AFC East Notes: Patriots, Jets, Austin

The Patriots have carried at least one undrafted rookie in Week 1 for the past 15 seasons, which brings intrigue to their UDFA class, as Nick Underhill of The Athletic writes.

A quick look at the guaranteed money given to this year’s undrafted rookies would indicate that tight end Andrew Beck ($115K), linebacker Terez Hall ($85K), safety Malik Gant ($85K), wide receiver Jakobi Meyers ($70K), offensive lineman Tyler Gauthier ($70K), and wide receiver Ryan Davis ($70K) have the best odds of making the final cut, but that’s not necessarily the case – UDFA cornerbacks Jonathan Jones ($35K) and Malcolm Butler ($30K) made the Patriots’ 53-man roster with smaller guarantees in the past.

Taking a deeper dive, Underhill writes that only three of last year’s six highest-paid UDFAs made the roster of their respective teams. Bucs safety Godwin Igwebuike ($125K), Vikings corner Holton Hill ($75K) and Jets safety Brandon Bryant ($70,000) made it, but Saints tight end Deon Yelder ($90K), Patriots running back Ralph Webb ($70K), and 49ers corner Tarvarus McFadden ($90K) did not earn a spot on the Week 1 roster.

Moral of the story: Follow the money, but not too closely.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • The status of Jets rookie cornerback Blessuan Austin is up in the air after he underwent two ACL surgeries on the same knee in back-to-back years, Rich Cimini of tweets. For now, he’ll begin training camp on the PUP list. The Jets are hoping that the Rutgers product will be able to see the field sooner rather than later and, if he does, he could prove to be a strong value as a sixth-round choice.
  • The Bills are giving former Auburn wide receiver Duke Williams an opportunity to get his career back on track, as John Wawrow of The Associated Press writes. Williams, a 27-year-old rookie, was on track to be a potential first-round pick in 2016, but went undrafted thanks to a brawl that left his teammate with a broken jaw. After that, he took his talents north of the border and, in 2018, Williams led the CFL with 1,579 yards receiving. Wawrow hears that he has a legitimate chance of making the final cut, despite the offseason additions of Cole Beasley and speedster John Brown in free agency.
  • On Sunday afternoon, the Dolphins elected to give running back Mark Walton another chance by signing him to a low-cost deal.
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