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NY Jets: Tom Brady is adios, AFC East is finally up for grabs in 2020

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - JANUARY 04: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots runs towards the bench before the AFC Wild Card Playoff game against the Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium on January 04, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - JANUARY 04: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots runs towards the bench before the AFC Wild Card Playoff game against the Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium on January 04, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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The #Jets Zone w/ @BoyGreen25; @JimNagy_SB, @seniorbowl:– How #coronavirus has affected scouts.– BTS access to chaos of UDFA + possible solutions.– Why "there's not a division in football more wide open than the AFC East in 2020." #NFLDraft #TakeFlighthttps://t.co/HAaR03zQLh

— The Jets Zone (@TheJets_Zone) April 8, 2020

Tom Brady left the New England Patriots this offseason which means the AFC East is up for grabs. Here are details and how it affects the NY Jets.

The NY Jets have been watching from the sideline for much of the last two decades as the New England Patriots celebrated Super Bowl championships, double-digit wins, and of course AFC East divisional titles.

But for the first time since 2002, the NY Jets have a legitimate chance to wrestle away the crown.

It’s been over 18 years since Gang Green hoisted up an AFC East crown and enjoyed the accompanying home playoff game that comes with it. But with Tom Brady leaving the Patriots this offseason by joining a different division and quite frankly a different conference entirely over in the NFC with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, there’s finally hope.

On The Jets Zone podcast, Executive Director of the Reese’s Senior Bowl Jim Nagy said the AFC East “is the most wide-open division in all of football, heading into 2020.”

If you’d like to listen to the full conversation going over the chaos of undrafted free agency, breaking down the top needs for the NY Jets heading into the draft, and some you can click here.

Although who really thought Brady was going to leave this offseason? Will Bill Belichick simply figure things out as he did back in 2008 with Matt Cassel? What are their plans in the 2020 NFL Draft?

We decided to go behind enemy lines and spoke with our friends over at Musket Fire, our sister FanSided site covering everything New England Patriots to find out more info!

Q: Did you guys seriously think you were going to lose Tom Brady this offseason? Also weigh in on the age-old question, who deserves the most credit for the overwhelming success over the years: Tom Brady or Bill Belichick?

“Honestly, I’m still shocked that we lost Tom Brady. I think for myself and for a lot of Patriots fans and analysts, the whole path leading up to Brady’s decision seemed like posturing and calculated strategy on both sides, rather than telltale signs that a divorce was imminent. It’s still surreal to think he’s no longer on the roster.

As far as who deserves the most credit for the Patriots’ success over the past 20 years, Brady said it best in his recent interview with Howard Stern: He can’t do what Belichick does, and Belichick can’t do what he does. Perhaps if Brady leads the Bucs to a Super Bowl title or Belichick leads the Pats to another championship, maybe this debate gets juicy again. But for the time being, there’s no reasonable way to draw a firm conclusion on it.”

Next: Jarrett Stidham?!

Q: What are fair expectations for Jarrett Stidham in 2020?

“No one’s expecting Jarrett Stidham to be Tom Brady — not even post-40 Brady. If Stidham can take care of the football and show consistent growth over the course of the season, then maybe he could be the answer for this team long-term. We should learn a lot about him this fall, as the Patriots’ schedule is brutal this year.”

Q: I know everyone says the Patriots have Bill Belichick so they’ll figure it out, but seriously give it to me straight here, how confident are you guys that it is still your division to lose in 2020?

“There’s no denying the fact that New England’s division rivals have gained serious ground on them over the past couple seasons — particularly now since Brady’s gone. If anyone’s going to challenge the Pats in 2020, it’ll probably be the Bills — they came closest in 2019, and they got better this offseason while New England definitely got worse. Still, the bones of a 12-4 Pats team that won the division last season are there again this year, and as you said, no one’s better than Bill Belichick at figuring out problems and overcoming adversity. I think New England wins the AFC East at least one more time before someone else claims it.”

Next: Patriots' 2020 NFL Draft plans

Q: What’s the team’s biggest needs heading into the 2020 NFL Draft?

“The biggest needs heading into the 2020 NFL Draft for the Patriots are at tight end, wide receiver, linebacker, defensive end, and quarterback. As much as Belichick loves to draft for his defense and trade/sign free agents for his offense, he might need to eschew that practice this month. Stidham will be toast unless Belichick surrounds him with some better playmakers than what Brady had in 2019.”

NY Jets: 4 NFL Draft day trade down packages the team should consider. Next

Q: Who do you see them taking 23rd overall in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft?

“It’s hard to see Belichick drafting a QB, WR, or TE in the first round. The Pats are seemingly content to figure out what they have in Stidham, this draft is absurdly deep at wideout, and it’s absurdly shallow at tight end. Expect New England to go defense with the No. 23 pick and then offense-heavy afterward. Someone like Iowa’s A.J. Epenesa would make sense and fill a need in the first round.”

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