With Aaron Rodgers now in the Big Apple leading the New York Jets, the Miami Dolphins looking all dangerous down in South Beach and the Buffalo Bills being the Bills, Hopkins to the Patriots would put Bill Belichick’s team back in prime contention…at least in the AFC East.
As the NFL offseason hits the middle of July, the fact that the All-Pro wide receiver hasn’t signed with a team means a couple of things. One, he is being extremely patient and two, teams interested in Hopkins aren’t putting forth the type of contract he is looking for.
AFC East Rumors: DeAndre Hopkins would make the Patriots very interesting
Following a visit to Foxborough in early June, it looked like Hopkins to the Patriots was a done deal, but since then the momentum has shifted a bit.
To add more discouragement if you are a Patriots fan is that the Bills are showing some interest in Hopkins. Fortunately, the idea of taking less money to ring chase doesn’t seem to appeal to Hopkins.
So, it’s down to the two teams that could use a veteran No. 1 receiver, which happen to be two situations where he can come in and be the man. Will it be the Patriots or the Titans?
If it is the Patriots, suddenly Mac Jones would have quite the arsenal around him as Hopkins would join JuJu Smith-Schuster, DeVante Parker, Kendrick Bourne and 2022 second-round pick Tyquan Thornton at receiver with Hunter Henry and Mike Gesicki at tight end. With Bill O’Brien calling the plays, suddenly the AFC East would be a four-team race…if it isn’t already.
AFC East News: Jets sign Quinnen Williams to massive new deal
With the offenses in the league stacking up, the New York Jets put some focus on defense by locking up their All-Pro defensive tackle Quinnen Williams to a massive new deal.
In an announcement made by the team on Thursday, the big pay day is a four-year, $96 million contract extension with $66 million guaranteed. Talk about getting paid, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft will be wreaking havoc in the AFC East for years to come.
Kudos to the Jets for getting the deal done.
"“We are thrilled to secure Quinnen as a New York Jet for the forseeable future, as he embodies everything we look for in our players,” Jets GM Joe Douglas said in the announcement. “He is a leader on and off the field, who does everything asked of him and more. He is a young, ascending player who has shown a consistent ability to dominate the line of scrimmage and help this team win. We are happy to have the business of football behind us and to turn our focus to getting ready for the 2023 season.”"
Coming off a career year in which he racked up 12 sacks and 28 quarterback hits, Williams will make life miserable for quarterbacks around the league, particularly his AFC East foes. So, Aaron Rodgers, Josh Allen, Mac Jones and Tua Tagovailoa, be prepared and very prepared.
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AFC East hype: Tua Tagovailoa facing big question in 2023
Speaking of quarterbacks, the field general facing as big as a question as Mac Jones is Tagovailoa.
The Dolphins quarterbackbattled concussions in 2022 and up-and-down season in which Miami went 9-8 and failed to make the playoffs.
So, the big question facing Tua in 2023 behinds staying on the field, is whether he can lead a Dolphins offense featuring Jayden Waddle and Tyreek Hill not only to the playoffs, but deep into the playoffs.
When health, Tagovailoa more than showed he can be a reason why the offense thrives. In 2022, he threw for 3,548 yards and an impressive 25 passing touchdowns vs just eight interceptions. With the dynamic duo of Waddle and Hill, Tagovailoa thrived in Mike McDaniel’s offense and showed again in 2023. The problem if you are a Dolphins fan is that it feels like he is one crucial hit to the head away from being out of the league.
In a competitive AFC East, it feels like Tagovailoa is an X-factor in which of these four teams makes the playoffs if not multiple teams.