It didn't take Malcolm Butler long to find a new home. After being inexplicably benched for the Super Bowl, Butler found out just how wanted he is among the rest of the NFL as the Tennessee Titans inked him to a $61 million contract.

In another simultaneous move, the team added another former New England Patriot in running back Dion Lewis. The four year deal for Lewis is reported to make him one of the top ten highest paid running backs in the league.

The Patriots expected to lose both players to free agency. The only surprise is how quickly, and for how much, both players signed.

New England South

The Titans have slowly been building the team that best suits their franchise quarterback Marcus Mariota. The addition of Lewis perfectly compliments bruising running back Derrick Henry. The young receiving targets also give Mariota ample options as the offense looks to be one of the better ones in the league in 2018.

Butler comes in as the second former Patriot in the secondary. Logan Ryan signed last season and became a solid lockdown defender, just as he was in New England. Playing together again, the expectations will be high as they try to recreate the same magic that led them to a title.

Not to be overlooked is new head coach Mike Vrabel. A star player during his time in New England, Vrabel has developed into a stellar coach and takes over his first team this season.

Bringing in a couple of more players who know the "Patriot Way" is sure to go a long way as Vrabel establishes his culture in the locker room.

Building on last season

The team had by all accounts a very successful 2017 season. Making the playoffs, while also winning a Wild Card game was huge for the young team. They ran into a buzzsaw when they met the Patriots in the playoffs, but that was to be expected.

The division is wide open. Jacksonville returns as the early favorites, but can Blake Bortles repeat the magic of last season? Indianapolis is rebuilding and banking on Andrew Luck returning to the field, though there are no guarantees. Houston will be looking to rebound when DeShawn Watson comes back, but he also will be a question mark as he returns from a devastating knee injury.

The early free agent additions are sure to make this team even more dangerous going into 2018, as teams like the Patriots continue to age. They have the pieces in place to make a real run in the AFC as, beyond the Patriots, the road to the Super Bowl is wide open.