For the first time since they drafted Drew Bledsoe at No. 1 overall in 1993, the Patriots have a need at quarterback. Tom Brady‘s Buccaneers announcement appears imminent. As for Brady’s Foxborough exit, Robert Kraft did not believe the 42-year-old icon wanted to make it work in New England any longer.
“This wasn’t about that,” Kraft said regarding the financial component to this process (via Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston). “Tom was not going to be happy being in our system.”
Brady will leave the Patriots for a team that employs arguably the NFL’s premier wideout tandem — in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin — and tight ends O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate. The Patriots’ refusal to give Brady an extension in 2019, along with their diminishing post-Rob Gronkowski skill-position cadre helped lead Brady to Florida, Curran posits. Replacing even an aging version of Brady will certainly not be easy for the Pats. They have been linked to Andy Dalton, but Albert Breer of SI.com anticipates the team will wait and acquire a cheaper veteran. Among the passers left in free agency: Jameis Winston, Colt McCoy and Blake Bortles.
Here is the latest from the AFC East, starting with news from the Jets’ latest effort to upgrade their edge-rushing situation:
- Linked to being interested in a Joe Burrow trade-up, the Dolphins still plan to attempt that move, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald notes. While the Bengals are not expected to entertain trade-up offers, the Dolphins are the only team with three first-round picks. If the Dolphins cannot pull off a Burrow coup, they want to leave the draft with either Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert, Salguero adds. The Dolphins now must be cognizant of the Chargers’ actions. The Bolts, who pick one spot behind the Dolphins at No. 6, are not expected to pursue any veteran quarterbacks after missing on Brady. That points them to taking a passer at No. 6 or trading in front of the Dolphins to land one.
- Long connected to Dante Fowler, the Jets watched the UFA edge defender choose the Falcons instead. The Jets were not prepared to go to the $16MM-AAV place the Falcons did, per Connor Hughes of The Athletic (on Twitter). Gang Green was linked to Fowler earlier in free agency, along with Jadeveon Clowney, however Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News noted to PFR the team was an aggressive player for Fowler and was not in the mix for the former top-five pick once free agency began. While the latter remains available, almost certainly due to injury concerns, the Jets’ edge options are narrowed. Longtime Jet Jordan Jenkins remains unsigned as well.
- The Jets have designated Trumaine Johnson as a post-June 1 cut, allowing them to spread out the cap hit that comes from releasing a highly paid player two years into a five-year deal. Johnson’s release will now cost the Jets $4MM in 2020 and $8MM in 2021, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com tweets. Overall, the Jets saved $11MM in 2020 by making this cut. They cannot use any funds created by the Johnson release until June, however.