5 Off-season Moves That Change the AFC East

By Thomas Ringgaard |
5 Off-season Moves That Change the AFC East

5. Bills draft Kyle Williams' replacement

Thirteen years, 48.5 sacks, and the heart and soul of the Buffalo Bills. The legacy of Bills legend and nose tackle Kyle Williams has come to an end. The Bills are now looking for a new, young stud to lead in the middle of the defense, and boy are those some big shoes to fill. 

Enter Ed Oliver. 

The University of Houston star has every bit of talent to become an instant difference-maker, and those who follow our site will know how highly we think of him. Fortunately, it's not a bad positional group to work with, as Oliver will start alongside Star Lotulelei in the middle, while Shaq Lawson and Jerry Hughes contain the edges. 

Furthermore, the legendary Bills superfan, Pancho Billa, died moments after announcing the Oliver pick from his hospital bed. At an age way too young. Pancho died doing what he devoted his life to - root for the Bills. Football is so much more than a sport. 

4. Faces of the Dolphins changes

The Adam Gase experiment is over. Ryan Tannehill's chances are numbered. Times have changed for the Dolphins. 

On February 4th, three-year Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores was hired to take over a Miami team that has gone nowhere for a long time. Coming into an organization filled with questions, the most urgent had to be: "Who is going to lead the team?"

Thankfully, the head-scratching decision by the Arizona Cardinals to dump last year's 10th overall pick, 22-year-old Josh Rosen, paved the way for the next franchise QB in Miami. Rosen was never really given a fair chance, as he had to fill in for the disastrous story of Sam Bradford mid-season after receiving zero first-team reps all off-season. 

A key point is the order of which these moves happened. Flores was well aware of the QB situation in Miami before the draft, and after passing up on a rookie QB, e.g. Dwayne Haskins, all indications are Rosen was the clear choice for his offense.

3. Rob Gronkowski retires

Image result for rob gronkowskiWhat felt like a recurring storyline every off-season, Rob Gronkowski has finally spiked his last football in the end zone at the age of 30.

Gronk accumulated 79 TD catches (3rd all-time), 7,861 yards, four All-Pro honors, and three Super Bowl titles. Aside from Tom Brady calling it a career, this is arguably the biggest player loss New England could sustain. 

After losing such a valuable weapon, many wondered how head coach Bill Belichick would replace him. However, the Patriots came out of the draft without drafting a tight end, and newly signed Austin Seferian-Jenkins was released prior to start of OTAs.

The Patriots will rely on recently retired 38-year-old TE Ben Watson in the 2019 season. Not a bad change-up if you are rooting for an AFC East power rank shakeup. 

2. Jets sign RB Le'Veon Bell

He finally showed up to something! 

After taking a year off due to a contract dispute, Bell is back in action, as he will try to make life easier for second-year quarterback Sam Darnold. Bell was arguably the name of free agency, as the All-Pro running back has an intruiging combination of hands, patience, elusiveness, and power. 

Along with Bell, the Jets traded for Raiders guard Kelechi Osemele - a big, nasty man who will move people and create much-needed space for the newly acquired star. Add vertical playmaker Robby Anderson and former Redskins wide receiver Jamison Crowder and the Jets finally have some offensive firepower to look forward to. 

1. Jets front seven gets much-needed help

After allowing the fourth-most points per game and the eighth-most yards per game, it was in the cards that the Jets needed help on defense. 

…badly.

The team spent big on surprise free agent C.J. Mosley, the 26-year-old former Ravens stud interior linebacker, who in five years has earned four Pro Bowl titles, 579 tackles, nine sacks, nine INTs, and six forced fumbles. He is a playmaking, side-to-sideline linebacker who can make big plays when needed. 

To help Mosley in the front seven, the best player in the draft, Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, fell right into their arms at third overall. Williams is legit. I would not be surprised if he gets All-Pro honors, Defensive Rookie of the Year, and records double-digits sacks.

In Year 1. 

While the Dolphins and Bills are still trying to find their identity and create a roster that can compete in a few years, the New York Jets seem more and more capable of challenging the aging Patriots and perhaps even finally create some competition in a boring division. 


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