The Bills nearly got their offseason started with a bang, but their potential Antonio Brown trade fell apart. As laid out in the 2019 AFC East offseason blueprints, Buffalo still has a promising stretch ahead of them. Here are the NFC division-by-division blueprints if you missed them:
Sign Tevin Coleman
The Bills have indicated they want to bring LeSean McCoy back in 2019, but it’s possible he’s released because of his high cap number. Instead, Buffalo could go with a younger, cheaper, and arguably more explosive option at this point in Tevin Coleman. The former Falcon has just 528 career carries compared to McCoy’s 2,346, so he’s a guy that could grow along with franchise quarterback Josh Allen in Brian Daboll’s offense. McCoy can still play at a high level, but Coleman just feels like a perfect fit in Buffalo.
Revamp the receiving corps
The team tried to do this the past few days by acquiring Antonio Brown from the Steelers, but Brown apparently nixed going to Buffalo. Still, the inquiry from the Bills indicates GM Brandon Beane is going to be very aggressive in putting more pieces around his quarterback. 2018 undrafted free agent receiver Robert Foster showed major flashes and should be a favorite to start this season, but the team should target more options in the coming weeks. A veteran receiver like John Brown, who played very well with another big-armed quarterback (Joe Flacco) last season, would be a great option in free agency, and Buffalo would do well to come away with at least one receiver on Day 1 or Day 2 of the draft.
Add more pass rushers
Losing longtime defensive tackle Kyle Williams is tough for the Bills, as they’ll have to replace both his leadership and his ability on the interior defensive line. Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins is an outstanding leader and seems like an ideal guy to plug right in, and he could be available at Buffalo’s No. 9 overall draft slot. The team needs more help on the edge, too, as Sean McDermott’s defense can be scary if it gets more pressure on the quarterback.
Bring in another quarterback
It sounds like the Dolphins are set to part ways with Ryan Tannehill one way or another, which makes sense—it’s probably just time for both sides to move on. Unless they’ve masterfully kept their interest hidden, the team isn’t interested in signing former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles, which is what I would do. But if not Foles, the Dolphins need to bring in another quarterback to become the clear favorite for the starting job. While I’m not too high on Josh Rosen, it might not be a bad idea to acquire him for a third-round pick if possible and give him a season under-center to see what happens before dipping into the stacked 2020 draft class.
Commit to Kenyan Drake as your lead runner
The Dolphins should think about re-signing Frank Gore because he still gets it done into his mid-30s, but perhaps they should just give Kenyan Drake an opportunity to become a 20-touch guy in 2019. Considering Miami isn’t expected to compete this season, they should see how Drake does with a heavy workload after he excelled as a near-workhorse at the end of the 2017 campaign.
Extend Xavien Howard
Xavien Howard was a major hit in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, and now it’s time to ensure he remains with the team for several more years. New head coach Brian Flores would have more flexibility if he has a great cornerback like Howard able to match up with No. 1 receivers, so the former Baylor Bear should be a foundation piece on defense. I wouldn’t hesitate to make him the highest-paid corner in the league, as the price at the position might skyrocket as the cap continues to increase anyway.
New England Patriots
Extend Tom Brady
Coming off his sixth Super Bowl victory, Tom Brady continues to defy Father Time; and, considering his commitment to peak performance, there’s no reason to believe his play will suddenly decline. The Patriots should lock Brady up through age 45 on yet another team-friendly deal.
Keep the receiving corps intact
A lot has been made of New England’s receiving group in the past year, but it’s an underrated bunch. Assuming Rob Gronkowski returns for another season, I don’t think huge changes have to be made for a team that just won another title. Chris Hogan and Phillip Dorsett are set to become free agents, but I would try to retain them both if their prices don’t get too high on the open market. Hogan is an all-around receiver that has come up big in the past, and Dorsett seemingly made plays whenever he was given opportunities the past two seasons. And while you can’t count on him, Josh Gordon would be a bonus to a team-first group that wouldn’t cause issues with a decrease in playing time.
Re-load the pass rush
The Patriots will likely attempt to keep Trey Flowers in the mix long-term, but the pass rush could use some more juice either way. While the team got more pressure to affect the quarterback last season than their 30.0 sacks indicate, this draft class provides some talented options that could potentially get home and bring down the quarterback more often in 2019.
New York Jets
Trade back; recoup lost draft picks
The Jets traded up to No. 3 overall last year to get in position to draft Sam Darnold, and they’re back up at No. 3 overall in 2018. If a team is willing to move up, it might be a good idea for the Jets to move back slightly and regain some of the draft capital they lost in last year’s trade. The draft is deep enough that they can still get an excellent prospect, and the roster has a number of needs on both sides of the ball.
Find a big starting receiver
Robby Anderson started clicking with his quarterback toward the end of last season, and Quincy Enunwa is a really good fit with new Jets head coach Adam Gase; I also like Deontay Burnett and Charone Peake, but Gase could use a big wideout. There are plenty available in the draft, and grabbing one would give the Jets a promising group of starters—including tight end Chris Herndon—that can stay with the quarterback for years.
Improve the offensive line
Last season, the Jets had flashes of really good play on the offensive line, but it wasn’t consistent enough. The team has plenty of cap space available, and the offensive line is probably the position they should most heavily invest in to protect their franchise quarterback and sustain a top-notch running game. Also, I think the Jets should cut Isaiah Crowell and upgrade the running back committee—Latavius Murray is a fit as a tough north-and-south runner for Gase’s offense.