Ryan Fitzpatrick

NFC Notes: Hyde, Ngata, McAdoo, Bucs QBs

Despite the noise of a Carlos Hyde trade, Kyle Shanahan attempted to put an end to those rumors during a media session today. Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee passes along that the first-year 49ers head coach said that the reports of a speculative trade involving the running back were “absolutely, absolutely 100 percent false.” The rumors started to pick up after San Francisco was making calls to teams about now-former 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman. Despite the pushback, rookie Matt Breida has slowly started to cut into Hyde’s touches in recent weeks. The former Georgia Southern running back had his first double-digit carry game two weeks ago against the Colts, even though the rookie touched the ball just six times this past Sunday. Nevertheless, the 49ers are still winless through six weeks, which means that the trade winds will continue to swirl around the team with the deadline just a few weeks away.

  • Building off the news that Ben McAdoo gave up play calling to offenisve coordinator Mike Sullivan for their Sunday night contest against the Broncos, it is now known that neither owner John Mara nor Giants executive chairman Steve Tisch asked the head coach to give up the offensive playbook, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. It would seem that McAdoo made this decision on his own with the results being positive thus far as the team shocked many by going into Denver and winning by double digits.
  • Now that Haloti Ngata is out for the season with a torn biceps, the question remains: Just how long will the 33-year-old continue to play in the NFL? The Lions defensive lineman told Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press that he has not made any decision about the future yet. “We’ll have to see. To be determined,” Ngata told the pressThe veteran has not been the same player he was with the Ravens since he joined Detroit in 2015. Ngata did show signs of life this seasn, racking up two sacks in the team’s first five games, which matched the halfway mark of the number of QB takedowns he put up in the two seasons prior.
  • Although Jameis Winston left last Sunday’s game because of a shoulder injury, the Buccaneers still don’t expect to sign another QB for this week’s affair against the Bills, tweets Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times. Auman reports that Tampa Bay seems to be comfortable with Winston suiting up as an emergency backup for Ryan Fitzpatrick, if he can’t start. The move sounds a bit risky considering that the team still does not have a third-string QB with Ryan Griffin currently working to get off the IR. However, the news may be encouraging to some as it seems Winston has most likely avoided a long-term injury.

NFC Notes: Bucs, Norwell, Cowboys

Buccaneers nickel corner Jude Adjei-Barimah will have surgery to repair the patellar fracture in his right knee and will be placed on IR, as Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. When we first learned of the injury, we heard that it could sideline Adjei-Barimah for roughly four months, meaning he would miss most of the 2017 campaign. Stroud’s report suggests that the 25-year-old DB will in fact miss the entire season.

In other bad news for the Bucs, linebacker Devante Bond, who was expected to open the season as the starting strongside linebacker, has a sprained PCL in his right knee, per Jenna Laine of ESPN.com. Bond could still be ready for Week 1, but it may be four to six weeks before he plays again. Meanwhile, Laine adds that QB Ryan Griffin has a sprained AC joint in his throwing shoulder that will take a few weeks to heal. The team is not expected to sign another quarterback, which means that Ryan Fitzpatrick will likely win the backup job.

Now let’s take a look at a few more NFC rumors:

  • Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com tweets that the Buccaneers are expected to bring in another kicker in the wake of Roberto Aguayo‘s dismissal, but the new signing will be used for camp/preseason reps. That suggests that Nick Folk, and not a new acquisition, will be the team’s starting kicker.
  • Panthers guard Andrew Norwell is playing under a one-year RFA tender worth $2.75MM this year, but he hopes to get a long-term deal before the end of the season, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes. Norwell graded out as the league’s No. 11 guard in 2016, per Pro Football Focus, and has started 29 games over the past two seasons, firmly entrenching himself at left guard opposite Trai Turner. Turner, of course, recently received a lucrative extension from Carolina, and Norwell wants in on the action. He has even hired Turner’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, to help him get paid.
  • Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliot has until Wednesday to appeal his six-game suspension, and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets that Elliott will likely file the necessary paperwork on Tuesday.
  • Cowboys tight end Rico Gathers was hugely impressive in Dallas’ preseason game against the Rams last night, posting four catches and a touchdown. That builds upon the solid showing he had in the team’s first preseason matchup last week, and it is clear that he is the most explosive tight end on the roster. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that Gathers has come a long way in a short time — the Cowboys selected Gathers, a collegiate basketball player, in the sixth round of the 2016 draft — and makes the fairly obvious point that Gathers has a legitimate shot to make the team.
  • The Redskins are very thin at outside linebacker following Trent Murphy‘s season-ending ACL tear, so they are moving ILB Pete Robertson outside to give themselves another pass-rusher, as Master Tesfatsion of the Washington Post writes. Robertson, a UDFA in 2016 who has yet to play a regular season snap, did lead the Big 12 with 13 sacks as an outside linebacker for Texas Tech in 2014.

Extra Points: Cousins, Fitz, Bills, L. Green

Franchise-tagged quarterback Kirk Cousins has spoken highly of Redskins brass lately, but it remains doubtful that the two sides will agree to a long-term contract by the July 15 deadline, writes Rich Tandler of CSNMidAtlantic.com. Cousins has little incentive to take Washington’s $20MM-per-year offer, observes Tandler, as he’s set to make a fully guaranteed ~$24MM as the team’s franchise player this season and could earn another $34MM in 2018 in the unlikely event it places the franchise tag on him again. Otherwise, Cousins could be in position next offseason to hit free agency and ink a lucrative contract with either the Redskins or someone else.

More from around the NFL:

  • Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s one-year, $3MM deal with the Buccaneers could be worth up to $5MM, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). With Fitzpatrick now off the board, the only remaining free agent QBs who started a game in 2016 are Colin Kaepernick, Robert Griffin III and Shaun Hill, notes Field Yates of ESPN (on Twitter). In case you missed it, Tampa Bay did not consider signing Kaepernick before it tabbed Fitzpatrick to serve as Jameis Winston‘s backup in 2017.
  • The Bills made a few changes to their scouting staff Friday, most notably hiring former Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey as a senior college scout, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). Hickey only lasted as Miami’s GM from 2014-15, but he previously worked in a scouting capacity for several years in Tampa Bay. Along with Hickey, the Bills added scouts Gerald Dixon, Doug Majeski and Brian Fisher, per Mike Rodak of ESPN.com (via Twitter). The team dismissed all three last month, but they’ll return in newly hired GM Brandon Beane‘s front office.
  • Speaking of the Bills, quarterback Tyrod Taylor has gotten off to a nice start in OTAs in new offensive coordinator Rick Dennison‘s system, says James Palmer of NFL Network (video link). Taylor is familiar with both Dennison and the Gary Kubiak-created system the Bills are using, as the passer studied it in Baltimore as Joe Flacco‘s backup from 2011-14 (Dennison was the Ravens’ QBs coach in 2014). Moreover, Kubiak has always regarded Taylor as a good fit for the system, per Palmer. That could bode well for Taylor as he enters a crucial season in Buffalo, which will have the opportunity to easily escape his contract next winter.
  • Although injuries (especially to the head) have beset tight end Ladarius Green in recent years, he’s not planning to retire. After the Steelers released the 26-year-old on Thursday, a player Green spoke with told Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com that he’s hoping to catch on elsewhere as a free agent (Twitter link). Ankle and head issues limited Green to six games and 18 receptions in 2016, the first season of a four-year, $20MM contract.

Bucs Didn’t Consider Colin Kaepernick

On Friday, the Buccaneers signed Ryan Fitzpatrick and the deal drew eye rolls from those who believe that the unemployed Colin Kaepernick is more deserving of a roster spot. Not only did the Bucs choose Fitzpatrick over Kaepernick, but it turns out that they did not consider Kaepernick for the No. 2 quarterback job at all, a source tells Mike Florio of PFT. Colin Kaepernick

Kaepernick threw for 16 touchdowns and four interceptions in 2016 while Fitzpatrick tossed 12 TDs against 17 picks. Even the advanced metrics preferred Kaepernick as he earned a 61.6 overall score from Pro Football Focus, besting Fitzpatrick’s less atrocious 42.1 posting. Neither player set the world on fire last year, but by almost any measure, Kaepernick had the better year and his offense was by no means better than Fitzpatrick’s.

However, there are plenty of reasons why the Buccaneers probably went with Fitzpatrick without first mulling Kaepernick, and none of them pertain to Kaepernick’s social positions. Fitzpatrick was an above-average starter as recently as 2015 and he had two under-the-radar quality seasons before that with the Titans and Texans, respectively. Kaepernick, meanwhile, is now two years removed from being a respectable starter. There’s also the matter of playing styles to consider. Fitzpatrick is a pro-style quarterback who can fit the offense designed for Jameis Winston if he’s called upon. Kaepernick, however, would be better suited for a playbook with more designed runs and an offensive line that’s accustomed to the blocking schemes needed for a mobile QB.

The Bucs didn’t think about signing Kaepernick, but as we learned earlier this week, the Seahawks are taking a hard look at him.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Buccaneers Sign QB Ryan Fitzpatrick

One of the best quarterbacks left on the board is now spoken for. The Buccaneers have agreed to terms with QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, as Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. It’s a one-year, $3MM deal, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Ryan Fitzpatrick (vertical)

The Buccaneers lost their Jameis Winston backup this offseason when Mike Glennon signed a lucrative free agent deal with the Bears. Fitzpatrick, who had a surprisingly strong 2015 season with the Jets, now becomes Tampa Bay’s new insurance policy under center.

While ’15 was a banner year for the bearded signal caller, 2016 was definitely a season to forget. Things got so bad in New York last year that the veteran found himself considering retirement after the season.

“Last year was the most difficult year for me,” Fitzpatrick said. “Not physically, just kind of mentally and emotionally. I had to take a step back and think about it. Is this something I still want to do? Football is something so ingrained in me, something I love doing and definitely something I want to do. I still want to compete and I still think I can contribute whether I am in a starting role or whatever capacity.”

Fitzpatrick, 35 in November, had a shaky grip on his starting job last year as he threw for 12 touchdowns against 17 interceptions. The year prior, however, Fitzpatrick threw for 31 touchdowns. If given the opportunity to get on the field, Fitzpatrick will try to channel the magic of his ’15 campaign. If he looks like the ’16 version of himself, then this might be his last stop in the NFL.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ryan Fitzpatrick Intends To Play In 2017

Free agent quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick hasn’t received a contract offer thus far, but he intends to continue his career in 2017, according to Gary Myers of the New York Daily News. However, Fitzpatrick did admit that his struggles in 2016 forced him to consider retirement.Ryan Fitzpatrick (vertical)

“Last year was the most difficult year for me,” Fitzpatrick said. “Not physically, just kind of mentally and emotionally. I had to take a step back and think about it. Is this something I still want to do? Football is something so ingrained in me, something I love doing and definitely something I want to do. I still want to compete and I still think I can contribute whether I am in a starting role or whatever capacity.”

Fitzpatrick, 34, struggled through a nightmarish 2016 campaign, at times losing his starting job with the Jets while tossing 12 touchdowns against 17 interceptions. The year prior, however, Fitzpatrick managed 31 scores, and thanks to the dearth of quarterback options around the league, he’s PFR’s No. 2 free agent signal-caller at the moment. Fitzpatrick won’t be afforded another starting opportunity, but clubs that could speculatively use a backup quarterback include the Rams and Lions.

Fitzpatrick should come cheap, as he won’t garner anything close to the $12MM he earned with Gang Green last year. Thanks to the structure of his Jets contract, Fitzpatrick still counts for $5MM in dead money on New York’s 2017 salary cap.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top 2017 Free Agents By Position 3.0: Offense

The initial wave of NFL free agency is now complete, and while many of the league’s top available players are now off the board, there are still plenty of quality options still on the open market.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each offensive position. These rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts – or the amount of guaranteed money – that each player is expected to land in free agency. These are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account.

Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents, as well as players who received the franchise tag, aren’t listed here, since the roadblocks in place to hinder another team from actually acquiring most of those players prevent them from being true free agents.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some free agents than you are, so feel free to weigh in below in our comments section to let us know which players we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2017:

Quarterback:

  1. Jay Cutler
  2. Chase Daniel
  3. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  4. Colin Kaepernick
  5. Josh McCown
  6. Robert Griffin III
  7. Case Keenum
  8. Matt McGloin
  9. Mark Sanchez
  10. Christian Ponder
  11. Blaine Gabbert
  12. Ryan Nassib
  13. Shaun Hill
  14. Kellen Moore
  15. Austin Davis

Tony Romo is not a free agent…at least not yet. If the Cowboys do not find a suitable trade and release him, you’ll find him at the top of this list.

Laugh if you must, but Cutler is far and away the best quarterback available on the open market. While most of this year’s QB-needy teams are done with their free agent shopping, the Jets are still searching for their 2017 starter and no one would make more sense for them than Cutler. He’s not all that far removed from playing solid football and he’s a logical transitional option for the Jets until they can isolate a better, younger option for 2018. Jay Cutler (Vertical)

Kaepernick’s reps wisely told the press that he will be standing for the National Anthem this year. Still, Kaepernick is an outspoken guy who wants to use his platform to discuss hot button issues, so there’s no guarantee that the media circus around him will cease. Jets owner Woody Johnson loves seeing his team on the back pages of the New York tabloids, but even he has to have more sense than to entertain Kaepernick. McCown, who has been contact with the team, would be an okay choice if they can’t get something done with Cutler. Chase Daniel could be an option too, but there isn’t much game film on him.

Needless to say, the No. 3 ranked player on this list isn’t an option in New York.

Running back:

  1. Adrian Peterson
  2. LeGarrette Blount
  3. Jamaal Charles
  4. Rashad Jennings
  5. Tim Hightower
  6. DeAngelo Williams
  7. Chris Johnson
  8. Christine Michael
  9. Benny Cunningham
  10. Bobby Rainey
  11. Brandon Bolden
  12. Denard Robinson
  13. James Starks
  14. Matt Asiata
  15. Kenjon Barner

Honorable mention: DuJuan Harris, Antonio AndrewsKhiry Robinson

Adrian Peterson (vertical)The Vikings have moved on and Peterson will not be back in Minnesota. Where he goes from here is anyone’s guess. When Peterson’s option was declined by the Vikings earlier this month, there were tons of stories (likely sourced by Peterson’s camp) about interest from a litany of contenders. Since then, each team – through anonymous sources – has denied being in the mix for the veteran. It would be easy to doubt Peterson at this juncture, but he has come back from serious injuries multiple times in his career and he is only one year removed from his stellar 2015 campaign. He gets the top spot over the bruising Blount as well as Charles, who hasn’t been healthy in a long while.

Jennings was brought to New York with the idea that he would be the team’s workhorse. Unfortunately, two of his three seasons with the G-Men were marred by injury. Jennings is currently putting his agility to good use on Dancing With The Stars and it remains to be seen how committed he is to football. After that, we have a trio of vets (Hightower, Williams, CJ2K) who could still advance the ball in limited spurts.

In case you’re wondering – Mike Gillislee is not listed here because he is a restricted free agent.

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Top 2017 Free Agents By Position 2.0: Offense

NFL free agency is right around the corner! The legal tampering period starts on Tuesday and free agency officially starts on Thursday. The list of available free agents will change between now and then as players re-sign with teams or get cut loose, but we have a pretty good idea of who will be available right now. After looking at the top defensive players, we now shift our attention to the other side of the ball.

Here are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each position. The rankings aren’t determined by earning power, they are simply the players we like the most at each position, with a combination of short- and long-term value taken into account. You won’t find restricted free agents or franchise tagged guys here since they are unlikely to go leave their current clubs.

Player evaluation is always subjective, so we encourage you to make your voices heard in the comments section in cases where you disagree with us.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2017:

Updated 3-7-2017, 2:55pm CT

Quarterback:

  1. Mike Glennon
  2. Nick Foles
  3. Brian Hoyer (story)
  4. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  5. Colin Kaepernick
  6. Josh McCown
  7. Case Keenum
  8. Matt McGloin
  9. Mark Sanchez
  10. Ryan Mallett
  11. Christian Ponder
  12. Blaine Gabbert
  13. Geno Smith
  14. Matt Schaub (story)
  15. EJ Manuel

Honorable mention: Ryan Nassib, Landry JonesShaun Hill Mike Glennon (vertical)

Colin Kaepernick’s agents have (wisely) let everyone know that their client will stand for the National Anthem in 2017. That may seem like a minor point, but teams say they would have automatically removed him from consideration if he continued his attention-grabbing protest. He grabbed headlines for his actions on the sidelines last year, but he actually turned in an OK season. From a football standpoint, Kaepernick would make sense for a lot of teams as a QB2 with upside.

Interestingly, this list includes three quarterbacks who couldn’t cut it as the Jets’ starter and three rejects from the 49ers. They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and all six of those players (Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kaepernick, Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith, Christian Ponder, Blaine Gabbert) come with varying degrees of potential and proven effectiveness. Smith, somehow, could reportedly be retained by the Jets and installed as the starter in 2017.

Ryan Nassib is just outside of the top 15 here with EJ Manuel getting the final spot. Despite positive word about his play in practice, Nassib is unproven and the Giants’ apparent lack of interest in re-signing him says a lot. It’s also possible that he might not be 100% after ending the 2016 season on IR with an elbow injury. Manuel, for all his warts, has shown potential in small bursts.

Running back:

  1. Eddie Lacy
  2. Adrian Peterson
  3. LeGarrette Blount
  4. Latavius Murray
  5. Jamaal Charles
  6. Darren McFadden
  7. Jacquizz Rodgers
  8. Rex Burkhead
  9. Rashad Jennings
  10. Danny Woodhead
  11. Tim Hightower
  12. DeAngelo Williams
  13. Andre Ellington
  14. Chris Johnson
  15. Christine Michael

Honorable mention: Robert Turbin, Travaris Cadet, Benny Cunningham, Lance Dunbar, Bobby Rainey, Brandon BoldenDenard Robinson, James Starks

Adrian Peterson (vertical)As expected, the Vikings have cut Adrian Peterson loose and he is expected to garner interest from contending clubs this week. Some might peg Peterson as the most talented running back in this year’s free agent class, but it all comes down to how you weigh his age and injury history. Peterson has shocked the football world in the past with an incredible comeback, but I’m a little skeptical of his ability to do it again in his age-32 season. Eddie Lacy, who has injury question marks of his own, takes the top spot at the position.

The Patriots believe they won’t be able to match the offers that come in LeGarrette Blount‘s direction. Latavius Murray could circle back to the Raiders, but he won’t be agreeing to a deal with them before free agency opens on Thursday.

Jamaal Charles has the most impressive resume of anyone on this list, with the exception of Peterson. However, no one knows exactly what he can do after playing eight games in the last two years. He’ll turn 31 in December and that’s usually not an indicator of success for running backs.

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Top 2017 NFL Free Agents By Position: Offense

[UPDATE: CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST EDITION OF THE TOP 2017 NFL FREE AGENTS BY POSITION]

NFL free agency will get underway on Thursday, March 9th, and while the list of free agents will change between now and then, we do have some idea of who will be available when free agency kicks off. The frenzy is right around the corner and it’s time for us to break down the outlook for each position. We’ll start today on offense, before getting to defense and special teams later this week.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each offensive position. The rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts that each player is expected to land in free agency, they are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account. Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents are not listed here since they are unlikely to actually reach the open market.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some guys than you are, so we encourage you to make your voice heard in our comments section to let us know which free agents we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2017:

Quarterback:

  1. Kirk Cousins
  2. Mike Glennon
  3. Nick Foles
  4. Brian Hoyer
  5. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  6. Case Keenum
  7. Matt McGloin
  8. Mark Sanchez
  9. Geno Smith
  10. Ryan Mallett
  11. Josh McCown
  12. Christian Ponder
  13. Blaine Gabbert
  14. Matt Schaub
  15. Ryan Nassib

Honorable mention: Shaun Hill

As of this writing, Kirk Cousins is far and away the best potential free agent quarterback in this year’s crop. By the time March gets here, we’re fully expecting Cousins to be spoken for. Ultimately, the Redskins could franchise tag him, work out a long-term deal with him, or swing some type of trade that nets them a massive haul of talent and picks. That will leave a crop of retread quarterbacks that would probably best serve as transitional options for QB-needy teams. Kirk Cousins

Mike Glennon hasn’t done much in his 18 career starts, but talent evaluators are still in love with his size and potential. The 6’7″ quarterback will get more money this spring than you might expect, particularly since there are no surefire QBs in this year’s draft.

Teams looking for stopgap QBs will find a plethora of experienced, though perhaps uninspiring, signal callers. Nick Foles, Brian Hoyer, and Ryan Fitzpatrick all have their best football behind them, but they could hold down the fort for a team in 2017 and maybe even find some success if the defense is strong enough. Of course, the ideal role for those guys would probably be as a backup to a better, younger quarterback.

Running back:

  1. Le’Veon Bell
  2. Eddie Lacy
  3. LeGarrette Blount
  4. Latavius Murray
  5. Darren McFadden
  6. Jacquizz Rodgers
  7. Rashad Jennings
  8. Danny Woodhead
  9. Rex Burkhead
  10. Tim Hightower
  11. DeAngelo Williams
  12. Andre Ellington
  13. Chris Johnson
  14. Christine Michael
  15. Robert Turbin

Consider Le’Veon Bell‘s name written in Etch-A-Sketch, because he is very unlikely to get near the open market. That could leave Eddie Lacy as the best tailback available in March. Lacy has struggled with weight issues in recent years and he lost much of the 2016 season to injury. Still, he is a bruising back that could nicely complement a quicker ball carrier. Before he was shut down for the year, Lacy was averaging 5.07 yards per carry in five games for Green Bay.

LeGarrette Blount (vertical)In the last two years, LeGarrette Blount seems to have put his off-the-field troubles behind him. Whether that’s a sign of his maturity or a product of the Patriots’ culture remains to be seen. Teams can ignore his past indiscretions, but they will be wary of his age. Blount turns 31 in December.

Latavius Murray has shown glimpses of being a special running back, but he has been inconsistent and his 4.0 yards-per-carry average of the last two years isn’t overly impressive. Darren McFadden ran for more than 1,000 yards in 2015, but 2016 was pretty much a lost year for him. Jacquizz Rodgers seemed to break out last year, but he wound up succumbing to the same injury bug that took down a host of other Buccaneers running backs. Speaking of injuries, Rashad Jennings was initially brought to the Giants to be a workhorse back, but two of his three years in New York were marred by ailments. Everyone in this tier has the potential to make a difference, but none should be counted on as anyone’s main guy in 2017.

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AFC East Notes: Fitzpatrick, Dolphins, Pats

The Ryan Fitzpatrick era may be over in New York, but as Mark Cannizzaro of the New York Post points out, the Jets are still feeling the after-effects. Per Cannizzaro, Fitzpatrick’s contract automatically voided on Friday, per the scheduled clause that called for such action five days after the Super Bowl. But, because of the way his two-year deal was structured, New York will carry $5MM in dead money on the 2017 salary cap. Fitzpatrick almost assuredly will not return to Gang Green, and Geno Smith is a free agent as well, which means that the Jets now have two quarterbacks under contract — Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg — that are both severely lacking in NFL experience. As a result, the Jets have been speculatively connected to some of the better quarterback prospects in this year’s draft as well as veteran options that could become available.

Now for some more notes from the AFC East:

  • Dolphins safety Reshad Jones, who missed the last 10 games of the 2016 season after a significant shoulder injury, has made a full recovery, Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald reports. Jones, who is entering the final year of his contract, indicated that he will be physically able to participate in the Dolphins’ offseason schedule.
  • In the same piece, Beasley writes that Dolphins offensive lineman Jermon Bushrod, who will be an unrestricted free agent when the new league year begins in March, will return for an 11th NFL season if he gets the right offer. Bushrod played for the Saints for six years before joining the Bears prior to the 2013 campaign. The 2016 season was Bushrod’s first in Miami, and though he started all 16 regular season games plus the team’s one playoff contest, he largely struggled, ranking as Pro Football Focus’ fourth-worst guard out of 72 eligible players (subscription required).
  • Ben Volin of the Boston Globe provides a list of 10 things he believes the Patriots should do this offseason, and he suggests that trading Jimmy Garoppolo should be one of New England’s top priorities. With Tom Brady showing no signs of aging, Volin believes the Pats need to do continue surrounding their starting quarterback with top-flight talent, and one way to do that is by acquiring at least one significant draft asset in exchange for Garoppolo.
  • Another thing Volin thinks the Patriots should do is to re-sign running back LeGarrette Blount to a one-year, incentive-laden deal. After all, that approach worked well for both parties in 2016, as Blount turned his $760K salary into $1.75MM after hitting every incentive in his contract. He tallied career bests of 1,161 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns, and as Christopher Price of WEEI.com reports, the 30-year-old Blount would love to be back with the team in 2017, though he does not know what the future holds.