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NFL Rumors: How the Bills, Patriots, Dolphins, and Jets Can Improve Over the 2022 Offseason

This past season, the Jets were the only team in the division to finish below .500. Where do they need help most, and how can they go about improving themselves this offseason?
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NFL Rumors: How the Bills, Patriots, Dolphins, and Jets Can Improve Over the 2022 Offseason

New York Jets

For the sixth straight season, the Jets (4-13) finished with a sub-.500 record, and for the fifth time in six seasons they ended up in the bottom of the East. According to Football Outsiders' DVOA, they finished the regular season as the seventh-worst team in football, though their troubles were far worse on the defensive end, where they rated out as the worst team to take the field in 2021. Obviously, defense needs to be their focus, but where should they devote their improvement efforts most?

Without a doubt, the backend needs to be Robert Saleh and company's most pressing concern. After all, New York was the worst passing defense in the league by a considerable margin, and they are now poised to lose safeties Marcus Maye and LaMarcus Joyner to unrestricted free agency. They need someone to step in as the leader of what is an otherwise inexperienced secondary. Top cornerbacks Bryce Hall and Brandin Echols have three years' experience between them, while safety Ashtyn Davis will enter only his third season.

The Jets are full of options to upgrade. Not only do they boast the 4th and 10th picks in the draft, but -- according to Spotrac -- they have the benefit of at least $38 million in cap space. They could opt to go with a top offensive lineman with the first pick and grab one of the many cornerbacks projected to go between picks 5 to 20 in the first round. It would then make the most sense for them to spend on a new and improved free safety, someone who would pay dividends immediately but for a pretty price. That could be in the form of Marcus Williams, who is coming off of a great year for a capped-out Saints team that can't afford to pay him the $10-plus million a year that the Jets could. It would be a match made in heaven, and when coupled with a pick like Derek Stingley or Sauce Gardner or at 10, would mean two new potential starters for what was a dreadful pass defense in 2021.

Miami Dolphins

Following a respectful 9-8 season, Miami's offseason was kicked off by a questionable firing and the number of controversial details that ensued. Things seem shaky at the top of the organization, but all things considered the on-field product isn't in bad shape. Sure, Tua Tagovailoa has yet to prove he's a Patrick Mahomes lite, but they're above solid in a number of areas, especially on the defensive side. Their biggest issue is, by a mile, on the offensive line.

According to Football Outsiders' adjusted line yards, they slotted in 30th, ahead of only the Giants and Texans. They stumbled their way to 30th and 31st in Power Success and 2nd Level Yards, respectively. Robert Hunt -- a presumed starter at guard -- was the individual to post the highest Pro Football Focus player grade at 67.4, while two others failed to exceed 51 on that scale. It's likely and imperative that they add two to three new pieces alongside Hunt and improve of Tua.

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The Dolphins will likely make use of their 29th overall pick to try and fill one of those spots at a lower cost. However, it's more important that they utilize their estimated $61 million in cap space to add a veteran or two, particularly at tackle. Orlando Brown Jr., Cam Robinson and Terron Armstead are all worthy of major contracts for the talent they have displayed, and Miami has all reason to pay what they command in free agency.

New England Patriots

Given a rookie quarterback and unknown skill players on the offensive side, most would say that the Patriots overachieved in a 10-win campaign that ended in a Wild Card loss to the division-rival Bills. Mac Jones impressed, and the defense held as true as it has in recent years.

There is more room for development then upgrading for the Patriots, but even still they could do a lot to help Jones in that development. Their line surpassed expectations, but the receivers on the outside need to produce and complement their two talented tight ends. Kendrick Bourne was the only Patriot receiver to rank inside the top 60 in Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement (DYAR). He undoubtedly enjoyed a nice, efficient season, but the fact that he overshadowed everyone not named Jakobi Meyers says something -- a negative something. After all, Bourne only played 52% of snaps.

The price tags on guys like Davante Adams and Allen Robinson II are probably too steep for New England. They have just over $7 million in projected cap space at this point, meaning they would have to find a second-tier guy to overplay his salary or add in the draft. That could be in the form of established names such as JuJu Smith-Schuster, Will Fuller, or even Michael Gallup. Whereas, on the draft side, they could have their pick of a handful of young studs such as Treylon Burks, Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson -- maybe even Alabama receiver Jameson Williams. Whichever way they decide, the Pats will need to bring in a threat to help make Mac Jones the best of himself.

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Buffalo Bills

Indeed, the Bills are on the other side of the conversation around the AFC East's top two. They completed their regular-season success with 11 wins and parlayed that into a win over New England and a close loss in the divisional matchup vs Kansas City. By the metrics, their performance resulted in the NFL's second-best overall DVOA -- 10th offensively and 1st defensively.

The Bills did not struggle, per se, in any one area. As with most teams that fail to win it all, though, they have areas to tend to. The chief concern is a new one for Sean McDermott and the team: the pass rush. Both veteran ends, Mario Addison and Jerry Hughes, are set to enter free agency, vacating 1,089 snaps and 9 sacks between them. Gregory Rousseau will be the future at one end spot, but they'll want to add another through the draft or on the open market.

What Buffalo wishes to do and are able to do are two different things. A few big contracts have virtually eliminated their cap space, unless they make other moves ahead of the new league year. That leaves the draft as the only viable option at this point. And though many analysts look for them to add a receiver like Burks, Minnesota's Boye Mafe would be a great fit at that 25th spot. He and Rousseau could prove a cost-effective way to harass signal callers for the next two to three years in Buffalo.

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