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Buffalo Bills: Buffalo ended the Rex Ryan experiment without making the playoffs and is now starting over with an entirely new regime under Sean McDermott. McDermott appears to have more power than most first time head coaches and the Pegulas are still unproven so this smells like a disaster from the beginning. Stephon Gilmore and Zach Brown are the two losses that will hurt the most on the field. The loss of Robert Woods and Marqise Goodson were justifiable as both were overpaid by their new teams, but leave the Bills dangerously thin at receiver with only injury prone Sammy Watkins established as a veteran. Defensively it will be a whole new look for the defensive backfield. Rookie first round pick Tre'Davious White will replace Gilmore and Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer are the new safety tandem. The defensive backfield looks much better heading onto 2017, Gilmore’s loss notwithstanding. Steven Hauschka is an upgrade at kicker. Gerald Hodges is a player to watch at linebacker but the Bills defense looks like it will be the stronger unit for the team. I’m very suspicious about this regime’s ability to succeed. Offseason Grade: C-

 

Miami Dolphins: Miami was a surprise team in 2016 and appears to be headed in the right direction under the Adam Gase regime so it wasn’t surprising to see the Dolphins simply tweak their roster Gone are Earl Mitchell, Don Sims, Jordan Cameron, and Mario Williams. Lamarr Woodley, TJ McDonald, and Nate Allen are the newest free agent additions to the team. Julius Thomas was brought in via trade after some disappointing seasons in Jacksonville. He should be an upgrade at tight end. The Dolphins spent early picks on each level of their defense and came away with much improved defensive depth. Charles Harris will be expected to start immediately while Raekwon McMillan and Cordrea Tankersley will play only in certain packages and on special teams. Each player offers potential as a future long term starter. Dalvin Godchaux and Isaac Asiata were two nice fifth round selections that will offer depth on the defensive and offensive line. Offseason Grade: B

 

New England Patriots: After another Super Bowl victory the Patriots seem to be reloading now while they still have Tom Brady, while also planning for the future. The Pats could have traded Jimmy Garoppolo for a first round pick had they been so inclined. They likely could have gotten a very good pick but they chose to keep him, and Malcolm Butler instead of adding another player through the draft. Adding Stephon Gilmore to the secondary should improve the defense. David Harris and Kony Ealy look like the kind of talented veterans that rejuvenate  their careers in New England. The biggest move for the Patriots was, by far, the trade for Brandin Cooks. Cooks will be the best number one receiver that Brady has had since Randy Moss played for the team. Logan Ryan, Chris Long, and Jabaal Sheard will all be missed on the defensive side of the ball, but the Patriots always find a way to adjust. Offseason Grade: A-

 

New York Jets: The Jets are in full rebuild mode now and appear to be racing towards the earliest possible draft pick in 2018. Gone are the offensive centerpieces of the last few years Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker as well as long time linebacker David Harris. Kelvin Beachum will be the new left tackle for the Jets and will be protecting the blind side of 1 year rental Josh McCown. The Jets had a solid draft adding safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye in the first two rounds and later sending disappointing former first round safety Calvin Pryor packing. The two rookies will both be starting by the first week of the season if they stay healthy and should offer some long term stability to a secondary that has resorted to signing the likes of Morris Claiborne to overpriced deals at cornerback. Third and fourth round receivers ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen aren’t really anything to get excited about and both seem destined to be backups but fifth round tight end Jordan Leggett was a great value pick and could be a long term starter for the team. Given the dearth of defensive linemen in the league it’s difficult to believe that the Jets couldn’t get more than a third round selection for Sheldon Richardson, but they didn’t trade him for a reason and he will be back to lay another season out of position before leaving next year. The Jets are tanking this year, which for them is probably the best plan. Offseason Grade: D

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