AFC East Notes: Sheard, Patriots, Jets

Following a productive 2015 season, many expected Patriots defensive end Jabaal Sheard to get paid this offseason. Instead, the Patriots have continued to reduce the 27-year-old’s playing time, culminating in the former second-rounder being inactive for last weekend’s game against the 49ers.

For what it’s worth, the impending free agent isn’t sweating his reduced role.

“It is what it is,” Sheard told WEEI’s Ryan Hannable. “I can only control what I can control.”

Sheard has compiled 18 tackles and 3.5 sacks this season, and he still has plenty of time to pad those numbers before he reaches free agency. Ultimately, the veteran understands that there’s only so much he can control.

“Just do my job, I think,” Sheard said. “Everything else, leave it up to coach. Just practice hard and when I get the opportunity play hard.”

Let’s check out some more notes out of the AFC East…

  • Tom E. Curran of examines what the Patriots could do with all of their cap space this offseason. The writer believes the team will look to retain many of their key free agents, including Dont’a Hightower, Malcolm Butler, and Martellus Bennett. Curran notes that Sheard and defensive tackle Alan Branch “don’t figure to be high-priority guys at this juncture.”
  • The Jets will likely miss the playoffs for the sixth straight season, and Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News says it’s time for owner Woody Johnson to “tear it down and set a proper foundation.” The writer believes it’s best to build through the draft, and he cautions that the organization should avoid “the quick fix” signings.
  • If the Jets finish the season with a 5-11 or 6-10 record, ESPN’s Rich Cimini believes coach Todd Bowles will keep his job. The writer notes that the organization is valuing continuity, and firing Bowles after only two seasons would certainly contradict that strategy.
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