Keep: E.J. Gaines CB
- The Bills have a good handful of sneaky good free agents hitting the open market this off season. None of them are as pressing as E.J. Gaines with how weak their corner depth is outside of Tre'Davious White. Who is still just a rookie so who knows if he continues to maintain that level of play his sophomore season. Gaines was kind of a throw away player the Rams gave to the Bills in their three team trade last summer, but it ended up being a good get for the Bills. When on the field and healthy he played very well as one of the better slot corners in the league. However, the big issue is his inability to stay healthy and his sudden emergence during his contract season. Maybe they could sneak a cheaper and shorter deal with him convincing him on how well he fits in coach McDermott's defense.
Cut: Richie Incognito OG
- The Bills have a sizable $30 million in cap space, but if they want to make a run at Kirk Cousins they should clear out more space. Incognito gets a lot of press more on what he says than what he does on the field. Forgetting about what trouble his mouth can get him into. His play on the field has not been as good as it was during the beginning of his little career renaissance in Buffalo. At this point I think his age might be catching up with him and he generally just does not look like a good fit in this current regimes system. Cutting him would take $6 million off the books for them and make a spot to possibly put the enigmatic Cordy Glenn. Of course, cutting Tyrod Taylor could be in play if they come close to signing Cousins, but until that happens I think they should hang on to him.
Sign: Kirk Cousins QB Washington Redskins
- I will probably be putting Cousins down for a lot of teams that could use a quarterback, but it's not often a high caliber starting quarterback hits the market. I have no clue why the Redskins would prefer to roll with older and clearly limited Alex Smith over Cousins who still has the higher ceiling. The Bills should definitely be in the sweepstakes to land him so they do not have to waste their plethora of draft picks to move up and land another unknown young quarterback to develop. I think Cousins would work well in Buffalo with LeSean McCoy behind him and a few nice receiving options. They also have a solid defense to help him out. Just with this move I can see them competing at least admirably against New England next year.
Ideal Draft Pick: Denzel Ward CB Ohio St & Mike McGlinchey OT Notre Dame
- With two draft picks in the first round they could move up for a quarterback, but like I said above landing a known quarterback gives them more flexibility and ability to compete right away. That way they can land a possible lock down corner to pair with Tre'Davious White giving them a pair of corners to rival Jacksonville. Then with their other pick they should target the top tackle available to either push Dion Dawkins to the right side or take over the right tackle spot himself. McGlinchey could slide if he proves scouts right that he looks more like an ideal right tackle than a true left tackle. If that happens the Bills can steal him and turn him into an All-Pro right tackle.
Keep: Damien Williams RB
- The Dolphins really do not have too many outstanding free agents to bring back. Maybe William Hayes is more of a valuable player, but he just clogs up an opportunity for their recent first rounder to get consistent starting time. After trading away Jay Ajayi they had a bit of a difficult time trying to find a balance between their two backs Kenyan Drake and Damien Williams. However, down the stretch they found a good balance. Bringing back Williams on a cheap deal will allow them to continue that blend of power and speed between the two. Bringing back Williams is not a bad idea and will not cost much either.
Cut: Julius Thomas TE
- I would lean towards cutting Ndamukong Suh if nothing else, but to bring a different leadership to the locker room than his brand of lethargy. However, that would only save about $3 million off the cap and he was a consistent presence playing the most snaps on their defense. Instead, cutting a player who definitely took the money and ran in Julius Thomas could be a better choice. Cutting him clears out about $5 million in cap space and allows them to find a better more motivated option. Hell resigning the aging Anthony Fasano is a better opinion than Thomas at this point.
Ideal Draft Pick: Quenton Nelson OG Notre Dame
- I know it's probably unlikely for Nelson to make it out of the first round. However, I can see it happening if a bunch of teams trade up and move around causing him to get lost in the shuffle. The Dolphins need to retool this o-line and even though Jermon Bushrod played admirably at guard they could do a lot better. Nelson is a sure fire lock to be a top notch player in the first round compared to the rest of the projects in the first round. Adding him would give the Dolphins a nice young left side on the line with Laremy Tunsil developing as a left tackle. If not Mike McGlinchey may be a reach at 11, but may be the right pick for this team.
New England Patriots:
Keep: Nate Solder OT
- The Pats have two top end starters hitting free agency in Nate Solder and Malcolm Butler. I think they knew that Butler would be gone, which is why they brought in Stephon Gilmore who continues to play better each week and came up clutch in the championship game against the Jags. However, finding a quality left tackle in this league is extremely difficult. In Brady's twilight years you do not want to bring in a rookie or lesser option there at left tackle. Solder knows the system, has been a quality blocker, and seemingly is healthy each year. He may not be the best tackle in the league, but he is no slouch and should be a priority to bring back for the Patriots.
Cut: Dwayne Allen TE
- What a waste of talent Allen has been in the pros. He showed flashes of good play when he was in Indy with lesser talent, but with Brady and company he has essentially nonexistent. I would say Gronk could be a cut candidate with his inability to stay healthy, but I would hold on to him since he is probably the best tight end when healthy. Instead, cutting Allen would save them about $5 million in cap space to use else where like resigning Nate Solder or another more useful player.
Sign: Jimmy Graham TE Seattle Seahawks
- This is a signature move pick up by the Patriots. Landing someone who is playing below his normal ability and getting the most out of him for a year or two. Graham is looking for a big deal and if they give him an easy out deal like they did with Darrell Revis this could be a huge signing for them. Just imagine how difficult defending the Patriots in the red zone would be with Gronk and Graham in the middle of the field towering over everyone. Graham's play has dropped off a bit of late, but did seem to play better last year as a go to red zone target for Russell Wilson so maybe he can turn it back up on a team in contention in New England.
Ideal Draft Pick: Harold Landry OLB Boston College
- Having one of the last picks in the draft gives the Patriots the advantage of just taking the best player available and not worrying about needs really since their team is already pretty solid. The Patriots how ever would love if one of the standing edge rushers at the top fall to them which includes Landry. The former Boston College product could slide a bit due to his one dimensional style of play with rushing the passer with speed and being a limited run defender. If that is the case the Patriots should take him since they need just better pass rushers to pair with their solid interior defense. They will find a way to get the most out of him as well and could be one of the best spots for him.
New York Jets:
Keep: Kony Ealy DE
- Josh McCown could be the guy they should keep, but I imagine they would rather get a new quarterback rather than roll with him again. A more pressing need in my opinion is retooling this pass rush. Ealy looked great to begin the year, but started to fade down the stretch. If they can figure out a way to work him into the rotation he could provide some nice spark in the pass rushing game than Leonard Williams who is more of a run stopping end at this point than a pass rusher. The Jets have a ton of cap space and should be able to keep Ealy on a cheaper deal.
Cut: Muhammad Wilkerson DE
- I just do not understand players getting paid millions of dollars and are seemingly okay with throwing it all away. Wilkerson is a talented pass rusher without a doubt when he puts in the effort. However, too often does he not show up to practice or comes late to be a reliable teammate. Not only that, but I have a feeling he over plays injuries to not play since coming to practice is so hard on him. He is probably more of a cancer than anything on a team trying to create new culture away from the lax Rex Ryan days. Cutting Wilkerson would free up $11 million in cap space that could be put towards someone who actually wants to play.
Sign: Kirk Cousins QB Washington Redskins
- Like I said earlier I think a lot of teams will be in the sweepstakes to land Cousins since it's not often a Pro Bowl quarterback in his prime ends up being a free agent. Having a ton of cap space gives the Jets a bit of a leg up to land him. They also have a solid well rounded roster that would only need a few more tweaks until it's a consistent team each week. Cousins would also give them more flexibility in the draft and with their cap space could start finding players to bring in to play with him. Much like the Bills if they landed Cousins there could finally be a team in the division that could push the Patriots for the first time since Chad Pennington retired.
Ideal Draft Pick: Bradley Chubb DE N.C . State
- There are two guys that I think would be perfect for the Jets if they get Cousins. One being Saquon Barkley, but I doubt he makes it there. The other would be Chubb who can take the place of Muhammad Wilkerson and give them a player who actually wants to play. He has a high motor on the edge and would fit perfectly in their defensive scheme. If they fail to sign Cousins however, this would change to a quarterback and my preference would be Sam Darnold if I were them. Mayfielf and Rosen just have bad news written all over them if they land in New York with the hounding media and plethora of distractions. Darnold seems to me to be more of a head down kind of guy who will get the job done.