Friday, May 7, 2010
AFC East takes top three offseason slots
The Buffalo Bills went into the offseason a distant fourth in the AFC East -- well behind the other three clubs, which have been to the playoffs within the past two seasons.
Based on ESPN.com senior writer John Clayton's offseason analysis (free-agency moves, trades and draft combined), the gap has expanded and the Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots and New York Jets are girding up for quite a battle.
In ranking the top five offseasons, Clayton lists the Patriots, Dolphins and Jets as Nos. 1 through 3.
1. Patriots: Clayton lauds the Patriots for deftly re-signing prominent free agents Kevin Faulk, Stephen Neal, Vince Wilfork, Tully Banta-Cain and Leigh Bodden and then picking up veterans Torry Holt, Alge Crumpler and Gerard Warren. In the draft, the Patriots came away with four picks inside the first two rounds.
2. Dolphins: The additions of receiver Brandon Marshall and insider linebacker Karlos Dansby were two of the league's biggest moves. Marshall should unlock the offense for second-year starting quarterback Chad Henne. Dansby is a major upgrade in the middle of a defense that surrendered far too many big plays.
3. Jets: We probably don't need to go through the whole rundown of notable players the Jets have added. The Jets front office did a masterful job of loading up for a run at the Super Bowl despite being limited in free agency by the "final eight" plan.