Back in August of 2018 after another frustrating year of seeing the New England Patriots who ended up winning the AFC East for the umpteenth time I vented and wrote this:
“How many years has it been that the Miami Dolphins, New York Jets and Buffalo Bills have been gifting New England a trip to the playoffs?
It is as if these teams have decided there is no chance to beat New England so let us fight for second place in the division. It is not just the players it seems like it is everybody!
These organizations, the coaches and the players have given up on the idea of competing against New England, they have laid down and allowed themselves to be rolled repeatedly, for well over 19 years.
It is just ridiculous!”
That was 5 years ago, I finally can say in 2023 that the AFC East has not only caught up with the Patriots but have surpassed them. I know you cannot count Bill Belichick out but on paper the Patriots appear to be the weakest team in the loaded AFC East. How good is our division?
This offseason has brought the most significant changes to two teams in the AFC East, the Miami Dolphins (Jalen Ramsey & Vick Fangio) and the Jets signing (Aaron Rodgers) those moves have tightened the gap between the Division front runners the Buffalo Bills and the rest of the AFC East.
I know I am biased, but the Dolphins made the better improvements this off-season despite only having 4 draft picks. The Jets already had a stout defense and did not lose much in free agency. I would say Sheldon Rankins might be their biggest departure. Aaron Rodgers is a huge upgrade at the QB position where he can make them contenders.
The Bills had a huge departure this off-season when LB Tremaine Edmunds was lured away with an offer that the Bills could not match the Bears offer of a four-year, $72 million contract that included $50 million fully guaranteed at signing. He will be hard to replace. Buffalo spent most of the off-season signing their own FA’s and did a decent job of not losing more players in FA. They did not improve much but at least maintained a roster that had them in first place the last 3 years.
The Brady-Less Patriots have been reeling ever since Brady’s departure and the once thought to be Genius Bill Belichick looks more like a guy who rode on the coat tails of the G.O.A.T QB who also won an added SB ring with Tampa Bay after he moved on from New England. The Patriots on the other hand have been spiraling down near the bottom of the division and look on paper to be the weakest link in the AFC East.
We will soon find out because the AFC East will play the AFC West and NFC East divisions and how they match up vs those divisions will determine how good the AFC East will be.