We heard last week that Jacoby Brissett‘s place on the Patriots‘ roster may not be safe, and Ben Volin of the Boston Globe doubled down on that report this week. Volin reiterated that Brissett’s performance in the spring and in training camp has left much to be desired, and he says it is fair to wonder whether the Patriots refused to deal Jimmy Garoppolo because they believe Garoppolo represents their future, or because they have no faith in Brissett should Tom Brady be forced to miss time (in truth, it is surely some combination of the two). In any event, Volin opines that New England may have to keep Garoppolo next year, even if that means putting the franchise tag on him (at an estimated $25-26MM cost). After all, the team will still be loaded with talent and should be a championship contender in 2018, but a Brady injury could waste all of that talent if the No. 2 QB cannot adequately replace him.
Now for more from the AFC East:
- Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi is still in concussion protocol, but he did practice today and the team is excited about his progress, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald tweets. Ajayai left practice early with a trainer, but that was due to a hydration issue, Jackson notes.
- Dolphins second-round draft choice Raekwon McMillan, who was expected to see significant time at middle linebacker this season, tore his ACL while playing on the punt coverage team in Miami’s first preseason tilt Thursday night. He will now miss his entire rookie season, and head coach Adam Gase has been predictably criticized for using a player of McMillan’s importance on special teams. Roy Cummings of Florida Football Insiders believes such criticism is unwarranted, writing that a head coach cannot field kickoff, kickoff return, punt coverage, and punt return teams without playing first- or second-year guys. Likewise, you cannot expect those players to perform well on special teams in the regular season if they do not see live action in the preseason.
- Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News offers his take on which wide receivers will make the Bills‘ roster after the team dealt Sammy Watkins and acquired Jordan Matthews. Skurski says Matthews, Zay Jones, and Anquan Boldin will make the club, which is a given, and he adds that Rod Streater is likely to earn a spot due to his excellent camp. Skurski says he currently projects Andre Holmes and Brandon Tate to round out the WR corps, but the fact that cutting Holmes could help the team land a high compensatory draft choice next season certainly works against him. If Holmes should be cut, Walter Powell could find himself on the 53-man come Week 1.
- Christian Hackenberg played fairly well in the Jets‘ first preseason game last night, thereby creating more fodder for Gang Green’s starting QB discussion. But as Laura Albanese of Newsday writes, there are other competitions worth watching. For instance, the battle for the team’s starting center position is tighter than originally anticipated, as Jonotthan Harrison is putting pressure on presumed starter Wesley Johnson. Likewise, Albanese writes that Brent Qvale and Brandon Shell appear to be neck-and-neck in their race for the Jets’ right tackle job.