Trent Brown

AFC Contract Details: Titans, Jeudy, Browns, Brown, Bengals, Broncos, Bills, Jets, Texans

Here are contract details from some of the latest deals agreed to around the league.

  • Calvin Ridley, WR (Titans). Four years, $92MM. In addition to his $20MM signing bonus, Ridley will see his first two base salaries ($4.5MM, $22,5MM) fully guaranteed. If on Tennessee’s roster by Day 5 of the 2025 league year, Ridley will receive a $3.02MM guarantee for his 2026 base salary ($20.24MM), per OverTheCap. If Ridley remains on Tennessee’s roster by Day 5 of the 2026 league year, he will earn a $1MM bonus. This still stands to give the Titans some 2026 flexibility.
  • Jerry Jeudy, WR (Browns). Three years, $52.5MM. The recently traded wideout’s base value, as expected, checks in lower than the initial numbers. The ex-Denver target will see guarantees into his the deal’s third year, with’s Albert Breer noting $6MM will be guaranteed for 2026. Jeudy received $41MM guaranteed at signing.
  • Curtis Samuel, WR (Bills). Three years, $24MM. The Bills are guaranteeing $5MM of Samuel’s $6.91MM 2025 base salary at signing. The entire ’25 base is guaranteed for injury, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson tweets. Samuel will be due a $1MM roster bonus on Day 5 of the 2026 league year; his $6.51MM 2026 salary is nonguaranteed.
  • John Simpson, G (Jets). Two years, $12MM. This number is down a bit from the initial $18MM figure, which is the deal’s max value. Simpson will see $6MM guaranteed,’s Rich Cimini notes. The Jets used three void years to spread out the cap hits; the fifth-year guard is on New York’s books at $3.2MM in 2024.
  • Folorunso Fatukasi, DT (Texans). One year, $5.2MM. The recent Jacksonville cut will receive $4.6MM guaranteed at signing on his Houston pact, Wilson tweets. The Texans tacked two void years onto the veteran nose tackle’s deal.
  • Trent Brown, T (Bengals). One year, $4.75MM. The veteran tackle will receive $2MM guaranteed, with OverTheCap indicating $1MM will be available in per-game roster bonuses with another $250K in play via a workout bonus. A bonus-laden structure is not new for Brown, who had weight clauses in his most recent two Patriots contracts.
  • Solomon Thomas, DL (Jets). One year, $3MM. The Jets are guaranteeing the former No. 3 overall pick $2.5MM, Cimini adds.
  • Mike Edwards, S (Bills). One year, $2.8MM. The former Tampa Bay and Kansas City safety can earn up to $4MM on his Buffalo deal,’s Adam Caplan tweets. He is on the Bills’ cap at $2.8MM.
  • Cody Barton, LB (Broncos). One year, $2.46MM. The Broncos will land the veteran linebacker for more than $1MM cheaper than the Commanders did in 2023. Denver is guaranteeing $2.33MM of the deal, per the Denver Gazette’s Chris Tomasson.
  • Desmond King, CB (Texans). One year, $1.8MM. Veteran slot cornerback/return man’s contract can max out at $2.2MM, Wilson tweets.

Bengals To Sign T Trent Brown

In need at right tackle following Jonah Williams‘ Cardinals signing, the Bengals are bringing in a longtime starter who has extensive experience on both sides of the line.

Trent Brown will leave New England for Cincinnati, per’s Ian Rapoport, who notes the recent Patriots left tackle starter is joining the Bengals on a one-year deal. The nine-year veteran is in Cincinnati on a visit Tuesday.

This could be a high-upside move for the Bengals. Though, the one-year deal is logical due to the high-variance nature of the 6-foot-8 blocker’s career. Brown, 31 next month, has played well when available. But the veteran tackle has run into various health issues throughout his career. This includes a run of absences last season.

Brown’s age-30 season included a No. 11 grade among tackles from Pro Football Focus and the second-best mark at the position in one-on-one situations, per Next Gen Stats. Brown also found himself in one-on-one assignments 88.3% of the time, which checked in as the most at the position. He also missed six games and only started eight in 2023, which continued a pattern of unavailability during the talented tackle’s career.

The Patriots reacquired Brown from the Raiders in 2021, after his then-record right tackle deal did not pan out. Although Brown made the Pro Bowl in 2019, he missed five games. A COVID-19 contraction then introduced complications in 2020, leading to just five Brown starts. The Pats, who had turned to Brown as their starting left tackle during their 2018 Super Bowl-winning season, moved him to the right side in 2021. The team, however, slid Brown back to LT upon re-signing him in 2022. Over his career, the 49ers draftee has worked as a right tackle starter in five seasons and a left-side starter in three.

The Bengals will ask the 370-pound O-lineman to give it a go on the right side once again, per’s Albert Breer, as Orlando Brown Jr. is entrenched on Joe Burrow‘s blindside. The team moved Williams to RT during the 2023 offseason, as a trade request followed. Williams played out his contract year but left to join the Cards on a two-year, $30MM agreement. In Brown, the Bengals are acquiring a higher-ceiling blocker but one whose career has brought speedbumps.

In addition to the Patriots included weight clauses in Brown’s past two contracts, they were believed to be frustrated with Brown’s inability to stay on the field. Brown missed eight games in 2021 but did suit up for all 17 games in ’22. Ankle and knee injuries hampered the Pats’ starting left tackle last year, and internal frustration with the big-bodied blocker developed within the building. The Patriots removed Brown from their injury report late last season but made him a healthy scratch. Brown did not start after Week 13 of last season and was inactive over the Pats’ final two games.

This signing could still precede the Bengals drafting a longer-term solution soon, but Brown appears positioned as the favorite to start on the right side. The Bengals still roster D’Ante Smith and Jackson Carman, but Brown (93 starts) a two-Brown O-line — so long as the larger of the two Browns is healthy — is probably the plan as of now. Should Trent Brown stay healthy, this would be one of the largest tackle tandems in NFL history, with Orlando Brown Jr. going 6-8, 345.

Patriots Unlikely To Re-Sign OL Michael Onwenu; Kyle Dugger Franchise Tag In Play

Showing an intriguing skillset at both guard and right tackle, Michael Onwenu is expected to generate extensive interest on the open market. The Patriots have the option of franchise-tagging the former sixth-round pick, but that does not seem like the route the organization will take.

The Pats are expecting Onwenu to depart in free agency, according to’s Jeremy Fowler, who indicates teams are monitoring this situation ahead of what is expected to be a strong free agency derby. Several teams slot Onwenu as the top free agent O-lineman this year, per Fowler. Onwenu is among a number of young guard starters close to hitting the market; the former sixth-rounder’s RT past stands to bolster his case to become a well-paid player soon after the legal tampering period launches free agency.

[RELATED: 2024 NFL Franchise Tag Candidates]

Seeing their Riley Reiff-centered right tackle plan produce only a handful of snaps in 2023, the Patriots moved Onwenu back outside. He had spent time at RT as a rookie, before settling in at guard in 2021 and 2022. In 2022, ESPN’s pass block win rate metric placed Onwenu eighth among guards. Pro Football Focus slotted the Michigan alum 29th among tackles last season.

Onwenu, 26, joins a host of guards who are coming off their rookie deals. Robert Hunt, Jonah Jackson, Damien Lewis, Jon Runyan Jr. and Ezra Cleveland are weeks away from free agency status. Tackle, however, looks much thinner. Among players seeking their first payday, Jonah Williams headlines the tackle crop. Onwenu could give a team a solution at multiple spots. While this resume overlaps with the swingman job description, Onwenu is far above that level. His next team will pay him to start at either guard or right tackle.

The Patriots losing Onwenu would deal a blow to an offense already light on talent. Trent Brown is expected to depart, and Cole Strange has not yet justified his first-round status. Brown’s latest Pats contract voided this week, Fowler adds, creating a $2MM dead-money charge. Onwenu has made 56 career starts and is coming into his prime. The Pats are looking likely to need new solutions at left and right tackle. Onwenu extension talks did not progress too far, though that came when Bill Belichick was still running the show. Eliot Wolf is believed to be in charge now, creating a sense of uncertainty due to Belichick having been at the top of the Pats’ decision-making pyramid for so long.

In an antiquated setup, all O-linemen remain under one umbrella when it comes to the franchise tag. This results in guards and centers rarely being tagged. Though, the Patriots bucked this trend when they last unholstered their tag; New England cuffed Joe Thuney in 2020. The O-lineman tag is projected to check in around $19.9MM. The Pats have another player residing as a more realistic tag candidate. They are more likely to keep Kyle Dugger off the market, Greg Bedard of the Boston Sports Journal writes.

A Dugger tag is probably on the table, per’s Mike Reiss, who reminds of the Pats’ run of failures extending highly drafted players in recent years. The team has not extended a homegrown first-, second- or third-round pick since re-signing 2013 third-rounder Duron Harmon in 2017. Dugger qualifies as a candidate to reverse that trend.

Although the safety market basically turned into Jessie Bates and the field last year, teams have been looking into a potential Dugger pursuit for a bit now. It would cost the Pats roughly $16.2MM to tag Dugger. Doing so would buy them time on an extension, as teams have until July 15 to extended tagged players. Jerod Mayo also pointed to the team being more aggressive in free agency recently, Reiss adds. Holding the NFL’s second-most projected cap space (at $69.5MM), the Pats can afford a Dugger tag and have money to spend to address other areas.

Belichick held onto Dugger and Onwenu at the trade deadline, though both were rumored candidates to be moved as the team found itself in the rare position as a potential midseason seller. Dugger played 97% of the Pats’ defensive snaps last season, and with Mayo and DeMarcus Covington sticking around, the former second-round pick offers continuity for a team that just released Adrian Phillips. Dugger played ahead of the veteran in 2023. PFF only ranked Dugger 68th among safeties last season but viewed his 2022 more favorably; the Lenoir-Rhyne alum returned two interceptions for touchdowns that year. Although Dugger has fared better closer to the line of scrimmage, he has nine INTs over the past three seasons.

Latest On Bill Belichick’s Patriots Future

As we get closer to Black Monday, the job status of Bill Belichick will continue to command headlines. While it’s still uncertain if the legendary coach will stick in New England, it sounds like rival teams are preparing for a divorce.

According to Josina Anderson, there are “teams within the NFC South” that have “potential” interest in Belichick. Considering the Panthers’ midseason coaching change, the organization has been loosely connected to Belichick. Mike Jurecki of Arizona Football Daily confirms that Carolina “has always been an option.”

However, there haven’t been any previous rumblings of a pursuit by the Buccaneers, Saints, nor Falcons. Each of those teams’ head coaches could be at risk of losing their jobs, so it’s hard to definitively point to any one team based on Anderson’s report.

It sounds like it isn’t just rival teams that are anticipating a break up. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, some Patriots staff members are “bracing for change.” As a result, these individuals “have begun examining outside opportunities out of necessity,” a hint that Robert Kraft and co. could make sweeping changes to the organization.

Andrew Callahan and Doug Kyed of the Boston Herald recently explored what led up to this point in New England. Following a dismal showing from the offense in 2022, there was hope in New England that replacing Matt Patricia with Bill O’Brien would solve some of the issues. However, Belichick was a proponent of sticking with Patricia, and while O’Brien tried to clean house on the offensive coaching staff, the head coach denied the request. This led to a divide on the offensive coaching staff, and the new OC had clear frustrations with the WR and OL coaches.

It sounds like those frustrations were shared by the assistant coaches, although they weren’t necessarily targeted at O’Brien. A source told Callahan and Kyed that newly-hired offensive line coach Adrian Klemm “confronted” director of player personnel Matt Groh “in a loud exchange” earlier this season. Klemm would later take a leave of absence, resulting in assistant coach Billy Yates and veteran OL James Ferentz leading the unit. Per the Boston Herald, Klemm isn’t expected to be back with the Patriots next season.

There were also issues among players. Cornerback Jack Jones “blew up” at position coach Mike Pellegrino after not starting the Germany game, leading to the player’s release, according to the Herald. Meanwhile, offensive lineman Trent Brown reportedly spoke openly about leaving for an NFC team this upcoming offseason.

Ultimately, sources believe Belichick’s “personnel control and inability to assemble a functional staff” led to his demise in New England. Still, these sources stressed that players continued to play hard for their head coach, and there’s a belief that he “hasn’t lost his fastball as a hands-on coach.” We’ll soon learn if Kraft feels the same way.

Trent Brown Expected To Reach Free Agency; Michael Onwenu Addresses Extension Talks

Among the list of shortcomings in New England this season, the team’s tackle position — a concern during the offseason — has seen its expected starters run into health shortcomings. Riley Reiff played in just one game during the most injury-plagued season of his career, and Trent Brown has seen injuries intervene once again.

In Year 3 of his second Patriots stint, Brown has missed five games. Ankle and knee injuries have hampered the Pats’ starting left tackle, but some internal frustration with the big-bodied blocker has developed within the building, according to the Boston Sports Journal’s Mike Giardi.

Brown, 30, has not started a game since Dec. 3, though he has played in two since that contest while missing two more during this span. The Patriots removed Brown from their injury report last week but made him a healthy scratch. Indicating some believe he has prioritized — as this season has gone south — making it to free agency healthy, Giardi adds (via Brown has also caused issues with tardiness. It does not look like Brown will be re-signed before free agency, and the Boston Herald’s Doug Kyed points to a likely separation taking place soon.

We already had that opportunity. We have had plenty of opportunities to get that done,” Brown said of a Patriots extension, via Sophie Weller of A to Z Sports. “I mean, I’m not opposed to it, but we are at the end of the season. … It’d be kind of like, I feel like I’d be kind of doing myself a disservice to not see what other opportunities are out there, just at this point.”

After working as the Pats’ left tackle on their Super Bowl LIII-winning team, Brown did remarkably well as a free agent back in 2019. The Raiders gave him a then-tackle-record four-year, $66MM accord. Brown made the 2019 Pro Bowl, but a COVID-19-marred 2020 season — a campaign in which he played five games — led to the Raiders trading him back to the Patriots. Playing both left and right tackle since returning to Foxborough, Brown has started 33 games in his second Pats stint.

The Patriots have Brown on a two-year, $13MM deal that features weight bonuses and playing-time incentives. The team added the usage-based bumps this year, but Brown’s health issues have impeded him on that front. The former 49ers draftee also expected the Patriots to give him another contract after last season, when he played 17 games. Nothing transpired, and the ninth-year tackle is two months from free agency.

It would have been done when they said it was going to get done. When I signed the last one,” Brown said, via Weller, of his contract. “The one I signed two years ago, I was told that I would, if I had a good year then I would; we should get it fixed. It never happened.”

Pro Football Focus grades Brown as this season’s No. 10 overall tackle. Even considering his unreliability with regards to health, the 370-pound lineman will be poised to generate interest once again on the market. As of now, Brown is positioned to join Jonah Williams, Tyron Smith, Mekhi Becton and Patriots teammate Michael Onwenu as notable tackles in free agency. Brown and Onwenu departing would give the Pats work to do up front, as both have been regulars for years.

Onwenu may generate interest at two positions, considering he has spent extensive time at both tackle and guard as a pro. The former sixth-round pick has been a regular Pats starter for most of his career, but he said (via’s Mike Reiss) extension discussions have not picked up. Onwenu said discussions have taken place, but it does not sound like they have been substantive. While mentioned in trade rumors before the deadline, Onwenu joined contract-year cogs Kyle Dugger and Josh Uche in being retained. All are weeks away from free agency.

With Reiff unavailable, the Patriots kicked Onwenu back outside midway through this season. PFF rates the Michigan product in the top 30 among tackles. Although the Pats have paid for their offensive deficiencies in the form of a 4-12 season, they have seen productive tackle play — when Brown is available, that is. The team has until the March legal tampering period to keep Brown and/or Onwenu off the market. Not doing so will obviously create major needs up front. It remains to be seen if Bill Belichick will be making those decisions.

Patriots Notes: Dugger, Cunningham, Offseason

The Patriots have 15 impending unrestricted free agents, a group that’s headlined by safety Kyle Dugger. The former second-round pick has turned into one of New England’s most dependable defenders, but there’s a good chance he hits free agency after the season.

According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, “prior extension talks didn’t generate much momentum” towards a long-term deal, leading to the belief that Dugger wants to test the market. The Patriots are armed with a bit of leverage, as the team could choose to slap Dugger with the franchise tag. Doug Kyed previously noted that the franchise tag could be in play if the two sides don’t agree to a long-term deal. The 2023 franchise tag value for safeties was at $14.46MM.

Dugger previously expressed an interest in sticking around New England, but there haven’t been many updates this season regarding an extension. The fourth-year player has started all 14 games for the Patriots in 2023, collecting 88 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and two interceptions.

More notes out of New England…

  • There’s plenty of uncertainty surrounding Bill Belichick‘s future in New England. Regardless of who’s running the Patriots front office this offseason, Doug Kyed of the Boston Globe expects the organization to spend big. Thanks to the league’s cash-spending floor, the Patriots will need to spend at least $98MM to hit the $216MM requirement. The front office should have far more money to play with; if the Patriots take a similar approach to their pricey 2021 offseason, Kyed projects that they could commit upwards of $194MM to free agency (especially via signing bonuses).
  • Belichick told reporters that the Patriots attempted to keep quarterback Malik Cunningham before he landed on the Ravens’ active roster. The undrafted rookie spent the entire season shuffling between New England’s active roster and practice squad, with the organization experimenting with the player at both quarterback and wide receiver. As Reiss notes, the Ravens ultimately sold Cunningham on their system and the presence of Lamar Jackson.
  • Considering the Patriots’ struggles at the quarterback position this season, it was a surprise that Cunningham never got a shot to run the offense. Offensive tackle Trent Brown told Sophie Weller of that “everybody on the team” thought the rookie should get a look under center. Brown also admitted that Baltimore was an ideal spot for his former teammate. “It’s funny because I told him months ago if they ever called, if anybody, that’s the team where he should go,” Brown said of the Ravens. “It was almost like I saw it coming…And that’s really good for him to actually get a real chance to play his real position.”
  • Tight end Mike Gesicki inked a one-year deal with the Patriots this offseason, but things haven’t gone as planned during his first season with the team. Through 14 games, the veteran has hauled in 22 catches for 189 yards and one touchdown, and he’s on pace for his lowest offensive output since his rookie campaign. Despite the struggles, Gesicki is remaining positive about his experience in New England. “Control what you can control, coming in here every day and having a good attitude and being positive and enjoying it,” the tight end told Reiss. “Because at the end of the day, you’re playing in the NFL, meeting new guys, and playing for the greatest coach to ever do it. So there’s a lot of things you can take away from it. And we still have another four games. You never know how we can finish this thing and have some bright spots.”

AFC East Rumors: Eichenberg, Hines, Pats

With a little more time and a lot more publicity, Dolphins offensive lineman Liam Eichenberg could have a case for Comeback Player of the Year. Not really, but Eichenberg has done an impressive job of turning around his career, which was trending downwards through his first two years in the league.

An offensive tackle at Notre Dame, Eichenberg struggled as a rookie full-time starter at left tackle in Miami. In 2022, Eichenberg slid inside to the left guard spot and delivered a more admirable performance before having his season derailed by injuries.

Eichenberg opened this year as a sixth-man for the Dolphins’ offensive line, specializing on interior play. When injuries held out starting center Connor Williams, Eichenberg stepped in to complete his trifecta of starting at every position on the left side of the line. Later on, he filled in with starts at right and left guard, as well. He’s reportedly more comfortable at right guard, but the Dolphins opted to start him at left guard last week ahead of Lester Cotton, who had started there the past two weeks.

In fact, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Miami’s staff has been so impressed with Eichenberg that, barring a miraculous return by Isaiah Wynn from a significant quadriceps injury, Eichenberg could have won the starting left guard job for the remainder of the season.

Here are a few other rumors from around the AFC East:

  • Patriots star pass rusher Matt Judon has now missed the team’s last nine games on injured reserve. Judon has certainly missed enough time to come off of IR, but there’s been no word of that possibility yet. According to Doug Kyed of the Boston Herald, when head coach Bill Belichick was asked about the possibility of Judon returning this year, the long-time skipper replied“We’ll see. That’s a good question.” He continued, “I know he’s working hard. Matt’s been in here, works hard on a daily basis, but again, that’s a medical question that I wouldn’t be able to answer.”
  • When Bills running back Nyheim Hines suffered an off-site jet ski injury that would end his 2023 season before it even began, that put the veteran rusher in an uncomfortable position concerning his contract. Since the injury occurred away from play, Hines was placed on the non-football injury list, “which technically doesn’t require the team to pay him anything,” per Zak Keefer of The Athletic. Hines was out millions in incentives and bonuses. It took the two sides a few months to hammer out the details, but eventually, they “agreed on a smaller sum” than the $9MM over two years that they had originally agreed to. This allows the Bills to stay on good terms with Hines when he’s able to return to the team next year while saving them from having to pay his full contract for a year in which he won’t see the field.
  • When it was reported that Patriots offensive tackle Trent Brown failed to make the trip to Frankfurt with the team for personal reasons, Brown took exception to the speculation that followed. Per ESPN’s Mike Reiss, Brown felt the need to clarify that the reason he was unable to make the trip was because of the second opinion he sought on his ankle sprain. While he did attend a funeral during the team’s visit to Germany, he was not able to spend much personal time with his family as he was due back in New England for rehab.

NFL Injury Rumors: Seahawks, Woods, Ward

The Seahawks already face a tall task tomorrow night as they host the 49ers in the last of the three Thanksgiving Day matchups. That challenge is only made more difficult by the fact that Seattle is dealing with multiple injuries to key players as quarterback Geno Smith and running back Kenneth Walker both head into tomorrow with injury designations.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported earlier today that Smith hadn’t been able to test his bruised elbow much at all yet in the short week. Smith spent today’s practice determining just how much he could throw in order to set expectations on his availability for tomorrow. Later on in the afternoon, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo relayed that “all indications have (Smith) tracking to play” against the rival 49ers Thursday night.

In the case of Walker, head coach Pete Carroll told reporters that Walker suffered an “oblique strain that was legit,” per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. It sounds, based on Carroll’s press talks, that Walker is in danger of missing some time, but Schefter went on to report that the team doesn’t consider him to be an injured reserve candidate. Walker likely would’ve missed a week on regular rest, but with a short week, it would be extremely unlikely for Walker to make an appearance tomorrow, hence his doubtful game status.

In addition to Smith and Walker, the Seahawks will also be without rookie safety and special teams standout Jerrick Reed II, who reportedly tore his ACL and will miss the remainder of the season, according to Schefter. The sixth-round New Mexico product hasn’t been asked to do much on defense this year but is currently third on the team in special teams tackles.

Here are a few more injury rumors from around the league:

  • The Colts placed second-year tight end Jelani Woods on IR with a hamstring injury just prior to the start of the season in order to open up a roster spot for wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie. It became a given, at that point, that Woods would miss at least the team’s first four games, but to date, he has yet to make his 2023 debut. He’s eligible for activation from IR, but according to Joel A. Erickson of FOX59/CBS4, Woods experienced a setback in his rehabilitation with his opposite hamstring that will keep him from returning for now. Head coach Shane Steichen stated that he “does not know” if it will be a season-ending setback.
  • The Browns may sport one of the league’s best defenses this year, but their secondary is limping into Week 12 as all four starters hold questionable game statuses as of Wednesday. Safeties Grant Delpit and Juan Thornhill and cornerback Greg Newsome II all hold a decent chance of playing on Sunday, but cornerback Denzel Ward is dealing with a shoulder injury that may not only hold him out of this weekend’s game but perhaps beyond that, as well, according to Mary Kay Cabot of The team isn’t quite ready to rule Ward out yet, but they are bracing themselves for the idea that they will be without him for multiple games.
  • We have seen high ankle sprains claim the playing time of multiple players this season. Patriots offensive tackle Trent Brown sought out a second opinion on his ankle injury yesterday, per Mike Reiss of ESPN, and was diagnosed with both high- and low-ankle sprains, as well as an MCL sprain. Players have missed time with less, but Brown reportedly plans to play through the ankle and knee injuries.

AFC East Notes: Bills, Patriots, Eichenberg

Buffalo-Kansas City has been one of the 2020s’ defining NFL rivalries. The AFC squads have played five times this decade, twice in the playoffs, with the Chiefs’ two postseason wins playing a role in the Bills‘ roster construction. The AFC powers’ plans intersected during the 2022 first round as well. When the Chiefs moved up from No. 29 to No. 21 in the ’22 first round, they took the player the Bills eyed. The Bills sought Trent McDuffie with their top pick last year, per’s Albert Breer, but the Chiefs were able to make a deal with the Patriots to move in front of Buffalo.

The fallout from this miss became costly for the Bills, whose subsequent trade-up — from No. 25 to No. 23 — produced Kaiir Elam, who has been unable to earn steady playing time. As Elam has vacillated between backup or emergency starter and healthy scratch, McDuffie has progressed in Kansas City. Pro Football Focus rates McDuffie eighth overall among corners; the Washington product has been a central part of the Chiefs’ defensive improvement this season.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • The Patriots opted not to sell at the trade deadline, keeping the door open for longer-term futures with some of their contract-year players. New England held onto Josh Uche, Michael Onwenu and Kyle Dugger despite interest coming in before the deadline. Dugger has become a player teams are monitoring ahead of free agency, with’s Jeremy Fowler noting some teams view the Division II alum as the 2024 UFA class’ second-best safety — behind the Buccaneers’ Antoine Winfield Jr. This year’s safety market producing only one contract north of $8MM per year (Jessie Bates‘ outlier $16MM-AAV accord) could impact Dugger, but it is clear the former second-round pick will be costly for the Pats to retain.
  • Benched in Week 9 and left in the States ahead of the Patriots’ Week 10 Germany trip, J.C. Jackson was initially believed to have arrived late at the team hotel the night before the Pats-Commanders game. But the recently reacquired corner did not show up at all that night,’s Mike Reiss notes. Jack Jones missed curfew as well, but Reiss adds the since-waived corner did surface later. Both players were benched for Week 9, and despite Jackson’s unavailability, the Patriots further limited Jones against the Colts. Jackson is expected to remain with the Pats, but the ballhawk has not escaped the rough patch that began last year in Los Angeles.
  • Trent Brown did not make the trip to Frankfurt for personal reasons, and Reiss adds the veteran tackle’s missed game will affect his recently reworked contract. Including $88K per game in roster bonuses, the Patriots set playing-time thresholds for additional Brown escalators as well. The starting LT would collect $1MM for playing 75% of the team’s offensive snaps this season. Hovering at 75% after Week 9, Brown has now missed two games. The low end of this incentive structure is 65%, which Reiss notes will pay out $750K. He would receive another $750K by hitting the 70% snap barrier.
  • Dolphins contract-year guard Robert Hunt will miss a second straight game due to a hamstring injury. As a result, Liam Eichenberg will complete a rare NFL feat. The 2021 second-round pick began the week practicing at left guard, his primary 2022 position, but the swingman moved to right guard midway through practice this week, the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson notes. The Dolphins view Eichenberg as more comfortable there. Once Eichenberg replaces Hunt on Sunday, he will have started at all five O-line positions as a pro. While the converted tackle could not retain his LG job to start this season, having accomplished this O-line tour of sorts in his third season is certainly noteworthy. Lester Cotton will start at left guard for the Dolphins, who are uncertain to have LG first-stringer Isaiah Wynn back this season.

AFC East Notes: Patriots, Ramsey, Bills

While this year featured a modest receiver market, the Patriots made an important update to their pass-catching corps by letting Jakobi Meyers walk and replacing him with JuJu Smith-Schuster. Meyers signed a three-year, $33MM deal with the Raiders, and the Patriots added Smith-Schuster for three years and $25.5MM soon after. Guarantee-wise, however, Smith-Schuster’s $16MM matched Meyers’ locked-in sum. The Pats were believed to be unwilling to go to $16MM guaranteed for Meyers, though Bill Belichick said this week (via’s Chris Mason) the former UDFA find was a priority for the team.

Belichick confirmed the sides engaged in discussions, and the legendary HC said the parties were “relatively” close to a deal. At the time, it did not appear these talks were too close to producing a deal; the Pats were believed to be leery of Meyers’ price tag. Meyers’ comments in the wake of Smith-Schuster’s signing suggested he did not view the Patriots as especially eager to bring him back. Meyers has enjoyed a solid start back with Josh McDaniels. The four-year Patriot, despite missing a game due to a concussion, has 25 receptions for 274 yards and three touchdowns. Smith-Schuster, who led Chiefs wide receivers in yardage by a wide margin last season, is at 14-86-0 through five games.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • Jalen Ramsey‘s meniscus surgery altered the Dolphins‘ cornerback plans significantly, and a return as late as December entered the equation following the procedure. But the 4-1 team looks to be eyeing a Ramsey return commencing a bit sooner. When asked if he could see Ramsey coming back in November, cornerbacks coach Sam Madison responded in the affirmative. “Yeah, speaking with trainers, he looks really good,” Madison said, via the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson. “Very hopeful and looking forward to getting him on the field.” This marks the biggest chunk of time Ramsey has missed as a pro. Following his March arrival from Los Angeles, Ramsey agreed to a redone contract that guaranteed his 2024 salary, which will provide security after this abbreviated season.
  • Weeks 4 and 5 gutted the Bills‘ defense. The unit lost its top cornerback, top linebacker and its best interior D-lineman. Tre’Davious White, Matt Milano and DaQuan Jones are each on IR. On that note,’s Graziano offers that the Bills should be expected to look around for defensive help ahead of the Oct. 31 trade deadline. With Von Miller in his age-34 season and Stefon Diggs turning 30 next month, this certainly profiles as a critical season for the Bills — especially on the heels of a one-sided playoff loss. The team has each of its picks in the first five rounds next year and holds three sixth-rounders. Early-season trades point to the Round 6 selections being relevant regarding potential Buffalo additions.
  • The Bills fired COO John Roth and senior VP/general counsel Kathryn D’Angelo for engaging in an inappropriate romantic relationship, The Athletic’s Tim Graham reports (subscription required). Roth, whom the Bills promoted this summer, served as D’Angelo’s superior. This issue surfaced in London. Although D’Angelo joined Roth in reporting to owner Terry Pegula, Graham adds Roth recommended her promotion. Josh Dziurlikowski will serve as the team’s interim COO, per Graham, moving up from senior VP of finance and business administration.
  • In September, the Patriots added $2MM in incentives to Trent Brown‘s contract. Details have emerged, via’s Mike Reiss, who notes the adjustment includes $250K in per-game roster bonuses. Seven tiers of playing-time incentives now exist in Brown’s deal, with a $250K payoff in place for hitting each. Brown’s cap number dropped by $375K as well, settling in at $12.21MM. A 2024 void year is now in place, with the Pats set for a $2MM dead-money hit if they do not re-sign Brown before the 2024 league year starts. Brown signed a two-year, $13MM deal in 2022. The veteran tackle, who missed 19 games from 2019-21, has been available for four New England contests this season.