Free Agency Craziness: AFC & NFC East

With the North covered, lets take a look at the East… Surely the Patriots didn’t make any big moves? Right?

AFC East

New England Patriots: The Patriots have obviously been paying attention to what has been happening in Seattle. After the loss of Talib to Playoff rivals the Broncos the Patriots needed to improve the Corner position, simply to stay in the hunt for the Lombardi. Which is exactly what they did. The Patriots brought in arguably the best Corner in the game tying him up to a reasonably modest contract. With that one move the Patriots could very well have won free agency. But this wasn’t their only move. To accompany Revis in the back field the Patriots brought in an excellent no. 2 in Brandon Browner. Yes he is missing the first 4 games with a suspension, but the Patriots could have just created the no. 1 Defensive back field in the league. On the Offence they improved by bringing in Carolina Wideout, Brandon LaFell and resigned Edelman to keep Brady surrounded by a number of important weapons. Improved Offence. Check. Improved Defence. Check. The Patriots did let go of some of the bigger names on their team. Blount had a good season last year, but didn’t do enough to keep himself on a stacked Patriots team. Spikes has had a good career with the Pat’s, but was obviously not part of Belichicks improvement plans. Whichever way you look at however the Patriots look set to be great next season, even before the draft. It is very obvious the Patriots are in it to win it.

Miami Dolphins: The big need for this team was the Offensive line which took a hit after the Jonathan Martin controversy. So without Incognito, who was arguably the best player on that line, Jonathan Martin who obviously wanted to move on (he ended up on the Niners) and with, let’s be honest, some pretty attrocious line play last year, the Dolphins needed to make a splash. Their first move was to snap up Brandon Albert after his release from the Chiefs and make him their starting Left Tackle. Now they need to fill the gaps through the draft or risk a similar season of seeing Ryan Tannehill hit the floor far too much. On Defence they re-signed Grimes to a big deal and brought in chippy CB Finnegan to compliment him on the other side. The Dolphins previous season provided enough set backs to take them out of the running for a little while, but improvement on the O-line and at Linebacker should be essential if this team is to become Division challengers.

New York Jets:  Never say they are not trying to improve. Last season the Defence played well above their expectations. This year the focus needed to be on improving the Offence and surrounding Geno with the necessary parts to see if he is the answer to their QB problem. To help Geno the Jets dropped some cash at Receiver and brought in Eric Decker, who will almost certainly be joined by some pick ups through the draft. The O-line looks set to improve to with the signing of Giacomini, not a major  move but still a decent amount of help in trying to figure out what Geno gives them. Despite a great season last year, this year the Defence needs some serious work, mainly in the backfield. The Jets let CB Cromartie go, in an area that wasn’t exactly flush in the first place. Gang-green look like they’ve added another draft need and could very well pick one up in the 1st. The big rumour surrounding this team however is that they’re close to signing Michael Vick. Vick could be the motivation Geno needs to pull his finger out and raise his game, either that or he could soon be the Jets backup.

Buffalo Bills: Arguably the biggest loss the Bills had during the Off Season is that of Defensive Coordinator, Pettine, who is now the Head Coach of the Browns. Aside from that Jarius Byrd is a huge loss, but hasn’t been happy in Buffalo for a long time. With Byrd gone and Jim Schwartz in as Defensive Coordinator, now is the time to take stock of what they’ve got and what they need to do to improve. For starters the D-line looks great and with Kiko Alonso at Linebacker, that isn’t a position of great need. After starting the season with a Secondary full of backups, now might be the time to bring in some solid starters. Corey Graham is a great start and will improve the Corner spot, but they could do with a decent Safety. On Offence they need to improve at Receiver. Much like the Jets, the Bills need to see what they’ve got in Manuel and if he really is the future for this team. There are Receivers in free agency, but the Bills would be just as well to load up through the draft in help to compliment Stevie Johnson and a backfield of talented Running Backs. The Bills are a way away yet, but with the right draft picks, could improve immensely.

NFC East

Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles were another team without a glut of desperate needs. Their big one however was in the Secondary. To help alleviate this need the Eagles brought in Malcolm Jenkins, who had lost his spot to Byrd with the Saints &  Corner, Nolan Carroll. Whilst this isn’t the answer to their needs it does help and I fully expect them to continue to improve their Secondary through the draft. The slightly shocking news was when they brought in Darren Sproles, not necessarily a player they needed, but there is no doubt it’s an exciting thought to see what Chip Kelly can do with a player like that. As previously mentioned, Vick is on his way out and this is very definitely an Offence that belongs to Nick Foles. One weapon he could be without is DeSean Jackson, who is rumoured to be in the middle of a dispute with the team after wanting a new contract. It seems that this has angered the Eagles and are now looking at trading him. Whilst he might not be their no. 1 Receiver any more he would still be a huge loss to a team that is ridiculously close to being Superbowl relevant. The Eagles have done it right so far though. Very few changes to the team and a focus on improving the poor areas. This is a very good Eagles team.

Dallas Cowboys: Oh the Cowboys. Where to start. Ok. Lets start with Cap issues, which has meant Dallas had to release Demarcus Ware and Miles Austin, both set to be huge cap hits that this team simply can’t afford. Ware will be a huge loss to a team that was already terrible on Defence and Miles Austin never found his groove after continual injuries. Despite this he was still an excellent compliment to Dez Bryant and will very much be missed. Also on their way out: Anthony Spencer, Ryan Cook and Phil Spencer. This is now a Cowboys team with huge needs and not enough money to fill them. They did however improve a couple of areas. Henry Melton was a great signing, as was Terrell McClain. But not a great deal else. This team will need to improve through the draft, but will find it difficult to fill every need.

New York Giants: The Giants are another team with big needs, mostly on the Defence. But with the loss of Hakeem Nicks and a few O-linemen, the Offence needs work too. To do this though the Giants have signed up some big names and created a team that could look very different. Top of the list are: Quintin Demps, Trindon Holliday, Rashad Jennings, Jamaal McClain, Walter Thurmond, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie & Mario Manningham. As you can see the Giants have secretly had a very successful off- season and could make some serious waves next season. Still missing though is a decent Running Back and the O-line still isn’t there, also some Linebacker help wouldn’t go a miss and someone who can come in and be as productive as Justin Tuck would be good, but a lot of this they can address through the draft. The Giants look like a team that could make serious moves next season and maybe even challenge for the Division.

Washington Redskins: It feels like the Redskins are consistently the team with the most needs and this year isn’t much of an exception. It feels like its been ages since we’ve seen a Redskins Defence that they can rely on to help the Offence and last season was no exception. That being said, they did make some moves to improve their Defence, which includes additions of: Geathers, Hatcher and Porter, as well as the re-signing of Orakpo, which provides a constant for a Defence that’s looking to make a lot of changes in a post London Fletcher world. The Offence needed work too, lack of a Receiver to support Garcon was a huge issue and with Andre Roberts they look to have found that. The next issue looks to be at Tight End, which I imagine they look for through the draft, rather than pay over the odd’s for one of the Free Agent TE’s. The Redskins will hopefully improve with a fully fit RG3, but will still need to make serious moves to get anywhere in a Division in transition.

NEXT TIME: NFC/ AFC South.