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AFC East Free Agency Grades

Steve Shoup

By Guest Writer Sam Pericolo:

 

New England Patriots: A+    Julian Edelman

 

Key Signings: CB Darrelle Revis, CB Brandon Browner, WR Brandon LaFell, WR Julian Edelman (re-signed), C Ryan Wendell (re-signed)

Key Losses: CB Aqib Talib, LB Brandon Spikes, RB LeGarrette Blount

 

The Patriots had an outstanding offseason. They upgraded the cornerback position by signing the best cornerback in football in Darrelle Revis. They continued to add to their secondary by adding Brandon Browner. Adding those two cornerbacks and holding onto Vince Wilfork could give Bill Belichick the best defense he has seen in New England.

While Spikes was a very good run stopper, Dont’a Hightower can step into the middle linebacker role as the run stopper and Jaime Collins will play the role of coverage linebacker, a great upgrade from Hightower and his coverage skills, or lack there of.

Bringing back Edelman is almost as important as signing Revis. It would have been cruel to take Brady’s favorite target away from him for a second consecutive year. LaFell, while most of his snaps came in the slot last year, has the size and speed to play on the outside.

 

 

Miami Dolphins: A    

 

Key Signings: LT Branden Albert, DL Earl Mitchell, G Shelley Smith, DT Randy Starks, CB Cortland Finnegan, RB Knowshon Moreno, CB Brent Grimes (re-signed)

Key Losses: T Jonathan Martin, G Richie Incognito, CB Nolan Carroll, DT Paul Soliai

 

The Dolphins needed to upgrade their offensive line. Everybody knew that. They landed the best tackle on the free agent market in Branden Albert as well as adding guard Shelley Smith.

Not only were the Dolphins able to hold onto Grimes, they upgraded the position that Nolan Carroll filled with Cortland Finnegan. He may not be what he once was, but he is still a better player than Carroll.

Moreno brings a veteran presence to a backfield that was very disappointing in 2013. At only $3 million for one year, this was a smart signing for the Fins.

 

New York Jets: C

 

Key Additions: WR Eric Decker, QB Michael Vick, T Breno Giacomini, OL Willie Colon (re-signed), OLB Calvin Pace (re-signed), K Nick Folk (re-signed)

Key Losses: T Austin Howard, CB Antonio Cromartie, S Ed Reed, TE Kellen Winslow, QB Mark Sanchez

 

The Jets overpaid for Decker; I guess that’s what you have to do to get somebody half decent to come to the Jets. He is a number two that was paid like a number one.

Michael Vick does not make a lot of sense. The Jets should commit to Geno Smith, but this signing does not seem to do so. Was he brought in just to provide some competition for Smith?

Mark Sanchez was not really a key loss. That was probably the best move the Jets made this offseason. Antonio Cromartie is a legitimate loss, however. They Jets are going to have to seriously rely on second year cornerback Dee Milliner to take a giant step forward.

 

Buffalo Bills: D    Brandon Spikes, LeSean McCoy

 

Key Signings: G Chris Williams, LB Brandon Spikes, CB Corey Graham, LB Keith Rivers, TE Scott Chandler (re-signed)

Key Losses: FS Jairus Byrd, QB Kevin Kolb

 

The Bills did not do a hell of a lot in free agency. Spikes is a good linebacker and definitely helps them against the run. However, other than that, they did not do much. Jairus Byrd, before Revis was cut, was the best free agent available. He left for the Saints and leaves the Bills much weaker in the secondary.

There is not really much to say about the Bills’ offseason. It was boring and disappointing for Bills fans.

 

 



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