Jets' Frank Gore Says AFC East Is 'Wide-Open' After Tom Brady's Patriots Exit

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMay 21, 2020

Buffalo Bills running back Frank Gore (20) runs the ball against the Dallas Cowboys during an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

The New England Patriots have won the AFC East in each of the last 11 seasons, but Frank Gore believes Tom Brady leaving in free agency could change things.

"I think it's wide-open," Gore said Thursday, per Brian Costello of the New York Post.

Gore signed a one-year deal with the New York Jets this offseason after spending the previous two years within the division with the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills.

The Patriots have dominated this division for over a decade, going 5-1 against AFC East opponents in each of the last four years.

However, the run to the playoffs will be different without Brady, who signed a two-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason. The last time the Patriots didn't win the four-team division was in 2008, when Brady tore his ACL in Week 1 and missed the rest of the season.

The league's No. 1 defense also lost key members like Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins Sr. to free agency.

It could allow a team like the Bills to contend for a division championship after going 10-6 last year. According to Caesars Palace, Buffalo is the favorite to win the AFC East at even money.

The Jets could also be a contender following the 7-9 campaign in 2019. The team ended last season with a lot of momentum after six wins in the final eight games.

Gore will try to bring with him a lot of veteran experience to a young team as he enters his 16th NFL season. The 37-year-old ran for a career lows in yards (599) and yards per carry (3.6) last year for the Bills.

Miami also improved this offseason through free-agent signings like Byron Jones and a big draft class starting with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. All of these moves could create an exciting race for a division title after a lot of continuity in past seasons.