Will Hastings

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 NESN.com 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 NFL.com (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 NESN.com’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.