After two decades of pure dominance from the New England Patriots, the Buffalo Bills finally finished as the best team in the AFC East. Coming one game away from the Super Bowl, the Bills aim to reload and take another shot at a deep playoff run. With Josh Allen playing as their best rusher, this franchise needs to find him help in the run game as soon as possible.
The Miami Dolphins were a surprise team to most, as they finished just outside of a playoff spot. They're in a great position to load up the roster and their future looks bright. Expect to see the Dolphins loading up the offense around Tua Tagovailoa this offseason.
Bill Belichick and the Patriots have their work cut out for them as they try to regain control of the AFC East. This organization is not viewed as the same desirable destination since Tom Brady's departure, so keeping the core together and finding talent in the draft will be how this franchise gets back to the top.
As for the New York Jets, this franchise has seen its fair share of disappointment through the years. However, with a ton of cap space and draft capital, this team could be setting itself up with a bright future, even after potentially losing out on Trevor Lawrence. It's still unclear what they do at the quarterback position, but there is one way this franchise could hedge their bets.
Each franchise is in a different position at this point in the NFL. The Bills look to maintain control of the division by giving Allen some help in the run game, Miami aims to give Tagovailoa everything he needs to succeed, the Patriots need to keep the core strength of the team together, and New York could be gaining more worth through the draft. Here are four bold predictions for the AFC East this offseason.
Buffalo Bills bold prediction: Sign Aaron Jones
Aaron Jones has been playing as one of the best running backs in the league for the last several years now. He finished the 2020 season with a career-high 1,104 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. It'll be tough for the Green Bay Packers to keep him on their roster, which should make Jones available during free agency.
The only real weakness of this Buffalo team is their run game. Josh Allen was slinging it to Stefon Diggs all year long, making them one of the most prolific duos in the league. However, it was difficult for the Bills to run the clock down, as Josh Allen seemed to be the best running back on the team.
Acquiring Aaron Jones is the missing key to make the Bills a legitimate Super Bowl contender. He's versatile and can help in the passing game too, giving Allen another weapon to throw the ball to as well. This would be a perfect fit for Jones, as he would likely continue playing at a high level with the Buffalo Bills.
Miami Dolphins bold prediction: Draft Penei Sewell
Thanks to the Houston Texans, the Miami Dolphins have the third overall selection in the upcoming NFL draft. With an already impressive roster, this franchise aims to add on potential superstars that could make this team a dominant force for years to come. Wide receiver is a key need for the Dolphins, however, with depth in that position in the draft, Miami should focus on protecting their young quarterback.
Drafting Penei Sewell third overall should give Tua Tagovailoa enough protection to succeed in the pocket. Sewell is being viewed as one of the best offensive line prospects in quite some time, as he's been a consistent left tackle for the Oregon Ducks throughout his collegiate career. He should continue his high level of play at the professional level.
New England Patriots bold prediction: re-sign Joe Thuney
The Patriots are in uncharted territory for the first time in about two decades. There aren't many players chomping at the bit to sign with New England right now, as their roster is currently depleted, especially on the offense. For that reason, this franchise will have to rebuild through the draft, and retaining their core players to be competitive.
Re-signing Joe Thuney would go a long way in helping the Patriots achieve success once again. He's arguably the best guard in football and has been a versatile lineman for this Patriots team. He's bounced back and forth from guard to tackle, playing whichever position the Patriots need most. Thuney is a bright spot on a diminished Patriots offense, and they'll need his presence to regain control of the AFC East.
New York Jets bold prediction: trade the second overall pick
Finishing second to last place in 2020, the New York Jets currently hold the number two pick in the upcoming NFL draft. It's unclear what the Jets will do with that pick, as it's speculated they use it on either a quarterback or a lineman. With Sam Darnold still young, and never really given weapons to work with, New York may decide to keep Darnold on the roster.
If that's the case, the question becomes, should the Jets draft a receiver, a lineman, or trade back? Each scenario should be considered a win for this franchise, as they need help in both of those positions. However, with the high-quality quarterbacks available in the draft this year, it might be smart to trade back and acquire as many draft picks as possible.
With the amount of help this franchise needs, gaining picks is quite possibly the best move they could make. Drafting a quarterback puts a rookie in the same place Darnold is in while drafting other positions of need could help improve this team down the road.