If we had to place teams in the AFC into tiers, the New England Patriots would be alone in Tier I, and the Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders would have been joined by the Kansas City Chiefs in Tier II- but the Chiefs surprise release of WR Jeremy Maclin might have dropped the Chiefs to Tier III with the Tennessee Titans, Denver Broncos, and Indianapolis Colts.
#Bills are in "preliminary talks" 2 sign Jeremy Maclin, per source. LeSean McCoy is recruiting the WR and the team wants him onboard as well— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) June 4, 2017
Maclin would join McCoy, WR Sammy Watkins, and TE Charles Clay as established veterans in a pretty talented, but incredibly injury-prone, offense. QB Tyrod Taylor and his impeccable deep ball would be a perfect match of talent with Maclin’s skill set, too.
(Note: I think that Taylor is one of the more underrated quarterbacks in the league and that he was truly handcuffed by Rex Ryan’s inept coaching. I think he’ll do better moving forward.)
And while the Bills wouldn’t be in Tier III, they could definitely rise to the top of Tier IV with the Cincinnati Bengals, Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans, and Miami Dolphins- and with some luck, that could be enough to steal one of the wild card spots and make the playoffs for the first time since 1999.
This also made me wonder how many different upgrades would a team in the AFC East have to make in order for me to consider them legitimate competition to the Patriots for the division title.
The Dolphins and Bills would need to add a stud player at each level of the defense, but both need their quarterbacks to take steps forward to be consistent playoff contenders. The Jets could add five All Pro players and I still wouldn’t consider them actual threats.
Maclin would help bolster the Bills offense, but it’s their defense that needs the most help.