams are also notable free agents. New York should look at re-signing at least one, which would likely be the younger Williams. Safety Lamarcus Joyner is one 2022 starter that is likely gone. Safety was New York’s weakest position on defense.

  • Positions of Need
    • Quarterback
    • Safety
    • Wide receiver
    • Offensive tackle
    • Linebacker

Right now, the Jets are in the middle of the road when it comes to cap space. However, New York could quickly get to at least $40 million in cap space with various cuts and restructures, like releasing wide receiver Corey Davis and offensive tackle Duane Brown.

Quarterback is the clear need of the offseason. Derek Carr visited over the weekend, and it reportedly went well. Aaron Rodgers remains a potential trade target. If the Jets are to land a franchise QB, it must gain significant cap space.

Assuming New York acquires a quarterback, the franchise will not have much money left to sign major free agents. Safeties Taylor Rapp and Tashaun Gipson are affordable options to upgrade the secondary. Wide receiver Allen Lazard would also be an intriguing piece alongside Garrett Wilson.

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