Now that the offseason is in full swing, front offices of all 32 NFL teams have begun to assess priorities for the coming months. What areas should each team address? This sounds like a job for Maurice Jones-Drew. The NFL.com analyst and former All-Pro running back tries his hand at general manager and identifies three areas each team should tackle this offseason. Today, MJD examines the AFC East:
1) Re-build the offensive line. Points were hard to come by for the Bills' offense in 2018, ranking in the bottom three of the NFL in several major categories. The offensive line specifically struggled after losing its best tackle (Cordy Glenn), guard (Richie Incognito) and center (Eric Wood) from the 2017 unit. This must be a point of emphasis before the start of the 2019 season or Buffalo should expect the same results.
2) Sign playmaking receivers. Buffalo hasn't had a 1,000-yard receiver since Sammy Watkins did it in 2015. The 2018 receiving corps that was led by slot receiver Zay Jones and undrafted free agent Robert Foster -- Kelvin Benjamin was waived by the team in early December -- was lackluster. Josh Allen needs several big, physical targets who have a sizeable catch radius to elevate this pass game. Ole Miss receiver D.K. Metcalf could do well here.
3) Enhance the run game.LeSean McCoy, who will be 31 at the start of next season, has one more year on his contract, so the best thing to do here is sign a younger back to push McCoy and learn from him. Jordan Howard, whom Buffalo would have to trade for, would be a great fit in this system, as would one of the young backs who found success in Seattle last season.
The Dolphins have meandered around .500 for the last decade, making the postseason just once (in 2016 under Adam Gase). If the Dolphins want to consistently contend for the division title, new head coach Brian Flores must build a consistent winner -- something he knows all about, having spent the past 15 years in New England. My colleague Bucky Brooks wrote last week that this new regime has the potential to take Miami to the next level.
1) Find a quarterback. Earlier this month, general manager Chris Grier said the Dolphins haven't made a decision whether or not they will move on from Ryan Tannehill. If it's me, I'm moving on. The best option at quarterback is signing free agent Teddy Bridgewater, or Miami could consider selecting a quarterback in this year's draft
2) Rebuild the pass rush. This year's draft class is overflowing with defensive talent, and it couldn't be better timing for the Dolphins. They might not take a QB hunter in the first round, but this is a need where they could draft in bulk on Day 2 and 3. I'd also re-sign veteran Cameron Wake, who is two sacks shy of 100 for his career. He consistently gets to the quarterback and provides great veteran leadership.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
1) Improve the pass rush. Even though the Patriots' defense had four sacks in Super Bowl LIII, the unit tied for 30th in the league in this category during the regular season. The team should let defensive end Trey Flowers hit free agency and bring in a guy who will consistently dominate off the edge.
2) Fill Josh Gordon's void. The Patriots' pass game looked completely different with Josh Gordon on the field during the regular season than it did in the playoffs without him. Gordon, who stepped away from the game in late December to focus on his mental health, added a downfield element to the offense and a big, physical target for Brady. Now, he's suspended indefinitely by the NFL. Selfishly, I'd like to see the Patriots trade for Antonio Brown, but we all know Pittsburgh would never let that happen.
3) Find Gronk's replacement. We're all waiting with bated breath to see if Rob Gronkowski will retire. No matter his decision, the Patriots need a tight end who can block and be another safety net for Brady in key situations. The prospect most like Gronk in this class is Iowa's T.J. Hockenson, who can become the next great Pats tight end regardless of whether he steps in right away or plays behind Gronk for a year or two.
NEW YORK JETS
The Jets should copy the blueprints of the Los Angeles Rams and Chicago Bears, who took the necessary steps to help their respective quarterbacks succeed in Year 2 by putting weapons around them and building scary defensive units. The Jets have several key players already in place, but there are still some glaring holes.
1) Sam Darnold needs protection. With two of last year's starting linemen hitting free agency, the Jets must upgrade this unit. Signing guard Rodger Saffold in free agency could immediately improve this group, but the Jets can also find cheaper options if they want to put big money into other areas.
2) Surround the young QB with weapons. Darnold has the ability to lead and elevate the offense, but he also needs playmakers to maximize his play. The Jets should address the receiving corps in free agency -- focus on bringing in talented veterans to help the young quarterback. An Antonio Brown trade could be interesting, especially considering that they should ...