Jeff Thomas

AFC East Notes: O’Shea, Warford, Ryan

The Dolphins fired former OC Chad O’Shea after just one season in his post, and the move surprised many at the time. After all, Miami’s offense wasn’t exactly brimming with talent, but O’Shea’s unit actually ranked in the top-10 in passing offense and top-15 in scoring offense after QB Ryan Fitzpatrick reentered the starting lineup in Week 7.

We had previously heard that O’Shea’s offense was overly complex for the young Dolphins talent, but as Barry Jackson, Adam H. Beasley, and Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald write, the term “overly complex” may not be strong enough.

O’Shea, who brought in elements of the Patriots’ notoriously difficult offensive system after spending 10 years as New England’s WRs coach, tried to install especially advanced and complicated portions of the Pats’ scheme, which went over the heads of his new charges in Miami. And though he can’t be faulted for trying to replicate an offense that has thrived for years, players complained that he was a terrible teacher to boot, with one player calling his instruction during film study a “disaster.”

Head coach Brian Flores had O’Shea pulled out of his exit meeting with Fitzpatrick to advise him of his dismissal. O’Shea was reportedly blindsided by the news, and Fitzpatrick was apparently taken aback as well. It’s unknown if Flores asked Fitzpatrick about Chan Gailey — who was immediately hired as O’Shea’s replacement — prior to O’Shea’s firing. Fitzpatrick has played under Gailey for five seasons.

Let’s round up several more items from the AFC East:

  • In his most recent mailbag, Connor Hughes of The Athletic says the Jets should pursue former Saints guard Larry Warford, who was released by New Orleans earlier this month. Hughes believes Warford would represent an upgrade over incumbent RG Brian Winters — whose release would create a cap savings of $7MM — but he does not get the sense the Jets are interested. Warford does not fit the mold of the athletic, quick O-linemen that head coach Adam Gase wants in his system.
  • Hughes also notes that while the Jets are definitely interested in free agent corner Logan Ryan, Ryan will have to come off his current $10MM/year ask in order to reach an accord with Gang Green. We recently heard that New York believes it will sign Ryan, and it seems as if no team is willing to touch the $10MM sticker price at this point.
  • The Patriots have a talented crop of undrafted free agents, and their UDFA wideouts are particularly intriguing. Doug Kyed of believes Miami product Jeff Thomas has the best chance to make the team, though Will Hastings — who received a salary guarantee of $57.5K and who served as Jarrett Stidham‘s slot receiver at Auburn — also has a good shot.

Patriots Sign 16 UDFAs

The Patriots have announced agreements with 16 undrafted free agents. Here is their full list:

This four-receiver group will join a Pats team that both did not draft a wideout and one that rosters a soon-to-be 34-year-old Julian Edelman and a soon-to-be 31-year-old Mohamed Sanu. The latter is entering a contract year.

None of the rookie quartet put up standout career numbers. Thomas, who is 5-foot-10 and 174 pounds, left school early. He surpassed 16 yards per catch in two Hurricane seasons. Zuber transferred from Kansas State but barely eclipsed 200 receiving yards at Mississippi State. The 5-8 Riley served as the Orange’s kick and punt returner. Hastings, who is 5-10 and averaged 20.2 yards per catch as a junior in 2018, will see $57.5K of his rookie deal guaranteed, per Tom Pelissero of (on Twitter).

Harris finished his Razorbacks career with three straight 100-plus-tackle seasons and will see a sizable portion of his rookie deal guaranteed. The Pats are guaranteeing $140K of Harris’ contract, per’s Doug Kyed (on Twitter). Bryant will receive a $50K guarantee, Kyed adds (via Twitter).

Taylor goes only 5-6, but he surpassed 3,000 rushing yards with the Wildcats in four seasons. While he only topped 30 receptions in one of those (2019), his 2018 season featured 1,434 rushing yards. Berry and Burt bring New England’s rookie tight end total to four, coupling with the two third-round picks the Pats used at the position. The two combined for just 40 career receptions.

Agent Notes: Suh, Thomas, Harris

Here are some updates on a number of players’ representation, all reported by Liz Mullen.

  • Ndamukong Suh chose not to sign with an agent prior to his most recent free-agency and instead represented himself when he agreed to a one-year, $8MM deal to stay with the Buccaneers (Twitter link).
  • Draft prospect Jeff Thomas, a wide receiver out of Miami, has decided to change his representation as we approach the home stretch to the draft. Instead of going forward with First Round Management LLC, he will be represented by Drew Rosenhaus and Robert Bailey at Rosenhaus Sports (Twitter link).
  • Broncos defensive lineman Shelby Harris re-signed with the team on a one-year deal worth up to $3.25MM. However, that did not come before a recent game of musical chairs representing Harris. Ryan Williams of A1 NFL negotiated his re-up in Denver, but he had switched from the National Sports Agency to Rosenhaus Sports in January (Twitter link).

NFL Draft Notes: Swift, Jeudy, Diggs, OL

D’Andre Swift would be in the running to be the first running back taken in the 2020 draft, and a report surfaced Tuesday indicating the junior Georgia back will leave school early. But Swift, taking to Twitter, denied that report and indicated he has yet to make a decision. Swift said he will not decide his draft status until after the Bulldogs’ Sugar Bowl game. The modern norm has been for running backs to declare early to conserve mileage for the NFL, so it remains a good bet Swift will try to become a first-round pick rather than return to Athens next season. Swift has rushed for a career-high 1,216 yards this season and has averaged north of six yards per carry in each of his three years. Recent Georgia ball-carriers Todd Gurley and Sony Michel were first-round picks; Todd McShay’s initial 2020 mock draft has Swift going 21st overall.

Here is the latest from the draft world:

  • Despite neither being seniors, Georgia is in line to lose both of its starting tackles. Shortly after left tackle Andrew Thomas declared for the draft, Bulldogs right tackle Isaiah Wilson revealed (via Twitter) he will leave school early as well. Wilson is just a sophomore but was Georgia’s starting right tackle for two seasons. Both Bulldogs will skip the Sugar Bowl. A five-star recruit in 2017, the 6-foot-7 Wilson stands to be an early- to mid-round draft pick.
  • Long projected to be a top-10 pick, Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy may be seeing his stock dip a bit. Due to his size (listed by Alabama as 6-1 and 192 pounds) and the depth of the receiver pool four months ahead of the draft, Albert Breer of notes Jeudy may no longer be a top-10 lock. Both Clemson’s Tee Higgins and Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb are now threats to become the first receiver taken, per Breer. For what it’s worth, McShay mocks Jeudy at No. 3 overall. The junior Crimson Tide playmaker’s yards-per-catch figure dropped by five-plus yards this season, to 13.5.
  • Alabama defensive back Trevon Diggs is not participating in pre-Citrus Bowl practices and looks set to head to the NFL. The younger brother of Stefon Diggs slots as Scouts Inc.’s No. 39 overall prospect. He intercepted three passes, taking one back for a touchdown, as a junior this season.
  • Miami wide receiver Jeff Thomas will leave school early, the junior announced (via Instagram). The 5-10 wideout did not surpass 600 yards in any of his three Hurricanes seasons and is not rated as a top-150 prospect, per Scouts Inc.