AFC Notes: Browns, Jets, Bridgewater, Cardona

The Browns backfield is loaded with talent, including veteran Carlos Hyde, pass-catcher Duke Johnson, and second-rounder Nick Chubb. While Hyde is expected to sit atop the depth chart at the beginning of the preseason, running backs coach Freddie Kitchens said his team will ultimately be “riding the hot hand” next season.

“Ultimately, all three of those guys can run our running game,” Kitchens told Andrew Gribble of ClevelandBrowns.com. “Duke can do a few more things in the passing game. Ultimately, we feel like that is a position of strength. Coach (Bill) Parcells taught me a long time ago, do not turn a position of strength into a weakness. You would like to keep it a strength, and we are fortunate that is where we are.”

Despite Hyde getting early-down looks and Johnson playing a major role in the passing game, Kitchens still believes that his rookie back will end up being an x-factor for Cleveland.

“He has a great work ethic. He is physical in everything that he does,” Kitchens said “He will take a handoff, and the handoff is violent. I think that is a very unique perspective from a running back standpoint that everything he does is violent. I think that he brings that to the table.”

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the AFC…

  • Last preseason, Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan traded Sheldon Richardson, satisfying the team’s needs for receiver depth (he added wideout Jermaine Kearse) and future trade assets (2018 second-rounder) along the way. Could he make another deal this year? ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini believes there’s a possibility. The team has a need at pass rusher, and the writer points to Broncos linebacker Shane Ray and Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler as potential targets. Cimini also believes quarterback Teddy Bridgewater could end up being trade bait, but it’d require rookie Sam Darnold winning the backup gig.
  • Patriots long snapper Joe Cardona recently inked a four-year, $1MM (with $850K in bonuses), and ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss takes a look at some of the more lucrative long snapper deals around the NFL. Rams long snapper Jake McQuaide is the highest earner at the position, collecting $1.175MM each season. Meanwhile, Cardona’s $1MM in guarantees only rivals the deal signed by Jaguars back Carson Tinker.
  • Yesterday, the Patriots signed their top draft pick, offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn. Following the deal, first-round running back Sony Michel is the team’s only unsigned draft pick.
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