There’s no been “no progress” in talks between the Jets and both defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, sources tell Brian Cosetllo of the New York Post. The Wilkerson news isn’t surprising, because despite the fact that New York is reportedly planning a “last-ditch” effort to retain Wilkerson for the long term, the two sides have been far apart for some time. The Fitzpatrick front, then, is a bit more interesting, and Costello says there’s a “thought” that the veteran quarterback is waiting for another team to suffer an injury, hoping he can parlay such a scenario into a payday. The Jets, however, may need to set a deadline for negotiations, as Costello writes that it might be unfair for the club to essentially hold Geno Smith in reserve, waiting for Fitzpatrick to sign.
Here’s the latest from the AFC East:
- In a separate piece, Costello profiles Jets offensive guard James Carpenter, who signed with the club prior to the 2015 season, and has already agreed to restructure his contract. By reworking his deal, Carpenter has made it more difficult for Gang Green to part ways with him, as he increased his cap hit in each of the next two seasons by $1.23MM. As Costello writes, Carpenter excelled in the run game last season, and was particularly adept in blocking for running back screens, which should prove a useful skill during the upcoming season given that New York added Matt Forte over the offseason.
- One of the key questions facing the Bills this season is whether they have enough depth on the defensive side of the ball, writes Joe Buscaglia of WKBW. While the club has solid starting options, Buffalo could be in trouble if injuries hit. And of course, health concerns have already struck the roster, as first-round pass rusher Shaq Lawson is expected to miss several regular season games after undergoing shoulder surgery. General manager Doug Whaley said in May that the Bills could target a veteran free agent — he specifically name-checked Dwight Freeney — if the club’s young players didn’t develop as hoped, and it’s fair to assume Buffalo would also check in on veteran options if injuries deplete the team’s depth.
- Bills second-round linebacker Reggie Ragland could end up being the best AFC East newcomer, opines Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. Ragland will act as a captain of the Buffalo defense, as he’ll start on the inside next to Preston Brown. Reiss points to former Rex Ryan pupil David Harris as the model for Ragland, but it’s an open question as to how much Ragland can contribute given that he could simply be a two-down player, at least to begin the season.
- The presence of new head coach Adam Gase might not be enough to help turn around Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill‘s career, argues Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. Tannehill will be playing in his third offensive scheme in just his fifth NFL season, so no amount of coaching may be able to help him live up to the contract extension he signed last summer.