AFC East Free Agency Forecast

As with the NFL, and most recently the NBA, I have locked myself out of writing any posts for an extended period of time. However, with all of this hullabaloo (yea I said it) seemingly coming to an end with the NFL, I figured I would share some of my feelings with you.  You will have to keep in mind the whole restricted/unrestricted thing may change with a new CBA and some guys that I may list could be off limits. 

That being said The AFC East seems to be getting more competitive. The Jets are making a run of becoming the Eagles of this decade by losing two consecutive conference championships in a row. The Patriots still have Tom Brady and the young defense is starting to get it. The Dolphins defense looks to be even better this coming year and if they had a clue on offense could contend. The Buffalo Bills are no longer a scheduled win on the schedule and have a lot of young talent to steal some wins away.  Today I will be focusing on the offensive side of the ball and give you some names to look out for.

It would seem that there would only be two teams in the market for a quarterback, however the Bills seem to be standing by Fitzpatrick and in my opinion it’s the best move that Gailey has made since he’s been there.Miamiwill most likely be looking to land a veteran, some names I could see ending up inSouthBeachwould be Carson Palmer, Vince Young, Matt Hasslebeck, and possibly Mcnabb. I think the best fit would be Palmer however both he and Mike Brown seem to be sticking to their guns. I can’t see Palmer retiring and for the right price I think Brown would pull the trigger. Bottom line, Henne will probably start next year andMiamiwill run the ball about 60 times a game.

The running back position will probably see the most movement especially in this division.New Englandneeds more balance and an injection of some youth in the backfield. The law firm was great last season but with Fred Taylor and Sammy Morris applying for social security and Kevin Faulk most likely retiring, they need one or two guys to fill the void. The Jets simply cannot rely on LT and Shonn Greene to shoulder the load. They drafted McKnight out of USC last year and he struggled getting into the offense.Miami, similair toNew Englandneeds one or two backs. They drafted Daniel Thomas out ofKansasStateand the remaining backs from their roster are all free agents (Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams, Patrick Cobbs, Lex Hilliard).Buffaloseems to be the most stable at the position and may add someone to replace Fred Jackson

DeAngelo Williams is the biggest name and best buy in my opinion. I have sources (I really do) that have reported that Williams bought a home inMiami….coincidence? Probably, if I had the money I would have a home inSouthBeachtoo. That being saidMiamihas spent the most money in free agency almost every offseason in the past five years and I have a feeling Williams will end up inMiami. Another big name that will have some rumors swirling around it will be Reggie Bush. All signs point to the Saints moving on and you can’t tell me that a coordinator wouldn’t be able to find use for him.  Look for a Darren Sproles sighting in the AFC East next year as well. I could seeNew Englandlanding either player. Both can catch the ball out of the backfield and have the explosiveness that the current wide receivers are lacking. Ahmad Bradshaw would also be a good fit for the Patriots as well with his downhill running still. The Jets may want the players I just listed as well as any of the Ricky and Ronnie duo from the Phins. I could seeBuffalotaking a flyer on a guy like Mike Tolbert or Michael Bush to replace the hard nose runner they may be losing with Fred Jackson’s possible departure.

The wide receiver position will be interesting. The Jets would be dumb to not re-sign Santonio Holmes and they would be just as smart to re-sign Braylon Edwards. Edwars catches a lot of criticism and rightfully so, for his dropoff after his monster 2008 season. However towards the end of last season he came around. His catch against Indy was huge and if he does become a free agent he would command some decent cash from teams.New Englandcould be looking to add the stretch the field asset they once had with Randy Moss. Could that be Vincent Jackson? If so, there is no reason this team couldn’t make another Super Bowl run.MiamiaddedMarshalllast season and also drafted the speed guy they were lacking in Edmund Gates. They probably won’t be making a move for a wideout, however there has been some politicking going on from Brandon Marshall to add his best friend and ex-college teammate Mike Sims-Walker.Buffaloneeds another guy to help out Steve Johnson and lee Evans. They could be in the market for a guy like James Jones from Green Bay who I think is a poor mans Brandon Marshall, he is a big physical receiver just not a lot of speed.

I don’t see a lot of big time tight ends going anywhere. I also don’t see a huge need for the position within the division.New Englanddrafted a great pair with Gronkowski and Hernandez and should be set. The Jets have Dustin Keller and don’t use him enough in my opinion. The Dolphins could certainly use an upgrade at the position to help free up Fasano from blocking all the time. The Buffalo Bills have a number of young guys and could definitely bring in a guy like Owen Daniels who may move on from the Texans.

Offensive line will be interesting in this division. The biggest story will be what will happen with Logan Mankins. IfNew Englandparts ways with him depending on if they can and will franchise him again they have an issue in the middle of that line. They are very strong on the outside with Volmer and the new giant Solder on the other side. Light may resign for a hometown discount, but I’m not sure either side will be keen on that. The Jets lost Damien Woody and both Rex Ryan and Tony Sparano would love to add the high priced guard. If Mankins is off the table look forMiamito go after Davin Joseph hard. Carl Nicks, Ryan Kalil, and Harvey Dahl are all quality guys that again may or may not be available.  I’m not sure ifBuffalowould be in the bidding for Mankins but they could certainly use a tackle. The best options at Tackle are Tyson Calbo, Jared Gaither, and Doug Free. Who knows,Buffalocould keep Matt Light in the division and let Cameron Wake abuse him some more. Center is pretty solid in this division,Miamidrafted Pouncey to be their center in the first round of the draft  and the other teams in the division are pretty decent up the middle. If they wanted to upgrade they could try to pick up Olin Kruetz or Samson Satele, howeverMiamishipped Satele out of the division because he couldn’t handle the big nose tackles like Wilfork and Jenkins.

The Bills and Dolphins need the most help offensively ranking 28th and 30th in scoring offense but that doesn’t mean New England and New York won’t snag some of the players that I’ve listed. All four teams can improve in certain areas and it seems that we will soon be finding out who is going where.

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