Leaning back in his office chair Thursday morning with one foot against his desk, Rex Ryan gave a thumbs-up to the Buffalo Bills' aggressive moves during the first week of free agency and was unafraid to add his unfiltered take on Buffalo's division rival, the New England Patriots.
“I feel pretty good about what we’ve added," Ryan told Toronto's SportsNet 590. "So we'll see. ... I think the conference really got stronger. If anything, it currently doesn’t look – if you can say winners and losers in free agency – obviously New England had to cut quite a few players.
"So obviously they don’t look as strong as they did. I certainly hope they’re not. They just got through winning the Super Bowl. But I believe the rest of the division really has got stronger. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. I truly believe that we got stronger.”
The Bills have been one of the NFL's most active teams this offseason, trading for running back LeSean McCoy and Matt Cassel while signing wide receiver Percy Harvin, fullback Jerome Felton and quarterback Tyrod Taylor. They also brought back defensive end Jerry Hughes and special-teams ace Marcus Easley on long-term deals.
Yet the Bills' aggression has been matched by their opponents in the AFC East: The Miami Dolphins splurged on defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and the New York Jets made cornerback Darrelle Revis the centerpiece of an overhauled secondary.
Revis, of course, is the Patriots' most significant departure this offseason, but he hasn't been alone: New England did not pick up 2015 options on defensive tackle Vince Wilfork and cornerback Brandon Browner, making them both free agents. They did, however, re-sign top safety Devin McCourty.