AFC East: 2014 free agency

A few takeaways on a quiet day for the New York Jets:

1. Is there a plan at cornerback?: The most alarming development so far is the gaping hole at cornerback. The Jets have yet to replace Antonio Cromartie, who is on an overnight visit with the Arizona Cardinals. The Jets have watched as five top corners, including that guy Revis, signed with other teams. On Thursday, Captain Munnerlyn, who was on the Jets' radar, signed a three-year, $14.25 million contract with the Minnesota Vikings. Rex Ryan, whose defensive scheme is predicated on man-to-man coverage on the perimeter, has to be feeling a bit nervous. If the Jets had to play today, the starters would be Dee Milliner and Kyle Wilson. What about a Cromartie reunion? The Jets didn't try to renegotiate before cutting him -- telling. Their best bet might be Cromartie's talented, but enigmatic cousin, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

2. Shrinking market: Things have settled down after two days of crazy spending around the league. Now it's a buyer's market, and there are bargains to be had. Of course, the true difference makers are all gone. The Jets continue to talk with Brandon Pettigrew, whom one AFC scout described as "an average to better-than-average starting Y tight end" -- meaning a conventional, in-line tight end. They also remain interested in wide receiver James Jones, another complementary player. The've also been linked to wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. Let's see if John the Deliberate (Idzik, that is) can find some good values in the second wave.

3. All hands on Decker: It's official: Eric Decker signed his five-year, $36.25 million contract, which includes a guaranteed $15 million in the first two years.

4. Scout's take on Breno: Former Seattle Seahawks right tackle Breno Giacomini, whom the Jets signed to replace Austin Howard, is a bit of a mystery man. An AFC personnel executive assessed him this way: "He's a serviceable starter. He can function, but he's not a world beater. He just does his job." Asked to compare Giacomini to Howard, the executive said, "(Giacomini) is a little different. He has a different body build and more movement skills. He's not as strong or heavy bodied. He's a better foot athlete, with less power. He's a little stiff, but competes."

5. No movement on the QB front: It's quiet, almost too quiet. One noteworthy development: Former St. Louis Rams backup Kellen Clemens, an ex-Jet, signed with the San Diego Chargers. St. Louis could be a potential landing spot for Mark Sanchez, whose first coordinator with the Jets, Brian Schottenheimer, runs the Rams' offense. The Jets have until March 25 to make a decision on Sanchez.

6. Quote of the day: Leger Douzable, a relatively anoymous backup defensive lineman, spoke to reporters to comment on re-signing with the Jets. "I feel like we are going to be the best D-line in the league this year," he said. Sounds like he's excited to be sticking around.

Previewing the Bills' free-agent class

February, 17, 2014
Feb 17
Earlier Monday, we mentioned safety Jairus Byrd and kicker Dan Carpenter as the only realistic candidates to receive the franchise tag from the Buffalo Bills.

But who are the other Bills' free agents? With less than a month until the free-agent signing period opens, here are those players set to hit the open market if they are not re-signed or franchised by the Bills before then:

Unrestricted free agents:

Safety Jairus Byrd -- He's the priority for the Bills. They must decide whether to franchise him, and if they don't, they will need to make an effort to re-sign the three-time Pro Bowler. Will it be enough? That's unlikely. Byrd is expected to draw plenty of interest on the open market and has no reason to favor the Bills in negotiations. If he signs elsewhere, the Bills will have a hole to fill in their secondary.

Kicker Dan Carpenter -- If the Bills don't franchise Byrd, they could decide to use the tender on Carpenter, as it would come at a reasonable cost. Carpenter had a strong season as a fill-in for rookie Dustin Hopkins. Kicker is a fairly interchangeable position, however, and Hopkins could still be the younger and cheaper option for next season.

Defensive lineman Alex Carrington -- Carrington is expected to hit the open market after missing the final 13 games with a knee injury. He's a better fit within a 3-4 defense and may not have a role in Jim Schwartz's 4-3 scheme. The Bills would be smart not to overpay for their former third-round pick, especially after opening their wallets for Alan Branch.

Tight end Scott Chandler -- Despite leading the Bills in receiving last season, Chandler could be a toss-up to return. His performance could earn him interest on the open market among tight end-needy teams. The Bills, however, could look to upgrade at the position with a more athletic player. Chandler was not a red zone presence last season, which was a problem for the Bills.

Safety Jim Leonhard -- The veteran safety said he wants to play one more season in the NFL, which would be his tenth. He's undersized but is a strong presence in the locker room. The Bills shouldn't offer him much more than a minimum contract, but he's a good player to have around in a younger secondary.

Linebacker Arthur Moats -- As one of the more well-respected players in the locker room, Moats could return next season if the price is right. However, he's not expected to have a starting role in Jim Schwartz's new defensive scheme. Slot him as a role player who adds some limited contributions on special teams.

Restricted free agents:

Tight end Mike Caussin -- The oft-injured tight end spent all of last season on injured reserve. Expect the Bills to pass on offering him a restricted tender. He's not likely to receive much interest on the open market.

Offensive lineman Thomas Welch -- The Bills likely want Welch to return after he served as their third offensive tackle last season. However, they are likely to address the position in the draft. The Bills could offer him the "low" tender and keep him around at a reduced cost, but his roster spot wouldn't be guaranteed entering next season.

Exclusive-rights free agents:

Wide receiver Chris Hogan -- He's not a receiver with a lot of upside in the NFL, but Hogan should at least get the chance to compete for a roster spot. With less than three accrued seasons, Hogan can't sign elsewhere unless the Bills give up his rights.

Offensive Antoine McClain -- The Bills seem to be high on McClain, who did not dress for a game after being claimed off waivers from the Oakland Raiders. The Bills have the exclusive rights to re-sign McClain, one of the more loose and outgoing personalities in the locker room.

Cornerback Brandon Smith -- After being promoted from the practice squad, Smith had trouble cracking the 46-man gameday roster, appearing in just two contests. Still, the Bills could use some depth at cornerback entering training camp, so expect the Bills to hold onto their exclusive rights and keep him around.

Fullback Frank Summers -- After resurrecting his career with the Bills last season, Summers should at least have a shot at cracking the 53-man roster again next season. The Bills have the exclusive rights to re-sign the hefty fullback.