Did you miss me?
My buddy, "ESPN.com staff," said you all were solid while I was on vacation. So I won't flood the AFC East blog with two Tim Tebow posts per day this week. But that's always subject to change in seven days (wink, wink).
Anyway, a lot happened in the AFC East when I was away. So we are going to skip Monday's "Morning take" in order to catch up on recent issues within the division.
Story No. 1: Dolphins OLB Cameron Wake holds out.
Issue: Wake, who is scheduled to make $615,000 next season, is holding out for more money. He skipped the beginning of the team's offseason workout program last week and reportedly plans to miss more time if a resolution isn't reached.
Walker's take: This is another big blow to a horrific offseason for the Dolphins. I agree that Wake outperformed his contract and is due for a raise. I also doubt the Dolphins disagree with that. The question is, can Miami create enough cap room to fit in another big contract? This will be a tricky situation that probably won't be resolved for a while. This could go well into the spring or summer.
Story No. 2: Should Dolphins trade for the No. 3 pick?
Issue: Former Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill's stock continues to rise leading up to the draft. Reports are now surfacing that Miami may have to trade up to the No. 3 overall pick to guarantee a shot at Tannehill. The Cleveland Browns hold the No. 4 pick and also may consider Tannehill.
Walker’s take: Don't do it, Miami. Sure, the Dolphins need a quarterback. But giving away the farm (a first-, second- and third-rounder?) to move up five spots isn't wise. Miami simply has too many holes to fill on its roster. Tannehill is not Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III. Tannehill has potential but he is far from a sure thing. Miami should stand pat at No. 8 and see what happens. Even if the Dolphins drafted Tannehill, he would not start in Miami next year anyway. Tannehill would hold a clipboard in 2012 behind Matt Moore and David Garrard.
Issue: Former longtime starting center Koppen re-signed with the reigning AFC champs. This is somewhat a surprise considering New England chose to first re-sign center Dan Connolly, who replaced Koppen after an injury and performed well.
Walker’s take: This move happened late in free agency. So that tells me Koppen examined his options, didn’t like them and decided it was best to return to New England at a discounted rate. This is good news for the Patriots. They gained depth at center by being patient. But New England also may have a competition brewing in training camp. Koppen is a favorite of Patriots starting quarterback Tom Brady, so you can’t rule him out.
Story No. 4: Patriots Rob Gronkowski out of "Madden" tourney.
Issue: Pro Bowl tight end Gronkowski was knocked out of the “Madden NFL 13” tourney by Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson. The final four will be Johnson, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis.
Walker’s take: This is great news for Gronkowski, even if he doesn’t realize it. He made a strong push for the “Madden” cover with a series of videos, but fortunately for him and fortunately for the Patriots, Johnson prevailed. Regardless of whether you think the curse is legit, players who get on the cover usually have bad seasons. The playoffs proved last season how much the Patriots need a healthy Gronkwoski.
Issue: Sanchez and Holmes are working out together in Florida. This follows their high-profile falling out at the end of last season.
Walker’s take: This is another good step in the right direction for the duo. The pair need each other for the offense to work. They may never be best friends, but that doesn’t mean they can’t work together on the field. Sanchez and Holmes can repair their relationship, but ultimately it will come down to how they perform next season.
Now that we are all caught up, we have plenty of blogs in store for you this week. Enjoy the ride.