2021 NFL Free Agency Grades: AFC East

The free agency hit hot and heavy in the AFC East as the Patriots were surprising big spenders and the Jets made moves to start building for the future. Buffalo made a couple of quiet moves as they have remained under the radar this offseason following a major improvement. The Dolphins continue to make solid adds as their organization is moving quickly towards being an AFC contender. There is not a lot to nitpick here for the AFC East.

Buffalo BillsBuffalo Bills: B-

Key Additions
QB Mitch Trubisky
WR Emmanuel Sanders

Key Departures
WR John Brown
TE Tyler Kroft

Buffalo has had a quiet offseason but has addressed some secondary needs. They weren’t going to be big spenders this offseason, but you could question if they could have found some more veterans on friendlier contracts to add, especially in the secondary. While we can bash Mitch Trubisky all we want as a starting quarterback, he is an above-average backup quarterback and fits very similarly to what they do with Josh Allen.

John Brown left for Las Vegas, which opened up a need at wide receiver. Buffalo ran a ton of three-wide sets last season, so adding another piece was big. Emmanuel Sanders showed he still has some life left, and slotting him alongside Gabriel Davis and Stefon Diggs is going to make life pretty easy for Allen. Buffalo still needs to add a real pass-rusher.

New England PatriotsNew England Patriots: C

Key Additions
WR Nelson Agholor
TE Jonnu Smith
TE Hunter Henry
LB Kyle Van Noy
DE Matt Judon
CB Jalen Mills
OT Trent Brown

Key Departures
S Patrick Chung
OT Marcus Cannon
OG Joe Thuney

New England has not traditionally been a team that splashes the cash, but they did so this free agency. They went heavy early, which means some overpaying occurred. They bulked up their pass-catchers with Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry, and Nelson Agholor. This is great and all if the Patriots invest in a young quarterback for this draft. Otherwise, I am not going to be holding my breath for a vastly improved offense.

Jalen Mills and Matt Judon are the bigger defensive names they grabbed, which they needed after seeing some departures over the last two offseasons. Judon fits well into a Patriots defensive scheme that can utilize his best strengths like Baltimore did. Losing Marcus Cannon and Joe Thuney will hurt a bit, but Trent Brown should relieve some of those needs.

New York JetsNew York Jets: A-

Key Additions
WR Corey Davis
DE Carl Lawson
CB Lamarcus Joyner
WR Keelan Cole

Key Departures
WR Breshad Perriman
DE Henry Anderson

I am a big fan of what the Jets did this offseason, and it starts with getting rid of Adam Gase and implementing a coaching staff that can get the culture right in New York. They also started to add to their major needs, which they can continue to do in the NFL Draft with all the picks they had. Corey Davis has had a solid start to his career, even though some might think he is still not fulfilling where he was drafted, which is fine because the Jets didn’t draft him. Carl Lawson was one of the better EDGE players in this free agency class, and the Jets really needed an outside player.

Lamarcus Joyner and Keelan Cole are decent filler pieces and will help with depth. I would expect others to emerge after the draft to see more snaps, especially over Cole. This offense isn’t looking so bad anymore to fall into for Zach Wilson, and the Jets certainly won’t be done adding more weapons to both sides of the ball.

Miami DolphinsMiami Dolphins: B-

Key Additions
WR Will Fuller
CB Justin Coleman
LB Benardrick McKinney

Key Departures
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
DE Kyle Van Noy

Miami is getting to a spot where they don’t have any major needs, but the front seven and offensive line were certainly in the mix as positions to add to. The Dolphins did add Benardrick McKinney, which adds to the front seven, and they also signed Will Fuller to a safe one-year deal. If Fuller can stay healthy, which has been an issue, he gives the Dolphins a player that can really stretch the field and make plays. They also cover themselves if he can’t stay healthy given the contract and also the depth they have. Miami should also be in the mix for a wide receiver.

While the acquisitions were there for Miami, outside of Fuller, it likely won’t make a huge difference in the win column. A lot is going to ride on how well Tua plays. Either way, this team will be competitive with a very good secondary and a growing group of weapons.

Jason Guilbault has been writing and podcasting in the fantasy sports world for over five years. You can find his work at Daily Fantasy Cafe. He is an avid Tottenham fan, and follows the Boston sports teams. When he isn’t diving into stats, he is enjoying the outdoors or down at the local brewery.

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