AFC East Minicamp Review: Jets stay out of trouble as 2023 training camp looms

AFC East Review - Jets stay out of trouble
New England Patriots cornerback Jonathan Jones (31) pushes Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) out of bounds on a potential touchdown catch during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, in Orchard Park. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
AP Photos

When the New York Jets brought in Aaron Rodgers to be their quarterback this offseason, most analysts thought that Gang Green would be at the center of media scrutiny while the rest of the AFC East lurked in the shadows.

Somehow, that is no longer the case. 

Whether it’s key players sitting out major portions of practices, arrests, or star players looking for new homes, it’s been a busy few weeks for the rest of the residents in the Jets’ division. While each team is over a month away from the start of training camp, it’s time to review where each team sits as everyone goes away on vacation. 

Buffalo Bills – Stefon Diggs Troubles?

It’s been an odd offseason for the Buffalo Bills. After their divisional round loss to Cincinnati, wide receiver Stefon Diggs seemingly grew frustrated at the team’s inability to reach the Super Bowl. Speculation of issues growing within the team and their star have continued since then. 

During their mandatory minicamp, the All-Pro wideout was not seen on the first day of practice. Head coach Sean McDermott then called his absence “concerning” which only added fuel to the fire of some trouble brewing up north. 

Of course, later in the day, it had been reported that Diggs had actually been inside the team facility but just simply did not practice. Why McDermott decided to say the receiver wasn’t there when he actually was remains a mystery. The back-and-forth discussions between their top wideout and the organization seem to be ongoing, but for a team looking to compete for a championship, distractions like this will only get in the way of their ultimate goal.

And it leaves them vulnerable in a loaded division that a team like the Jets could take advantage of.  

New England Patriots – DeAndre Hopkins masks arrest of corner

What a week up in Foxborough.

First, New England appeared to be making strides with one of the top free-agent wide receivers in football, then it came crashing down with the arrest of one of their corners.

DeAndre Hopkins has been looking for a new home for over a week now after being released by the Cardinals. His visits to New England and Tennessee have sparked excitement in each fanbase even though a decision has not been made. The Patriots in particular though have reportedly felt a deal could get done. 

That wasn’t the only piece of news coming out of New England though. Backup cornerback Jack Jones was arrested Friday after police alleged he attempted to bring two guns onto a flight out of Boston Logan International Airport as first reported by NBC Boston. 

Jones played in 13 games last season and was a key depth player in the secondary following the selection of Christian Gonzalez. His arraignment is scheduled for next week at East Boston District Court.

Hopkins will certainly draw most of the positive media attention, but what Bill Belichick will do with Jones and his players during the quiet period of the NFL offseason will be another piece to watch as the Patriots try to improve in the AFC East. 

Miami Dolphins – Dalvin Cook, anyone?

There are not many offseasons when a Pro Bowl running back with few treads on the tires becomes available on the free agent market. That’s the case with Dalvin Cook though. Cook is going to be in for a rude awakening when he realizes the contract he is looking for has become obsolete for his position, but that doesn’t mean he won’t find a new home. 

Miami has been tied to the running back for several months now with Cook being from there. Even with the Dolphins having minimal cap space for a deal to be made, Cook can choose his own team now. If his price were to drop, it shouldn’t come as a surprise for Miami to swoop in. 

New York Jets – Is Mike Tannenbaum bitter?

It’s weird that, even with Aaron Rodgers, the Jets have been the quietest of the AFC East teams over the last few weeks. That doesn’t mean they’ve been kept out of the news though. 

Mike Tannenbaum, former Jets general manager from 2006-2014 went on ESPN last week to vent about the team’s decision to cancel minicamp

“[The Jets] started off with an ‘A+’ for the offseason and now they get an ‘F.’ Why would you cancel minicamp? That’s the most competitive part of the offseason. Every day together is a good day. You’re competing with … teams that have been together for years and years. I would take as much time as possible to have Aaron Rodgers in the building with his new teammates,” Tannenbaum vented on the subject. 

The reason why New York canceled their minicamp was quite simple- they participate in the Hall-of-Fame game in early August which means they’ll be on the field earlier than any other team in football. The decision from Saleh was a no-brainer that had the entire locker room happy about the decision. 

Tannenbaum’s diatribe that this decision would somehow hurt the Jets’ offseason was laughable and pretty much the only thing that’s happened over the last few weeks in Florham Park. 

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