- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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Quarterback is undoubtedly the most important position in the NFL. Teams are made and lost based on the success of their offensive leaders. We’ve seen that difference over and over again in the AFC East with Tom Brady, who kept the New England Patriots on top of the division for much of the past dozen years.
NFC West blogger Mike Sando provided this unique look at the quarterback position. He ranked all the teams’ quarterback situations based on the allocation of salary-cap money at that position.
Here is how much cap room AFC East teams are spending on the quarterback position in 2013:
1. New York Jets, $17.5 million
2. New England Patriots, $15.2 million
3. Miami Dolphins, $5.9 million
4. Buffalo Bills, $2.7 million
A lot stands out with these figures. Obviously, something is very wrong with the Jets having the AFC East's most expensive quarterback situation. The Jets have a lot of quarterbacks. Mark Sanchez, David Garrard, Tim Tebow, Greg McElroy and Matt Simms are all under contract in 2013. All are highly questionable for various reasons, and there’s a good chance another quarterback will be thrown in the mix via the NFL draft. So expect a lot of change between now and September.
The Patriots are in good shape. They have Brady, Ryan Mallett and Mike Kafka tying up $15.2 million of the cap this year, but it's worth it. New England gets elite production out of Brady and Mallett is a good, young backup. Kafka is the third quarterback and might not make the 53-man roster.
The Dolphins are getting a lot of bang for their buck. Ryan Tannehill was a 2012 first-round pick, but the rookie wage scale has kept salaries manageable. Tannehill still has something to prove but showed solid flashes as a rookie. Matt Moore is one of the best backups in the NFL, and Pat Devlin is another young quarterback Miami likes. The Dolphins have a good quarterback corps at an affordable price.
And it's no surprise the Bills are bringing up the rear with $2.7 million spent on quarterbacks. They only have journeyman Tarvaris Jackson and Aaron Corp on the roster (and no, we're not including Brad Smith in the QB accounting). That number will go up when Buffalo invests a high draft pick on a quarterback next month.