New York Jets

Washington Post survey: Patriots have NFL's easiest schedule

Washington Post survey: Patriots have NFL's easiest schedule

A rematch of the AFC Championship Game, another trip to Pittsburgh against the perennial AFC-contending Steelers, matchups against other playoff teams such as the Vikings and Chiefs... 

That's part of the easiest schedule in the NFL, according to a Washington Post survey, and it belongs to the New England Patriots.

The Post's Neil Greenberg, whose formula had the Pats with the easiest schedule a year ago, too, writes that he uses "a blend of Super Bowl LIII future odds from the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook coupled with the over/under win totals set by online sportsbook 5Dimes" to make his determination.

That method has New England opponents expected to win an average of 7.5 games, with two - the Steelers and Packers - estimated to win 10 or more.

As usual, it's the AFC East that brings the Pats' strength of schedule down. The Bills, Dolphins and Jets aren't expected to win more than seven games, according to the Post survey, and none of them have even a one percent chance to win the Super Bowl.

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Jets rescind free agency offer to Ndamukong Suh

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File photo

Jets rescind free agency offer to Ndamukong Suh

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Ndamukong Suh won't become a New York Jet.

Acting owner Christopher Johnson said Sunday the team has rescinded its offer to the free agent defensive tackle.

Johnson was vague on reasons for the move, admitting though that it "didn't seem to be in keeping with our long-term plan."

Suh has said the Jets made the largest offer, something Johnson couldn't confirm. The owner said he discussed the offer with the former Lions and Dolphins player with general manager Mike Maccagnan "and I think our thinking changed a bit. It was a pretty high offer; all these good guys will be a lot of money."

New York has plenty of cap space to afford Suh, particularly after losing out in the bidding for quarterback Kirk Cousins, who chose Minnesota. But Johnson, in charge of the Jets while his brother, primary owner Woody Johnson, serves as ambassador to the United Kingdom, indicated the team is comfortable having the room to afford big-ticket players next year.

Johnson was not part of the process when Maccagnan made the original offer to Suh.

"Saying I stepped in is somewhat overstating the case," Johnson said. "Looking into what our plan is, it was apparent to the two of us that this didn't work."

The Jets have a need on the defensive line after releasing Muhammad Wilkerson, now with the Packers, and previously trading Sheldon Richardson. They own the third overall pick in next month's draft, having traded up from the sixth spot, but Johnson indicated - while, he joked, trying to keep a "poker face" - that the Jets will select a quarterback there.

Suh, 31, is a five-time Pro Bowler who was released by Miami at the start of free agency.

Suh was halfway through the $114 million, six-year deal he signed when he joined the Dolphins in 2015. Along with the incentive of creating $17 million in cap space this year, the move was widely seen as part of coach Adam Gase's attempt to improve the locker room culture following a 6-10 season.

Suh's standoffish personality raised questions about his leadership, and he has never been on a team that won a playoff game.

Johnson said there is no mandate on Maccagnan and coach Todd Bowles to make the playoffs this season. The Jets were 5-11 in 2017 with an under-talented roster and actually had a shot at a .500 record until veteran quarterback Josh McCown broke his left hand in December.

"I think it's counterproductive," Johnson said. "It can't happen fast enough; I want this team to be deep in the p layoffs, the type of team that can go to the playoffs year after year. I don't want to load up on people who can get you there, not keep you there."

AFC East is starting to prepare for post-Brady life

AFC East is starting to prepare for post-Brady life

The Patriots' "direction" never really changes. They're always "going for it" because they're always one of the best teams in the league. 

The rest of the AFC East is usually in flux. The other teams range from hoping for 8-8 to trying to bottom out in hopes of a high draft pick. Yet right now, it seems the stars are aligning and that the Jets, Bills and Dolphins all have the mindset: Change things now and be ready to pounce once Brady is gone. 

The Jets traded up to No. 3 on Saturday, assuring themselves a chance at one of this draft's top quarterbacks. The Bills, with picks Nos. 12 and 22, are expected by pundits to make a similar move up. The Dolphins, fresh off cutting bait with Ndamukong Suh in an attempt at a culture change, have the 11th pick and could use it on a quarterback to either push or replace Ryan Tannehill. 

None of the three teams are close to pushing the Patriots as long as Brady's around, even with the Bills coming off a season in which they reached the playoffs. Yet there's a two-or-three-year plan on which all three teams could have designs: Get the quarterback now, build around him and be in a good situation by the time Brady is done. 

We've seen these teams try to rebuild before during the Brady Era, with only limited success. Mark Sanchez worked out better in New York than anyone could have initially expected, but that success lasted way shorter than any believers could have hoped. Now, it seems they try again. 

Over in Buffalo, the end of the Tyrod Taylor era hardly means the beginning of the Nathan Peterman era. Those two first-rounders should easily be able to get the Bills into the top five, and they've also got two second-rounders and two third-rounders. Hell, they have the pieces to get to No. 1 if Cleveland is bold enough to pass on their choice of Darnold/Rosen/Allen/Mayfield. 

The Dolphins are in the more interesting spot. Tannehill missed all of last season and he's 29. If you're six years into your career and your team still isn't totally sure if you can be one of the better QBs in the league, you probably aren't one of the better QBs in the league. At the very least, Lamar Jackson should be there at No. 11. They could also trade up. 

At the start of last season, the Patriots had far and away the two best QBs in the AFC East. Now, it stands to reason that at least two of their divisional opponents (the Jets and Bills) will come away with what they hope are franchise quarterbacks. And if any of these guys hit, the Pats will have gone from the best QB situation in the NFL to seeing some actual competition waiting for them by the time their own quarterback is done. 

Of course, all three of these teams usually suck at everything, so it shouldn't be a big deal. 

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