The Raiders and star defender Khalil Mack are embroiled in contract negotiations that could result in Mack being traded. If that happens, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com suggests that the Jets should pounce. Gang Green has little pass rushing talent at the moment, and the club has $82MM of projected cap room in 2019, with only one big contract (Leonard Williams) on the horizon. Oakland would demand at least a first-round pick in return, and in addition to negotiating a high-level trade, the Jets would also need to work out a long-term deal with Mack. Those types of deals are difficult to pull off, and it is still unlikely that the Raiders part with Mack, whom they can keep under club control through three more seasons if they so choose. However, if Oakland does begin entertaining offers, Cimini would not be surprised if the Jets are one of the first teams to jump on the phone.
Let’s take a look at a few more rumors from the AFC East:
- Jets OLB Lorenzo Mauldin is still around because of New York’s aforementioned dearth of pass rushers, but Mauldin, a 2015 third-round pick, has been dogged by injuries throughout his brief career, and he hasn’t been particularly effective even when he’s gotten on the field. As such, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News tweets that Mauldin could be cut sooner rather than later, and that New York could let him go with an injury settlement (Mauldin is currently dealing with a leg issue that kept him out of the team’s preseason opener).
- In a full-length piece, Mehta says that Brandon Copeland, a former UDFA out of UPenn who signed a one-year deal with the Jets this offseason after missing all of 2017, has been very impressive in camp and has been taking first-team reps over the past few days. Given the Jets’ pass rushing needs, Copeland has a real chance to get plenty of playing time this season.
- We have written extensively on Tom Brady‘s new contract with the Patriots in recent days, and the moral of the story is that it looks as if Brady will continue playing through at least the 2019 season, and that the two sides could come to terms on another new deal next year in order to push some of Brady’s increased 2019 cap number into 2020. However, as Ben Volin of the Boston Globe tweets, since Brady and the Pats officially put pen to paper on August 9, 2018, they can’t renegotiate his contract again until August 9, 2019.
- Trent Brown, whom the Patriots acquired via trade with the 49ers earlier this offseason, is the favorite to replace Nate Solder as New England’s starting left tackle, per Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. Brown is eligible for unrestricted free agency next year, so he will have plenty of incentive to perform at a high level.
- Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News calls 2018 the most critical season of Bills DE Jerry Hughes‘ career. Hughes’ volatile on-field personality could be overlooked when he was posting double-digit sack totals earlier in his career, but his sack numbers have slumped since he signed a five-year, $45MM in 2015, so the unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties are a little harder to stomach. His $10.4MM salary in 2018 is the highest on the Bills, and while Buffalo could have cut him this offseason and saved a little cap room, the team could save $7.5MM by releasing him after the 2018 campaign, so he may need to show a return to his early-career form to stay in Buffalo and earn another $10.4MM next year. For what it’s worth, the Bills think Hughes’ sack numbers will be improved with the addition of Trent Murphy and (hopefully) some growth out of Shaq Lawson. Plus, Hughes did grade as a top-10 run defender (among edge players) last season, in Pro Football Focus’ view.
- The Bills shook up their defensive line rotation earlier today.
- The Dolphins are visiting with the increasingly-popular Bashaud Breeland today.