Free Agency Recap — AFC East: Rodgers Mania, Dolphins in Win-Now Mode

Over the next week, we’re going to discuss the early returns for each NFL team in the free agency period. But first, a couple of notes about the structure and theme of these free agency recaps:

  • We’ll do these free agency recaps four teams at a time, grouped by division
  • These are early returns on the action that we saw between the start of the legal tampering period on March 13 and the end of the day on March 28.
  • There will be no arbitrary “grades” assigned.
  • If your favorite team didn’t get the love you expected, just know that I’m not sorry.
  • Let’s have some fun and talk some football.
  • Buffalo Bills

    The Bills’ number one goal heading into the offseason was to get Josh Allen some protection and help on the offensive line. Well, uh … their free agency recap isn’t very inspiring.

    Notable Acquisitions

  • G Connor McGovern (3 years, $23 million)
  • LB Matt Milano (extension)
  • P Sam Martin (3 years, $7.5 million)
  • S Jordan Poyer (extension)
  • QB Kyle Allen (1 year, $1.08 million)
  • Summary

    Buffalo came into the 2022 season with Super Bowl or bust aspirations and expectations. Well, they busted. Buffalo was eliminated in the divisional round by the Bengals.

    To make matters worse, they didn’t do much in free agency to help themselves. Tremaine Edmunds is gone. Veterans Matt Milano and Jordan Poyer are back. Kyle Allen is Josh’s new backup quarterback.

    Buffalo added offensive guard Connor McGovern — who played 15 games for the Cowboys last season — on the offensive line and not really much else.

    Miami Dolphins

    The Dolphins exercised the fifth-year option on QB Tua Tagovailoa, reaffirming their commitment to the former Alabama signal caller.

    Notable Acquisitions

  • CB Jalen Ramsey (trade)
  • QB Mike White (2 years, $16 million)
  • LB David Long (2 years, $11 million)
  • RB Jeff Wilson Jr. (2 years, $8.2 million)
  • RB Raheem Mostert (2 years, $5.6 million)
  • Summary

    Miami is in all-in mode right now. First, they traded for cornerback Jalen Ramsey from the Rams. They also made Vic Fangio the highest-paid coordinator in the NFL to oversee the defense. The Dolphins also brought in Mike White to back up Tua for the next two seasons.

    Aside from that, the Dolphins re-signed running backs, Jeff Wilson Jr. and Raheem Mostert. The Dolphins were a pair of Tua concussions from a potential postseason run. They shored up their defense, and hopefully, Tua will be healthy next season.

    New York Jets

    The Jets are looking to close the gap between them and the Bills atop the AFC East. 2022 ended with them on the outside looking in, but that likely won’t be the case next season if their free agency spending is an indicator.

    Notable Acquisitions

  • WR Allen Lazard (4 years, $44 million)
  • LB Quincy Williams (3 years, $18 million)
  • DL Solomon Thomas (1 year, $3.9 million)
  • WR Mecole Hardman (1 year, $4.5 million)
  • S Chuck Clark (trade)
  • K Greg Zuerlein (1 year, $3.5 million)
  • Summary

    The Jets defense was exceptional in 2022, but the offense lacked and held the team back. Ultimately, the lack of offensive firepower caused them to crumble down the stretch.

    A healthy Breece Hall, Allen Lazard, and Mecole Hardman are nice additions. The most significant addition is yet to come, but the framework is in place. It’s only a matter of time before we add Aaron Rodgers to the notable acquisitions column.

    When Rodgers joins the fray, the Jets become a serious contender in the AFC East.

    New England Patriots

    Like the Jets, the Patriots were narrowly left out of the AFC playoffs last season. However, they’ve had a solid offseason thus far.

    Notable Acquisitions

  • S Jabrill Peppers (2 years, $11 million)
  • CB Jonathan Jones (2 years, $20 million)
  • OL Riley Reiff (1 year, $5 million)
  • WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (3 years, $33 million)
  • RB James Robinson (2 years, $8 million)
  • TE Mike Gesicki (1 year, $9 million)
  • Summary

    New England lost wide receiver Jakobi Meyers to the Raiders in free agency. But they added JuJu Smith-Schuster at the exact same price. So, a wash? Maybe a slight upgrade. Perhaps a slight downgrade. Only time will tell.

    According to reports, New England seems poised to ride with Mac Jones as their starting QB in 2023, even passing on the opportunity to acquire a willing Lamar Jackson this week.

    written by

    Patrick grew up in Chicago's Bridgeport and Garfield Ridge neighborhoods before moving to the Western Suburbs of Chicago before eventually relocating to the Las Vegas area with his family in 2023. He started with Bleacher Nation in 2021 and has spent time as a Staff Writer and on the Chicago Blackhawks beat. He is currently a writer and editor at Bleacher Nation covering the Chicago Bears and the NFL at large and the author of the Bleacher Nation Newsletter. Patrick is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA).

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