East Notes: Pats, Bills, JPP

The Patriots are again among the league’s most legitimate Super Bowl contenders, and although their slow start to 2014 led some to believe that their dynasty was nearing its end, the fact that they brought home the Lombardi Trophy and have opened 2015 undefeated have silenced those talks. And, as Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes, New England’s window of opportunity won’t be closing anytime soon.

Per La Canfora, there is no significant player on the Patriots’ roster whose contract expires at the end of this season, and the team projects to be at least $8MM under the 2016 salary cap. Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski will count just $22MM against the cap, and no one will earn more than $10MM in 2016. That means that the team can supplement its already-talented roster with marquee free agents–something it has not frequently done in the past–and extend their reign of dominance for another few years. La Canfora also notes that, since New England will be without its first-round pick as a result of the DeflateGate scandal, it could look to move Jimmy Garoppolo for a high pick.

Now for some more notes from the league’s east divisions:

  • Washington and the Jets are squaring off this afternoon, and as Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com writes, the Jets are looking across the field at two players who could be on their radar in 2016: Kirk Cousins and Robert Griffin III. The future for both players is up in the air, and New York, of couse, could be in the market for a quarterback. Jets head coach Todd Bowles was effusive in his praise for Cousins, but indicated that RGIII would not be a consideration for his club.
  • There were reports this morning that E.J. Manuel could rekindle the Bills‘ quarterback competition with a strong showing today, but Joe Buscaglia of WKBW thinks differently (via Twitter). He notes that Buffalo coaches love Tyrod Taylor and that it would take more than a good performance for the team to even think about moving on from Taylor.
  • La Canfora tweets that the Bills are “very concerned” that wideout Percy Harvin could miss significant time with his latest injury. Harvin has not played a significant role in the team’s offense this year, and this could represent yet another major setback for the once-explosive playmaker.
  • Last Thursday, Sammy Watkins publicly bemoaned his lack of targets in the Bills‘ offense thus far in 2015, and Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com breaks down in detail what targets mean to a wide receiver from a contractual standpoint.
  • Jay Glazer of FOX Sports tweets that Jason Pierre-Paul will report to the Giants this Tuesday so that the team can check in on his progress. Pierre-Paul is hoping to play soon, but as Jordan Raanan of NJ.com writes, there is still doubt that JPP will be cleared.
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