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Grading What the AFC East Has Done to This Point in Free Agency

AFC EAST


Buffalo Bills

Unsigned players: LB Akin Ayodele (UFA), QB Brian Brohm (UFA), OLB Keith Ellison (UFA), RB Quinton Ganther (UFA), DT John McCargo (UFA), TE Jonathan Stupar (UFA), CB Ashton Youboty (UFA).

Key arrivals: Ex-Chargers WR Buster Davis, Aug. 5; Ex-Packers UFA ILB Nick Barnett, July 31; Ex-Jets UFA WR Brad Smith, July 29 (four years, $15 million); Ex-Dolphins UFA QB Tyler Thigpen, July 29 (three years).

Key departures: UFA S Donte Whitner, Aug. 4 (to Bengals); UFA ILB Paul Posluszny, July 29 (to Jaguars).

Key re-signings: UFA CB Drayton Florence, July 29 (three years, $15 million); RFA TE Scott Chandler, July 29 (one year).

Grade: C+

Comment: The teams biggest priority going in was to keep Posluszny, but it only took a few days for him to bolt and sign with the Jaguars. They did recover with the inking of Barnett, but it’s a position that is going to suffer if Barnett isn’t able to stay on the field. The signing of Smith could add a spark to the offense, but only if they use him quite a bit and get him the ball. Losing Whitner wasn’t a surprise, and they were able to bring back Florence, but overall, it’s been an average offseason at best for the Bills.


Miami Dolphins

Unsigned players: RB Patrick Cobbs (UFA), TE Joey Haynos (UFA), OG Pat McQuistan (UFA), OLB Quentin Moses (UFA), QB Chad Pennington (UFA), OG Cory Procter (UFA), RB Ricky Williams (UFA).

Key arrivals: Ex-Seahawks OT Ray Willis, Aug. 6; Ex-Jets QB Kevin O’Connell, Aug. 5; Ex-Cowboys OT Marc Colombo, Aug. 1; Ex-Jets DE-OLB Jason Taylor, Aug. 1; Ex-Broncos DT Ronald Fields, July 31; Ex-Chargers UFA ILB Kevin Burnett, July 29 (five years, $21 million, $9.8 million guaranteed); Ex-Panthers UFA QB Matt Moore, July 29; Traded for ex-Saints RB Reggie Bush, July 29. Ex-Browns UFA LB Jason Trusnik, July 29.

Key departures: UFA RB Ronnie Brown, Aug. 2 (to Eagles); Released LB Channing Crowder, July 29; UFA QB Tyler Thigpen, July 29 (to Bills).

Key re-signings: RFA OL Nate Garner, Aug. 4; UFA DT Tony McDaniel, July 29 (two years).

Grade: C

Comment: An interesting offseason for the Fins, who everyone thought they were going to get Broncos QB Kyle Orton, but were unable to make a deal for him. They did acquire former Saints first-round pick Reggie Bush, and also signed Chargers UFA ILB Kevin Burnett to a big deal, hoping his presence will upgrade the LB core. They also brought back for a third time Jason Taylor, and inked Matt Moore to backup Chad Henne, who still seems to be on track to being the opening day starter. Some still feel eventually they will get back on the line with Denver and make a deal with them for Orton. Until then, a lot of questions remain.


New England Patriots

Unsigned players: S Josh Barrett (RFA), RB Fred Taylor (UFA).

Key arrivals: Ex-Redskins DE Andre Carter, Aug. 7; Ex-Jets UFA DE Shaun Ellis, Aug. 7; Ex-Texans UFA DE Mark Anderson, Aug. 5; Ex-B.C. Lions DL Steve Williams, July 30; Traded for ex-Redskins DT Albert Haynesworth, July 29 (Redskins get 2013 fifth-round pick). Traded for ex-Bengals WR Chad Ochocinco, July 28 (Bengals get late-round picks in 2012 and ’13, per ESPN.com).

Key departures: Cut S Brandon McGowan, Aug. 8; UFA S Jarrad Page, Aug. 2 (to Eagles); UFA PK Shayne Graham, Aug. 2 (to Redskins); Cut DL Ty Warren, July 29 (to Broncos); LB Ryan Coulson, July 29; Cut TE Alge Crumpler, July 29; Cut OT Nick Kaczur, July 29; Cut CB Tony Carter, July 29; Cut DT Marcus Stroud, July 29; Released OLB Tully Banta-Cain, July 29.

Key re-signings: UFA DE Gerard Warren, Aug. 8; RFA RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Aug. 3; UFA OLT Matt Light, July 31 (two years); UFA LB Tracy White, July 30; UFA S Brandon McGowan, July 30; UFA RB Kevin Faulk, July 30; UFA RB Sammy Morris, July 29 (one year); FFA OG Logan Mankins, July 29 (one year).

Grade: A-

Comment: The Pats played free agency more like a team that went 2-14 than a team that went 14-2. They were active from the moment the bell rang, going out and making deals to get Redskins DT Albert Haynesworth and Bengals WR Chad Ochocinco. The best part in their eyes is they didn’t have to give up much for them. Ochocinco and Bill Belichick are close, and some say the loudmouth WR will have a breakout season with Tom Brady throwing to him. The club let go of OLB Tully Banta-Cain, DT Marcus Stroud and DL Ty Warren. They realized that their defense has to get better to get back to the Super Bowl, another reason they went out and got former Jets DE Shaun Ellis. Bold moves by a team that doesn’t usually make many free agent mistakes.


New York Jets

Unsigned players: OLB Shawn Crable (RFA), S James Ihedigbo (UFA), LB Lance Laury (UFA), DE Trevor Pryce (UFA), FB Tony Richardson (UFA).

Key arrivals: Ex-Ravens WR Derrick Mason, Aug. 6; Ex-Giants WR Plaxico Burress, July 31 (one year, $3.017 million, $3.017 million guaranteed); Ex-Chargers CB Donald Strickland, July 30 (one year); P Chris Bryan, July 29.

Key departures: UFA DE Shaun Ellis, Aug. 7 (to Patriots); UFA WR Braylon Edwards, Aug. 4 (to 49ers); Waived QB Kevin O’Connell, July 29; UFA CB Drew Coleman, July 29 (to Jaguars); UFA WR Brad Smith, July 29 (to Bills); UFA QB Kellen Clemens, July 29 (to Redskins); UFA P Steve Weatherford (to Giants), July 29.

Key re-signings: UFA S Brodney Pool, Aug. 4; UFA CB Antonio Cromartie, Aug. 1 (four years, $32 million); UFA S Eric Smith, July 30 (three years); UFA PK Nick Folk, July 29 (one year); UFA OT Wayne Hunter, July 29 (four years); UFA WR Santonio Holmes, July 29 (five years, $50 million, $24 million guaranteed); RFA C Robert Turner, July 29 (one year).

Grade: B-

Comment: The Jets biggest concern entering free agency was what to do with their WR core. They were able to get it settled quickly, getting Santonio Holmes back, and then making a splash with the signing of Plaxico Burress. They didn’t make much of a run at Braylon Edwards, who left for San Francisco. They also brought back CB Antonio Cromartie, this after failing to be able to talk Nnamdi Asomugha into coming to New York. They also picked up veteran WR Derrick Mason, who will help their WR core, but lost Brad Smith, who was expected to leave anyway for more of a chance to have a bigger impact somewhere else. The Jets seemed to be in the news a lot, but the biggest moves were getting Holmes back, and bringing back Cromartie to play opposite Darrelle Revis.


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