AFC East: trade

NFL football will return in about one month when the Miami Dolphins take on the Dallas Cowboys in the Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio on Aug. 3. That means the regular season also is just around the corner.

With that in mind, let's take an early peek at Week 1 matchups and see which AFC East teams are best positioned to get off to a fast start.

No. 1: New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills

Storylines: This is a big game to kick off the AFC East season. The Patriots have owned the Bills over the years. However, Buffalo may be catching New England at the right time. The Patriots are reeling after back and arm surgeries to Pro Bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski, who is questionable for Week 1, and cutting star tight end Aaron Hernandez, who was charged for murder and faces five additional gun charges. New England also will be using a new cast of receivers around quarterback Tom Brady this year, and it could take time to get on the same page. Considering the excitement of a home opener and first game under new Bills coach Doug Marrone, this could be a tricky first game for New England.

Very early favorite: Patriots

No. 2: Miami Dolphins at Cleveland Browns

Storylines: This is an underrated game involving two young teams with a lot to prove. It also involves an interesting battle of two second-year quarterbacks: Miami's Ryan Tannehill and Cleveland’s Brandon Weeden. These were two players from the famed 2012 quarterback class that few people talk about on a national scale. The new-look Dolphins spent more than $200 million in free agency and need to get off to a fast start amid high expectations. Miami also will get to face former Dolphins receiver Davone Bess, who was traded to Cleveland this spring.

Very early favorite: Dolphins

No. 3: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New York Jets

Storylines: This game will be hyped by the fact that star cornerback Darrelle Revis is expected to make his Tampa debut and return to New York against the Jets. It’s a perfect recipe for disaster if you're the Jets. New Jets general manager John Idzik traded Revis to their Week 1 opponent, and Revis gets a chance to kick off New York’s season with a loss. Jets quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and rookie Geno Smith have not provided any optimism in organized team activities and minicamp that they can attack Revis. Jets head coach Rex Ryan is in a must-win year and has to come up with a wise strategy.

Very early favorite: Buccaneers

Bills swap linebackers with Colts

April, 29, 2013
The Buffalo Bills were ranked 31st against the run in 2012. Poor linebacker play was a major reason.

That is why it is no surprise Buffalo continued its linebacker makeover by trading Kelvin Sheppard to the Indianapolis Colts for linebacker Jerry Hughes, the Bills announced.

Sheppard played in all 16 games last season and recorded 80 tackles and two sacks. But Sheppard and the rest of Buffalo’s front seven were often pushed around playing a 4-3 defense. The Bills hired defensive coordinator Mike Pettine from the New York Jets to install a 3-4 scheme that can stop the run.

Hughes is a former first-round pick and draft bust in Indianapolis. He has just five sacks in three seasons. But the Bills believe Hughes, 24, may have enough potential to develop into a more consistent outside rusher.
The Miami Dolphins may be coming to the realization that they cannot land a top left tackle with the No. 12 overall pick. According to ESPN’s Ed Werder and Adam Schefter, the Dolphins have re-opened trade talks with the Kansas City Chiefs for veteran tackle Branden Albert.

There is a lot of momentum for this trade to get done in the next 24 hours. The Chiefs hold the No. 1 overall pick and are expected to take one of the top two left tackles: Luke Joeckel or Eric Fisher. The third-rated tackle, Lane Johnson, also is expected to go into the top 10 and would not be available to the Dolphins.

It’s no secret that Miami is desperate for a left tackle. Instead of giving up multiple picks to move up, which I did in this week’s blogger mock draft, the Dolphins may feel it’s best to give up a second-round pick for an older, proven left tackle.

Albert, 28, has 71 career starts in five years for Kansas City but has never been to the Pro Bowl. The Dolphins have been very aggressive in free agency. Albert currently has the one-year franchise tag and reportedly wants $8 million or $9 million per season.
The New York Jets pulled off a blockbuster trade over the weekend by shipping star cornerback Darrelle Revis to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a first-round pick this year and a conditional third-rounder.

Now that the Jets have some momentum, can they also trade popular backup quarterback Tim Tebow this week?

It’s no secret the Jets put Tebow on the trading block months ago. But it’s been mostly crickets in terms of interest. New York has been holding onto Tebow with the thought that some team would eventually offer something (anything?) to take the quarterback of its hands.

With the NFL draft just two days away and a questionable quarterback class, perhaps New York can scrape together a last-minute trade for a a seventh-round pick? Quarterback is the league's most important position and Tebow has won a playoff game despite some deficiencies.

However, I remain pessimistic another team will trade anything for Tebow this week. The Jets are not expected to keep Tebow on the roster this season and everyone knows it. If a team has interest in Tebow, it can wait until after he's released and sign Tebow at its price without trading for a draft pick. The Jets most likely must figure out what to do next with Tebow if he's still on the roster after this weekend.
The New York Jets brass held a conference call with the media Sunday evening following the trade of star cornerback Darrelle Revis. The Jets shipped one of their top players in franchise history to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a first-round pick this year and a conditional third- or fourth-round pick in 2014.

Most view trading Revis as a tremendous talent dump for the Jets. Revis, when healthy, is a top-10 player in the NFL. New York will not get that kind of elite player in return with the No. 13 overall pick on Thursday.

However, New York general manager John Idzik, coach Rex Ryan and owner Woody Johnson were all on board that this was the best decision for the Jets. Idzik also made it clear that other factors were involved, such as health and a looming contract extension in 2014 that made it unlikely Revis would remain a Jet long term.

"It became abundantly clear to us that his value was such that we wouldn’t get there," Idzik said of Revis, who in turn signed a six-year, $96 million contract with Tampa Bay. "That just didn’t [match] with what the Jets had in store."

The biggest concern for the Jets is this roster does not appear competitive this year. New York, on paper, could be the worst team in the AFC East and one of the bottom-feeder teams in the league this season. The Jets have a lot of holes and a lot of questions that the draft alone cannot fix. Now, the Jets dump their best player.

Owner Woody Johnson offered a message to Jets fans that the team's goal is to win in 2013, despite these changes.

"There's never been a year when I haven't tried to win using everything that I have to try to build a team that's capable of doing that," Johnson explained. "This year is no different. ... We're committed to putting a team on the field that's a winning team."

Ryan, who is known to be brash, was adamant that New York's defense will remain one of the top units in the NFL. To Ryan's credit, the Jets were the No. 2 pass defense last season, despite Revis missing 13 games.

"We’re going to play great defense here -- I don’t even think that’s a question," Ryan said. “We’re a football team that has a No. 1 corner. We’re fortunate to have Antonio Cromartie here. So there’s a lot of factors that go into every decision.”

Overall, the Jets made the right move to trade Revis. The compensation was a little light for a player of his caliber, but Revis was injured and Tampa Bay had leverage. But unlike Idzik, Johnson and Ryan, I think the Jets are going to experience some major growing pains in 2013 before this team gets better.

The New York Jets were not going to the playoffs this season with or without star cornerback Darrelle Revis. That is why moving Revis on Sunday was the right move for New York.

The Jets traded Revis to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a 2013 first-round pick and a conditional third- or fourth-round pick in 2014. The compensation is a little light for a player of Revis' caliber. I would have preferred New York to get at least two picks -- if not three -- in this year's draft. However, Revis is coming off a season-ending knee injury and entering the final year of his contract. Revis was no longer part of New York's plans, and everyone knew it. The Buccaneers had a lot of leverage in this negotiation.

[+] EnlargeDarrelle Revis
MSA/Icon SMIIt was time for the Jets and Darrelle Revis to part ways.
Mild compensation issues aside, this was the perfect time for the Jets to get off "Revis Island." New York selected Revis in the first round in 2007 and got his prime years. Revis, who will be 28 in July, may or may not be the same player he was before his knee injury as he enters the second phase of his career. But that is Tampa Bay’s problem now. The Buccaneers also announced a six-year contract extension for Revis, which is something the Jets simply could not afford when Revis became a free agent next year.

The Jets have always had a contentious relationship with their best player. New York and Revis had three contract disputes in six years -- one as a rookie in 2007, another in 2010 and one more in 2012. The Jets gave in the first two times but held their ground last year. That turned out to be the beginning of the end for the Revis era in New York.

Both sides were past the point of no return, and it was time to move on. Revis will go down as one of the Jets’ all-time great players, but they won’t miss him much this year. New York has a Pro Bowl cornerback in Antonio Cromartie and former first-round pick Kyle Wilson proved last year that he’s ready to be a starter. New York was second in pass defense in 2012 without Revis for 13 games. Only Buffalo Bills receiver Steve Johnson had a 100-yard receiving game against the Jets last season.

New York's pass defense will be fine without Revis in 2013. But the rest of the team has a lot of holes to fill under first-year general manager John Idzik. With two picks in the first round on Thursday, the Jets have a good opportunity to start anew.
Star cornerback Darrelle Revis was not going to suit up for the New York Jets in Week 1. We've known for weeks that both sides were past the point of no return.

However, Rich Cimini's report Sunday of Revis traveling to meet and take a physical with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is the best sign yet that the Jets are serious about completing a trade before Thursday's NFL draft.

New York got a look at Revis last week during the start of offseason workouts. The team was pleased with his progress and expects the Buccaneers to feel the same. A successful meeting and physical will lay the foundation for serious trade talks over the next few days.

The Jets are on the clock and must move Revis by Thursday night.

Tampa Bay has the No. 13 overall pick, and the Jets need all the help they can get now. Two first-round picks (No. 9 and No. 13) in this year's draft would be a great start for their rebuild under first year general manager John Idzik. If New York cannot complete a trade by Thursday, the best the team can do is get draft picks for 2014. That doesn't do the Jets or head coach Rex Ryan any good for this upcoming season.

Keeping Revis doesn't make sense for the Jets. He will become an unrestricted free agent in 2014 and New York, with its tight salary cap, cannot afford to keep Revis after this season. If Revis played out the year, he would essentially be a lame duck player unlikely to return. The Jets are not going to make the playoffs this upcoming season with or without Revis.

The only bad thing about this potential trade is New York would face its best player in Week 1. Revis will be extra motivated to shut down the Jets' passing game at MetLife Stadium, the soon-to-be former home of "Revis Island." The Jets could be setting themselves up for a 0-1 start. But for the long run, completing this trade will get the Jets headed in the right direction.
Here are the most interesting stories Friday in the AFC East:
  • Now that the NFL schedule is released, will the New England Patriots go 12-4 this season?
Morning take: New England is still the favorite to win the AFC East, and that puts the Patriots in position for a home playoff game and another postseason run. But I am not sure if this team is better or worse than last year's team. Health will be the key.
Morning take: We will find out right away if my sleeper pick is legit in the month of September. They have three road games against the Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints, in addition to a home game against the Atlanta Falcons. That's a rough start.
Morning take: Safety Jairus Byrd will count for one space when he shows up and signs his franchise tender, and Buffalo has six draft picks. That still leaves four spots for free agents and rookie free agents.
  • Can the New York Jets beat star cornerback Darrelle Revis if he’s traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?
Morning take: Only the zany Jets would ship their best player to their Week 1 opponent. This would be the reality if the Buccaneers complete an expected trade for Revis before the draft.

The New York Jets are running out of time if they want immediate help in a Darrelle Revis trade. The only way to do that is to finalize a trade for their star cornerback before next week's NFL draft.

That is why Sal Palantonio’s report Monday that the Jets are putting trade talks on hold is not good for New York. With the NFL draft rapidly approaching, the Jets are doing themselves no favors by dragging out the Revis saga.

If the Jets do not trade Revis by the end of next week, New York can only acquire future draft picks from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or another team in 2014. That does not help the Jets now, and it certainly does not help coach Rex Ryan, who probably needs to win this upcoming season to keep his job.

It's unlikely the Jets would trade players for Revis. New York simply does not have the cap room to take in multiple players and there is no way the Jets can get equal value that way for Revis, who is a top-10 talent when healthy. Draft picks are the best and only route for the rebuilding Jets.

New York's goal this week during the start of offseason workouts is to examine Revis' progress with his surgically repaired knee. That's fine. However, team doctors should be able to get a good feel for Revis in a matter of days. Trade talks need to resume immediately if the Jets plan to improve their 2013 roster.

If the Buccaneers are willing to give up a first-round pick this year (No. 13 overall) and at least one more pick for Revis, the Jets should jump at it. Everyone knows the Jets cannot afford to keep Revis beyond this season, when he becomes an unrestricted free agent. The Jets have stalled long enough.
Is it possible for the New York Jets to have a quiet offseason program?

The team that has become infamous for its circus-like atmosphere will kick off the 2013 season with voluntary workouts on Monday. It is a time for players and coaches to get know each other, work on improvement and begin building for training camp and the upcoming season.

But most of the spotlight will be on two players who probably will not be on the roster in the fall: Darrelle Revis and Tim Tebow. Expect plenty of attention from the New York media to get their thoughts on how they have been treated by the Jets this offseason. Both have been put on the trade market and left in the dark about their futures.

Revis and Tebow will make headlines regardless this week by simply showing up. Revis is required to be there in order to collect a $3 million bonus, and Tebow is a workaholic who wants to show the Jets how much he's improved. According to Tebow, he's had his best offseason yet in the NFL.

But New York must do what it can to keep the focus on improving and getting ready for the upcoming season. If the Jets want to get away from their well-earned circus reputation, it starts now with a quiet offseason program.
As the Miami Dolphins continue their search for a starting offensive tackle, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports a new development out of Kansas City.

The Kansas City Chiefs are reportedly seeking a second-round pick in this year’s draft and an additional pick in 2014 for starting left tackle Branden Albert, according to Schefter. Albert was recently given the franchise tag by the Chiefs, but they are also the favorites for Texas A&M left tackle Luke Joeckel with the No. 1 overall pick. So Kansas City is looking to move Albert.

But is the asking price too much for Miami?

The Dolphins have the draft capital and cap space to work out a trade with Kansas City. Miami is looking for a replacement at left tackle for former No. 1 overall pick Jake Long, who signed with the St. Louis Rams. However, Albert would be costly.

Not only would Miami have to trade a second-round pick and an additional pick next season, Albert is looking for a sizable, multi-year extension. The Dolphins just handed out big contracts to receiver Mike Wallace and Dannell Ellerbe in free agency. A third to Albert would further tighten Miami's salary cap for the next 2-3 years.

The Dolphins have more cost-effective options currently on the free-agent market, such as offensive tackles Eric Winston and Sebastian Vollmer. Both play primarily on the right side. That means Dolphins 2012 second-round pick Jonathan Martin would be a candidate to move to left tackle. But with this option, the Dolphins would keep their two draft picks and sign a starting offensive tackle at a more affordable rate.

Miami general manager Jeff Ireland has been free spending this offseason. But at some point the Dolphins need to pull back and tighten their pocketbooks. Albert is a good player, but the compensation and ensuing contract extension may be too costly for Miami.
Happy Anniversary!

Thursday marks the one-year anniversary of the New York Jets acquiring popular quarterback Tim Tebow from the Denver Broncos. It was one of the most controversial and high-profile trades in franchise history.

One year later, the trade turned out to be a disaster. Tebow brought more attention to a team that already had a circus atmosphere. There was poor play, back-biting teammates, confused offensive coaches, benching quarterbacks and a 6-10 season. The year felt like 0-16 with the way the Jets were getting drilled in the media.

Now, Tebow's NFL career is in jeopardy. Tebow is still on the Jets' roster because the team would like to trade him. But there is virtually no interest, and Tebow most likely will be released.

The Tebow era in New York will be remembered mostly as a big mistake. It only lasted one year. But acquiring Tebow partially led to an awful season that cost former general manager Mike Tannenbaum his job and put head coach Rex Ryan on the hot seat.

New York starts a long rebuilding phase that probably won't include Tebow. The sooner the Jets move on from the quarterback, the better.
New York Jets owner Woody Johnson continues to push his somewhat confusing company line on star cornerback Darrelle Revis.

"If somebody wants to make an offer, for any of our players, we'd always listen. [But] we’re not actively beating the bushes," Johnson said Sunday at the NFL owners meetings.

What Johnson is really saying is he'd love to trade Revis for the right price. However, the Jets don't want to give the public impression that they’re actively shopping their best player.

This rhetoric from the Jets is getting old. They continue to try to play both sides of the fence with Revis. New York wants to generate enough trade interest in Revis to get good offers while not upsetting its best player.

But if the Jets want to trade Revis, the NFL owners meetings are the perfect time to shop the star cornerback. Every team is in Arizona this week. It’s one-stop shopping to discuss business face to face.

There are reports that the Jets have already been in trade talks with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Francisco 49ers. Those talks could continue this week and may even intensify.

New York will probably lose Revis to free agency next year because the team simply cannot afford him. It makes perfect sense to get something for Revis now, especially since the Jets are not contenders and are rebuilding under new general manager John Idzik.

This week the Jets would be wise to stop focusing on spin with Revis and work diligently on finding the best trade to help the franchise move forward.

Does Darrelle Revis fit in AFC East?

January, 25, 2013
I've been asked this question multiple times on Twitter this week: Can the New York Jets trade star cornerback Darrelle Revis to a team in the AFC East?

It’s no secret the New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills all have major needs at cornerback. Revis is the best cornerback in the NFL. Therefore, he's great fit for any team in the division.

But would the Jets really trade their best player to a division rival? Let’s examine.

New England Patriots

Analysis: The Patriots have the NFL's 29th-ranked pass defense and desperately need a shutdown corner. The Baltimore Ravens and quarterback Joe Flacco recently picked New England’s secondary apart in last week's AFC Championship Game. A shutdown corner like Revis would immediately make the Patriots a Super Bowl favorite next year. New England's defense was ninth against the run, and Revis' ability to cut off half the field would solve many of the Patriots' problems against the pass. However, the Jets are New England's most hated rival and it would be incredibly silly to boost the Patriots' title prospects. The Jets are zany at times, but they're not that zany.

Miami Dolphins

Analysis: The Dolphins are thin at cornerback and have plenty of assets at their disposal to fix the issue. First, Miami has five draft picks in the first three rounds and 10 picks total, which would be attractive to the Jets. Second, the Dolphins have about $40 million in cap room this year, which would be attractive to Revis. Miami has the capability to give Revis the big-money contract extension he's seeking this year or next year. In many ways, this looks like a potential match for all parties. But would the rebuilding Jets help another up-and-coming rival in the AFC East? Also, New York would have to face Revis twice a year, which is not a good idea.

Buffalo Bills

Analysis: Former Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine now is in Buffalo and would love to get his hands on Revis again. Buffalo will have many of the same schemes and philosophies on defense that are familiar to Revis. The Bills also could use another cornerback opposite first-round pick Stephon Gilmore. However, Buffalo just signed Mario Williams to a $100 million contract in free agency in 2012. The Bills probably would not be able to give Revis another mega-contract in 2014, because it would be tough to pay two players that kind of elite money. Revis would appear to be nothing more than a one-year rental if he landed in Buffalo. The Bills are a team in major transition in 2013 with a new offense, a new defense, a new head coach and most likely a new quarterback, who might be a rookie.

Overall, the Jets will have plenty of options to trade Revis. Therefore, the Jets do not have to take on the extra headache of assisting a division rival get to the next level and face Revis twice a year.
The New York Jets are expected to put star cornerback Darrelle Revis on the trade market this offseason. But it will be challenging for New York to get equal value in return for the best cornerback in football. Revis is coming off a season-ending knee injury, which hurts his value.

So what can the Jets get in return by trading Revis? Let's examine recent trades involving quality cornerbacks, with a special assist from ESPN Stats and Info.
  • In 2004, the Denver Broncos traded for Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey of the Washington Redskins. In return, the Redskins got former Pro Bowl tailback Clinton Portis. The trade paid dividends for both teams. Washington got a multi-time 1,000-yard running back, while Denver got one of the league's top corners for many years and a second-round pick. Bailey still plays in Denver to this day.
  • In 2010, the San Diego Chargers traded cornerback Antonio Cromartie to the Jets for a 2011 second-round pick. Like Revis, Cromartie was entering the final year of his contract in San Diego and wasn't expected to return. The Chargers got something for Cromartie with a second-round pick. Cromartie played one solid year in New York and later agreed to a contract extension. Ironically, the Jets are now on the other end with Revis.
  • Finally, in 2011 the Arizona Cardinals traded cornerback Dominique-Rodgers Cromartie in another player-for-player swap. Arizona shipped Rodgers-Cromartie and a 2012 second-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for quarterback Kevin Kolb. Philadelphia had a backup quarterback with a lot of value and was able to fleece the Cardinals with this trade.

These are three good examples of what the Jets could be looking for if they trade Revis this offseason. The Jets have a lot of needs, and could go the route of acquiring another player and perhaps a quality draft pick. If the Jets don't think they can keep Revis beyond next season, it will be wise to get something for the cornerback.