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AFC East Report: Which players from the Patriots’ division are headed towards free agency?

Related: AFC East Report: The biggest offseason question for each team in the Patriots’ division

Miami Dolphins v Buffalo Bills Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

The New England Patriots’ upcoming class of free agents is a big one: a total of 26 players will see their contracts with the team expire next month. That group includes some long-time cornerstones — offensive linemen David Andrews and Joe Thuney, running backs James White and Rex Burkhead, defensive tackles Lawrence Guy and Adam Butler, cornerback Jason McCourty — as well as 2020 starting quarterback Cam Newton.

The Patriots are not the only team in the AFC East that has a long list of players set to enter the market once it opens on March 17th. A look at the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins and New York Jets illustrates that New England’s division rivals also have some work ahead of them.

Buffalo Bills

2020 record: 13-3

Projected salary cap space: -$202,851

Free agents: 18 (14 unrestricted, 4 restricted)

Bills 2020 free agents

Name Position Status 2020 snaps Age Current APY
Name Position Status 2020 snaps Age Current APY
Matt Barkley QB UFA 4.9% 31 $2,000,000
Ike Boettger G RFA 57.2% 27 $572,000
Corey Bojorquez P RFA 30.4% 25 $570,000
Jon Feliciano G UFA 52.5% 28 $3,625,000
Taiwan Jones RB UFA 0.4% 33 $1,750,000
Tyler Kroft TE UFA 27.4% 29 $4,000,000
Dean Marlowe S UFA 21.5% 29 $1,150,000
Isaiah McKenzie WR UFA 24.8% 26 $962,500
Matt Milano LB UFA 31.3% 27 $665,379
Trent Murphy DE UFA 32.0% 31 $7,500,000
Josh Norman CB UFA 32.1% 34 $6,000,000
Ty Nsekhe OT UFA 5.0% 36 $5,000,000
Andre Roberts WR UFA 5.7% 33 $1,300,000
Andre Smith LB RFA 4.4% 24 $750,000
Levi Wallace CB RFA 57.1% 26 $750,000
Daryl Williams OT UFA 96.3% 29 $2,250,000
Brian Winters G UFA 56.6% 30 $3,000,000
T.J. Yeldon RB UFA 3.9% 28 $1,600,000
Over the Cap

The biggest question for the Bills heading into the offseason is whether or not they will be able to keep their offensive line intact. After all, five of the nine offensive linemen on their final 2020 roster are in need of a new contract — including three starters: while guard Ike Boettger will likely be tendered as a restricted free agent, the future of unrestricted free agents Jon Feliciano and Daryl Williams is far from certain.

What hurts Buffalo’s chances of retaining its starting O-line from a year ago is the team’s financial situation. At the moment, it is over the projected $180.5 million salary cap and thus in need to generate some wiggle room. This, in turn, could hurt the Bills’ ability to be competitive when it comes to retaining players such as Feliciano or Williams even though they certainly will have priority status this spring.

Miami Dolphins

2020 record: 10-6

Projected salary cap space: $26 million

Free agents: 18 (13 unrestricted, 1 restricted, 4 exclusive-rights)

Dolphins 2020 free agents

Name Position Status 2020 snaps Age Current APY
Name Position Status 2020 snaps Age Current APY
Vince Biegel LB UFA 0.0% 28 $2,133,000
Matt Breida RB UFA 14.2% 26 $3,259,000
Julie'n Davenport OT UFA 4.9% 26 $746,605
Ryan Fitzpatrick QB UFA 46.4% 39 $5,500,000
Isaiah Ford WR UFA 35.1% 25 $750,000
Kavon Frazier S UFA 4.6% 28 $1,047,500
Davon Godchaux DT UFA 16.7% 27 $650,487
Kamu Grugier-Hill LB UFA 19.8% 27 $3,000,000
Matt Haack P UFA 27.7% 27 $2,133,000
Mack Hollins WR UFA 26.9% 28 $758,917
Ted Karras C UFA 100.0% 28 $3,000,000
Calvin Munson LB ERFA 4.5% 27 $577,500
Nik Needham CB ERFA 53.3% 25 $540,000
Adam Pankey G RFA 2.6% 27 $690,000
Elandon Roberts LB UFA 38.9% 27 $2,000,000
Jake Rudock QB ERFA 0.0% 28 $750,000
DeAndre Washington RB UFA 8.1% 28 $910,000
Jomal Wiltz CB ERFA 0.0% 27 $540,000
Over the Cap

While the biggest name on Miami’s free agents list might just be veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, other players are more intriguing from a long-term perspective. Fitzpatrick, after all, is expected to move on from the Dolphins after having lost his starting position to first-round rookie Tua Tagovailoa midway through the 2020 season. The same cannot be said for other players headed for the open market, who played prominent roles on the team throughout the season.

Center Ted Karras and linebacker Elandon Roberts, who arrived in Miami after starting their careers in New England, are both in need of new contracts after seeing regular action last year. The same goes for defensive tackle Davon Godchaux and core special teams players Matt Haack and Kamu Grugier-Hill. All in all, though, Miami is in a comparatively good position heading towards free agency.

New York Jets

2020 record: 2-14

Projected salary cap space: $68.23 million

Free agents: 24 (19 unrestricted, 4 restricted, 1 exclusive-rights)

Jets 2020 free agents

Name Position Status 2020 snaps Age Current APY
Name Position Status 2020 snaps Age Current APY
Josh Adams RB RFA 7.6% 25 $750,000
Josh Andrews C UFA 31.4% 30 $910,000
Tarell Basham LB UFA 64.4% 27 $808,878
Daniel Brown TE UFA 2.8% 29 $960,000
Trevon Coley DT UFA 17.3% 27 $825,000
Pat Elflein G UFA 41.9% 27 $936,960
Matthias Farley S UFA 17.5% 29 $1,290,000
Joe Flacco QB UFA 25.3% 36 $1,500,000
Frank Gore RB UFA 38.4% 38 $1,050,000
Bryce Hager LB UFA 12.0% 29 $910,000
Neville Hewitt LB UFA 99.2% 28 $2,000,000
Bennett Jackson CB UFA 0.0% 30 $675,000
Jordan Jenkins LB UFA 46.4% 27 $3,750,000
Harvey Langi LB RFA 45.0% 29 $615,000
Frankie Luvu LB RFA 22.6% 25 $750,000
Arthur Maulet CB UFA 35.5% 28 $875,000
Marcus Maye S UFA 99.9% 28 $1,638,503
Bradley McDougald S UFA 38.0% 31 $4,500,000
Patrick Onwuasor LB UFA 0.0% 29 $2,000,000
Breshad Perriman WR UFA 65.8% 28 $6,500,000
Brian Poole CB UFA 42.3% 29 $5,000,000
Jeff Smith WR ERFA 32.2% 24 $540,000
Vyncint Smith WR RFA 5.1% 25 $615,000
Ross Travis TE UFA 0.3% 28 $825,000
Over the Cap

The second longest list of free agents behind the Patriots belongs to the Jets: 24 members of the team will need to either be re-signed, tendered or let go. That group includes some prominent names such as starting defensive backs Marcus Maye and Brian Poole, wide receiver Breshad Perriman, and running back Frank Gore. All of them saw regular action at their respective units over the course of the 2020 season.

The one position group that might face the most turnover, however, is linebacker. The top four at the position in terms of playing time last year — Neville Hewitt, Tarell Basham, Jordan Jenkins and Harvey Langi — are all set for free agency. With the exception of RFA Langi, the Jets’ linebacker room could see some considerable turnover this offseason. That being said, New York is among the league leaders in salary cap space and as such in a solid position to keep at least some of its linebacker talent around.