East Notes: Hughes, Coughlin, Harbaugh

Set to enter unrestricted free agency in March, Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes is enjoying his typically (since joining Buffalo) excellent season, posting 9.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, and grading as the 15th-best 4-3 defensive end among 55 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required). As Tim Graham of the Buffalo News writes, both club and player will only guardedly discuss the possibility of an extension. Buffalo management claims it wants to retain Hughes, and Hughes says he’s simply concentrating on football. Still, Graham posits that a $10MM average annual value isn’t out of the question for the pass-rusher. Here are some more notes from the East divisions…

  • The Giants 25-24 loss to the Jaguars today probably signaled the end of head coach Tom Coughlin’s reign, argues Jordan Raanan of NJ.com. New York could secure a top-five selection in next year’s draft depending on the rest of the season’s outcome, and clubs picking that high often choose to undergo a complete overhaul. As Raanan writes, it would be odd to hit the reset button while still employing a 69-year-old head coach.
  • Taking the same tack as Raanan above, ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano also believes the Giants need to start at square one, but places more of the blame for 2014’s failures on the shoulders of general manager Jerry Reese. Reese, writes Graziano, provided Coughlin with a roster that was even worse than last season’s, although Coughlin and his assistants did fail to “regenerate the roster from within.”
  • Following today’s report that the Jets could be interested in 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com wonders what a Harbaugh-to-NY move would mean for current GM John Idzik. Harbaugh would presumably would control over the roster if he does take over another team, meaning Idzik, whose work has been maligned this season, could be in trouble.
  • Jeremy Maclin is a free agent at season’s end, and according to Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer, he’s been a perfect fit for Chip Kelly’s locker room culture, meaning that the veteran receiver could be a good bet to return to the Eagles in 2015.
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