December 1, 2022


Let's Get It!

Inside look at the AFC East

4 min read

The Post’s Ryan Dunleavy breaks down the AFC East:


Coach: Bill Belichick (22nd year)

Training camp site: Foxborough, Mass.

Key additions: An uncharacteristic $300 million free-agent spending spree brought in TEs Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry, OLBs Matthew Judon and Kyle Van Noy, WRs Nelson Agholor and WR Kendrick Bourne, CB Jalen Mills, DT Davon Godchaux and more. LT Trent Brown returned via trade. Rookie QB Mac Jones is the future.

Key losses: Overshadowed by the additions is the important departure of OG Joe Thuney — to the rival Chiefs no less. RB Rex Burkhead, OT Marcus Cannon CB Jason McCourty, DT Adam Butler took their Super Bowl experience elsewhere in the AFC.

Training camp storylines to watch: An old-fashioned QB competition under Belichick’s watch will require daily updates. Cam Newton — who was a shell of his former NFL MVP self in his first year with the Patriots — gets a second chance, but only if he can hold off Jones, the fans’ choice. Buying a winner in free agency usually produces extremes: brilliance or disaster. And all these new players are about to get a culture shock in New England. LB Dont’a Hightower is the key of the three COVID-19 opt-outs looking to reclaim old roles.

Josh Allen, Bill Belichick and Tua Tagovailoa
Josh Allen, Bill Belichick and Tua Tagovailoa
Getty Images (2)


Coach: Sean McDermott (fifth year)

Training camp site: Orchard Park.

Key additions: WR Emmanuel Sanders replaced John Brown, and the Bills addressed other minor needs by signing backup QB Mitch Trubisky, TE Jacob Hollister and P Matt Haack. They addressed their big need — the pass rush — by drafting Greg Rousseau and Carlos Basham Jr.

Key losses: QB Josh Allen lost a few targets — including Brown (Raiders), WR Andre Roberts (Texans) and TE Tyler Kroft (Jets). DT Quinton Jefferson (Raiders) was the most notable loss on defense.

Training camp storylines to watch: Not much changed with Buffalo this offseason, which is both good (after a breakthrough year) and bad (because the Bills didn’t gain ground on the Chiefs). Allen is due for a contract extension, and that could be a distraction until it’s signed. WR Cole Beasley is the NFL’s most outspoken player against the COVID-19 vaccine, threatening retirement if forced to stick to protocols. Allen admittedly isn’t sure if he will get vaccinated. And the Bills will be peppered with a lot of questions about this stance — and the possibility of players missing time — all summer.


Coach: Brian Flores (third year)

Training camp site: Miami Gardens, Fla.

Key additions: There might not be a faster pair of WRs than the new duo of rookie Jaylen Waddle and free-agent signee Will Fuller (suspended for Week 1). The Dolphins drafted OLB Jaelan Phillips, S Jevon Holland and OT Liam Eichenberg in the top 42 picks. QB Jacoby Brissett is a former starter. LB Benardrick McKinney arrived via trade.

Key losses: Four key players stayed in-division, as C Ted Karras, OLB Kyle Van Noy and DT Davon Godchaux went to the Patriots and P Matt Haack landed with the Bills. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is starting in Washington. LB Shaq Lawson went to the Texans in the trade for McKinney.

Training camp storylines to watch: The Dolphins are ready to ascend to the playoffs, but only if QB Tua Tagovailoa develops and eases the pain of not having drafted Justin Herbert. Brissett’s signing puts pressure on Tagovailoa, who should be fully healthy for the first time in nearly two years. The Dolphins are trying the co-offensive coordinator system with Eric Studesville and George Godsey. It’s not yet clear who will be calling the plays.


Coach: Robert Saleh (first year)

Training camp site: Florham Park, N.J.

Key additions: The NFL’s lowest-scoring offense got a complete makeover — with RT Morgan Moses, WR Corey Davis, WR Keelan Cole, beer-chugging OG Dan Feeney and rookies QB Zach Wilson, RB Michael Carter, WR Elijah Moore and LG Alijah Vera-Tucker. Carl Lawson could be the long-awaited fierce edge rusher.

Key losses: QB Sam Darnold was traded to the Panthers after three disappointing seasons, reuniting with WR Robby Anderson. OLB Jordan Jenkins (Texans) and DE Henry Anderson (Patriots) left in free agency.

Training camp storylines to watch: Offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur is installing a version of the Kyle Shanahan system, which has elevated the Packers, 49ers and Falcons in recent years. The top-to-bottom talent appears significantly upgraded, which should lead to better practices. Who will emerge from the crowded backfield of Tevin Coleman, Ty Johnson, La’Mical Perine and Carter? It’s hard to upgrade every position in one offseason and the secondary appears to be where the Jets fell short, unless a camp star emerges. Saleh is a great defensive mind. So were Rex Ryan and Todd Bowles. Will he be a more complete head coach?

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