Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Updating AFC East needs: Bills, Patriots
By James Walker
NFL free agency has slowed down as AFC East teams filled several major weaknesses.
Here is an updated look at team needs and where they currently stand:
Key free agents: LB Manny Lawson
Updated needs: QB, S, CB, WR, TE
Analysis: Buffalo changed its approach from one year ago. The Bills were big spenders in free agency in 2012, which culminated with the $100 million signing of defensive end Mario Williams. This year the Bills sat back and let other teams, like the Miami Dolphins, spend big. Quarterback remains Buffalo's biggest need. The Bills are making it no secret that they are searching high and low to fill the NFL's most important position. The issue is there are no sure-fire prospects this year, such as Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III. That is why Buffalo is going overtime by scouting pro days and holding private workouts. So far, the Bills have worked out West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, Florida State’s EJ Manuel and Oklahoma’s Landry Jones. The Bills also have needs at safety, wide receiver, cornerback and tight end. Buffalo reportedly met with free-agent tight end Fred Davis over the weekend. Bills starting tight end Scott Chandler is coming off a season-ending knee injury and is expected to miss most of the offseason work.
New England Patriots
Key free agents: S Adrian Wilson, WR Danny Amendola, KR Leon Washington
Updated needs: WR, CB
Analysis: It was a rollercoaster free-agency period for New England this year, but the team came out fine overall. The most controversial move for the Patriots was the questionable swap of Pro Bowl receiver Wes Welker for often-injured Amendola. Welker was the most productive offensive player for the Patriots over the past six years, which puts a lot of pressure on Amendola to fill those shoes and match that production. But other signings to land Wilson and Washington were solid and plugged holes at safety and on special teams, respectively. New England also did a good job of re-signing No. 1 cornerback Aqib Talib and starting right tackle Sebastian Vollmer. Currently, the Patriots still need depth at wide receiver and could also use another cornerback. Expect those positions to be targeted in the draft.
Also, here are updated needs for the Dolphins and New York Jets.