The rumors of the Patriots‘ demise in recent years have been greatly exaggerated, but even though the club is still heading to the playoffs and remains in the hunt for a first-round bye, it doesn’t appear that this is the same New England team that we have become accustomed to. The Pats’ aging stars are beginning to play like aging stars, head coach Bill Belichick‘s future is uncertain, and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports says there is some concern about how the team will function when owner Robert Kraft fully transfers control of day-to-day operations to his son.
As such, La Canfora believes the club could see a mass exodus of coaching and front-office talent this offseason, with OC Josh McDaniels, DC Brian Flores, and director of player personnel Nick Caserio all potentially on the move. Of course, New England could turn it on and roll to another Super Bowl title, but even if that does happen, this could be a very tumultuous winter in Foxborough.
Now for more from the AFC East:
- Mike Reiss of ESPN.com observes that Josh Gordon‘s indefinite suspension marked the Patriots‘ 26th transaction involving a wide receiver this year, which is unusually high. It reinforces how difficult it has been for New England to decisively address its WR needs — and it also calls into question the team’s decision to part with Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola — and Reiss believes the Pats will make receiving talent a top priority this offseason. We learned more troubling details about Gordon’s suspension this morning.
- We have heard that the Dolphins could be in for a major overhaul this offseason, and like his colleagues, La Canfora believes that owner Stephen Ross could part ways with vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum and head coach Adam Gase. However, La Canfora reports that Ross thinks highly of general manager Chris Grier — who holds the GM title but who does not have final authority over football decisions — and that Grier is likely to remain with Miami. If the Dolphins do go searching for a new executive this offseason to replace Tannenbaum, Vikings assistant GM George Paton would be near the top of the list, as we heard earlier this month.
- Dolphins running back Frank Gore, whose season came to a premature end due to a mid-foot sprain, has already indicated he wants to play in 2019. And, as Safid Deen of the South Florida Sun Sentinel writes, Gore wants to return to Miami. Given the surprising success that he had with his hometown Dolphins this year, Gore may get his wish.
- Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv lays out the Jets‘ biggest offseason needs — pass rusher, wide receiver, running back, and offensive line — and offers his take as to how to best address those needs.
- Darryl Slater of NJ.com looks at how head coaching candidates might view the Jets‘ soon-to-be vacant HC position, and he concludes that, although it has some drawbacks, it is still an attractive opening that will tempt some of the team’s top targets.