Ryan Tannehill

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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Dolphins fear Tannehill lost for the season after reinjuring knee

Dolphins fear Tannehill lost for the season after reinjuring knee

DAVIE, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill reinjured his left knee in practice Thursday when it buckled as he scrambled and fell without being hit.

Tannehill walked slowly off the field accompanied by trainers. He underwent an MRI, but results weren't definitive regarding the extent of the injury, and further assessment was expected Friday.

According to Adam Schefter and Jeff Darlington of ESPN.com, the Dolphins believe Tannehill will need season-ending surgery.

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"You see your quarterback go down, you think the worst," tight end MarQueis Gray said. "He's in all of our prayers, and we hope he's back on the field."

Tannehill missed last season's final four games, including a playoff loss at Pittsburgh, after spraining two ligaments in the same knee. He decided against surgery and took part in all offseason drills.

He was wearing a brace when his knee gave out near the right sideline while running full speed to escape tackle Ndamukong Suh. Tannehill stayed on the ground at least 15 seconds surrounded by teammates before rising and leaving the field.

"I saw him buckle and go down. There was no contact on the play," offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen said. "The initial reaction is, `OK, next man up.' That's football. It's going to happen somewhere in this season. The game doesn't stop. You go on to the next play. And then, obviously, my personal thing is, `Boy, I sure hope it isn't serious.'"

The injury occurred during the seventh practice of training camp.

Matt Moore, an 11th-year veteran, went 2-2 as a starter replacing Tannehill last year and remains the backup.

"There's a reason we have Matt Moore here," Christensen said. "We hope he never has to play, and if he does, he'll be ready."

The Dolphins were already without 1,000-yard rusher Jay Ajayi, sidelined since Monday by a concussion. Their top lineman, center Mike Pouncey, has seen extremely limited activity as he returns from hip surgery.

The Dolphins spent several weeks after last season assessing the extent of Tannehill's ACL and MCL sprains before ruling out surgery, which could have jeopardized his availability for the start of this season. Tannehill rehabilitated the partially torn ligaments, underwent stem cell treatments and has been saying since May he felt 100 percent.

"Dealing with an injury like that for the first time, it was a tough process for me," Tannehill said last week after the first practice of training camp. "But the building, everyone around me, really supported me throughout that whole process. I'm glad to be back out here and feeling really healthy again."

If Tannehill's injury leaves the Dolphins in the market to sign another quarterback for depth, candidates include Colin Kaepernick, who parted ways with the San Francisco 49ers in March and remains unsigned. His decision last season to kneel during the national anthem to protest police brutality prompted national debate.

Last week, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said he hoped Kaepernick wasn't being punished by teams for his politics.

"I know that a lot has been written about it, but you know owners or coaches - they'll do anything it takes to win," Ross said. "And if they think he can help them win, I would hope they would sign him."

Pro Football Talk contributed to this report