AFC East Notes: Jets, Harbor, Bills

Jets GM Mike Maccagnan has frustrated and disappointed fans with his hard-line stance on the Ryan Fitzpatrick and Muhammad Wilkerson contract negotiations, but Rich Cimini of commends Maccagnan for at least being willing to take an unpopular position and hold his ground in a pragmatic way that suggests he has the club’s long-term interests at heart. Cimini adds that Maccagnan’s approach is a refreshing change of pace from that of predecessor Mike Tannenbaum, who often made decisions with an eye towards fan and media approval. Of course, now that Maccagnan has drawn a line in the sand, he cannot back down for fear of losing credibility in the agent community, but he also cannot afford to enter the season without Fitzpatrick and Wilkerson.

As we wait to see if Maccagnan can pull off this delicate balancing act, let’s check out a few more links from the AFC East:

  • In the same piece, Cimini says he would be surprised if Wilkerson reported to Jets training camp–after all, he’s not under contract, so he cannot be fined for missing camp–but he would also be surprised if the Pro Bowl defensive end missed any regular season games. Perhaps the two sides can work out a deal wherein Wilkerson agrees to play out the 2016 season for the amount of the franchise tender ($15.7MM), and the team agrees to not use the tag on him again in 2017.
  • In a separate article, Cimini reports that the mother of Jets rookie linebacker Darron Lee, Candice Lee, has quit her job as a reporter and weekend anchor for WCMH-TV in Columbus, Ohio, and will serve as Darron’s manager. She will devote her time to handling her son’s off-the-field affairs, including endorsements and marketing (of course, there is not yet any money to manage, as Lee is one of four 2016 first-round draft picks who have yet to sign their rookie contracts).
  • Now that Patriots No. 3 tight end Michael Williams suffered a season-ending ACL tear, free agent acquisition Clay Harbor becomes the favorite to assume that role, as Mike Reiss of writes. However, Reiss cautions that even though Harbor received a $400K signing bonus–which is significant for a player for Harbor’s caliber–he will still have to earn his spot on the field (after all, the team handed out a $450K signing bonus to Reggie Wayne last year, and Wayne’s tenure as a Patriot lasted all of two weeks).
  • Jason Fitzgerald of takes a look at the best and worst contracts on the Bills, and he concludes that the best contract is Tyrod Taylor‘s fairly modest pact, while the worst is Marcell Dareus‘ mega-deal that he signed last year. Fitzgerald goes into detail on both contracts, and the whole piece is well worth a read.
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