AFC East Notes: Floyd, Patriots, Dolphins

Over the past two offseasons, the Bills have added both the Super Bowl LVI-winning Rams’ top edge rushers. Leonard Floyd‘s deal did not move close to the Von Miller ballpark, with the Bills guaranteeing the younger defensive end $7MM. The incentives that could bump Floyd’s deal to $9MM are now known as well. They are each sack-based. Floyd can earn $500K bumps by reaching the eight- and 10-sack plateaus, Albert Breer of tweets. If Floyd registers 12 sacks — which would be a career-high total — he can add $1MM to his base pay. Over the past three seasons, Floyd has hit the first benchmark three times (9.5 sacks in 2021, nine in ’22) and the second threshold once (10.5 sacks in 2020). The Bills tacked on three void years to the deal to keep Floyd’s cap number at $2.6MM.

The Bills began talking to Floyd just before the draft, per GM Brandon Beane, who adds (via the Buffalo News’ Katherine Fitzgerald) Miller led the way in recruiting the former top-10 pick. Floyd turned down at least one more lucrative offer to join Miller and Gregory Rousseau in Buffalo. With Miller now aiming to return in Week 1 after rehabbing an ACL tear, the Floyd addition becomes more interesting given the pair’s production together in Los Angeles.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • Although Bill O’Brien‘s Patriots past undoubtedly helped him take over as offensive coordinator, but the former Texans HC is using concepts from his most recent gig as he installs his offense. O’Brien is adding pieces from the Alabama offense he ran, Jeff Howe of The Athletic notes (subscription required). This stands to be good news for Mac Jones, who starred at Alabama in 2020. While Tua Tagovailoa‘s Crimson Tide successor did not play for O’Brien in college, he helped the incoming Alabama OC with the playbook on his way out in 2021. Considering Jones’ issues with the Patriots’ Matt Patricia– and Joe Judge-run offense in 2022, O’Brien’s arrival is shaping up as a significant step forward. Jones looks far more comfortable thus far in O’Brien’s offense, Howe adds.
  • A period during the Patriots’ recent OTA sessions may shed some early light on Mike Gesicki‘s New England role. With other tight ends staying on one field to work an inside-run drill, Mike Reiss of notes Gesicki was working with the Pats’ wide receivers on another field. Gesicki is not known for his run-blocking ability, which became an issue in Mike McDaniel‘s Miami offense last season, but he has long been a proven pass catcher. Lining up as a receiver will not be foreign to Gesicki, though it is still a bit early to determine the five-year Dolphin’s true role with his new team.
  • The Dolphins initially came into the offseason with a goal not to devote much money to their backup quarterback spot, but Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes they became “smitten” with Mike White. Miami added White early during the legal tampering period, giving the ex-Jets starter a two-year, $8MM deal ($4.5MM guaranteed). It is interesting the Dolphins would have considered skimping at QB2, considering how Tagovailoa’s injury trouble hijacked their promising 2022 season. But White (seven starts from 2021-22) is now in Teddy Bridgewater‘s former role. White, however, has also dealt with multiple injuries over the past two years. Skylar Thompson and rookie UDFA James Blackman are the other Miami QBs.
  • James Robinson‘s Patriots release came after the team included three injury waivers in his contract, Breer tweets. This rare protection measure included waivers on both Robinson’s knees and his left Achilles. This since-scrapped contract — Robinson has cleared waivers — illustrates the ex-Jaguars starter’s lack of options. Robinson, who saw a torn Achilles halt his early-career surge in December 2021, is facing an uncertain NFL future. The 24-year-old back has yet to earn much, either. Robinson totaled a rookie UDFA-record 1,414 scrimmage yards in 2020 but spent his first three seasons attached to league-minimum salaries.
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