AFC East: Shonn Greene

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Remember last year in free agency, when the New York Jets lost LaRon Landry, Dustin Keller, Mike DeVito and Shonn Greene?

General manager John Idzik, who took a lot of criticism for the exodus, admitted Wednesday that the decision to let those players walk was based, in part, on knowing they'd receive compensatory draft picks for the losses.

The Jets ended up receiving the maximum number of compensatory picks (four), giving them a total of 12 picks in next week's draft.

"The compensatory draft-pick system is always in your mind," Idzik said at the team's pre-draft news conference. "It's a factor. It's not the determinant, but it's a factor."

A number of well-respected teams, namely the New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Ravens, have maximized their compensatory picks. Now the Jets get a chance to cash in. The third day of the draft (rounds four to seven) will be hectic, as the Jets have nine picks over the final four rounds.

Not everyone is a fan of collecting compensatory picks.

"We never went into free agency saying, 'Let's let Bobby and Billy go so we can get a compensatory pick to replace them,'" said ESPN analyst Jon Gruden, a former coach. "We never said, 'Let's not sign a free agent because it will hurt our ability to get a compensatory pick.’"

The Jets' compensatory picks: Fourth round (No. 137 overall), sixth round (No. 209), sixth round (No. 210) and sixth round (No. 213).

Numbers game: A lot of work goes into a draft. It takes almost a full year for the entire scouting process. Former GM Terry Bradway, the senior director of college scouting, provided his annual numbers breakdown, illustrating the point:

Number of schools visited: 263.

Number of school visits: 575.

Number of players written up in scouting reports: 1,372.

Number of player evaluations: 3,500.

Player interviews: 635.

Pro days attended: 115.

College games attended: 120.

The numbers remain fairly steady from year to year, and you can bet every other team is doing the same amount of homework.

Green Day: No Shonn Greene on Sunday

September, 26, 2013
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Former New York Jets running back Shonn Greene is recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery and won't play Sunday for the Tennessee Titans when they face his old team in Nashville.

"I know this one meant a lot to him," Titans coach Mike Munchak said Wednesday.

Munchak said Greene is "something special" and hopes to give him 10 to 15 touches per game when he returns, perhaps next week. Greene was the Jets' leading rusher in 2011 and 2012, but he was a free agent and was part of the mass exodus that marked the Jets' offseason.

They parted ways with 11 starters, but take a closer look: Only four of 11 played last week for their new teams: guard Matt Slauson (Bears), defensive tackle Mike DeVito (Chiefs), safety Yeremiah Bell (Cards) and cornerback Darrelle Revis (Bucs). Three were injured -- safety LaRon Landry (Colts), tight end Dustin Keller (Dolphins) and Greene. Two are out of football (nose tackle Sione Po'uha and linebacker Bryan Thomas) and two retired (guard Brandon Moore and linebacker Bart Scott). Their most famous non-starter, quarterback Tim Tebow, also is out of football.

Maybe the Jets didn't lose as much as most people thought.

ICYMI: Tough times for the cornerback position. Rookie Dee Milliner, benched in Week 2, injured a hamstring Wednesday in practice. The team provided no details. ... Coach Rex Ryan has seen the light. No longer married to ground-and-pound, he's willing to live on the edge with a rookie quarterback. ... Santonio Holmes said he's still not 100 percent. Anybody surprised? ... Yes, the Jets are going through with the push-ups thing. Owner Woody Johnson dropped and knocked out 30.
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A look at whether each AFC East team has been a winner or a loser in free agency.

Buffalo Bills: The Bills have been losers in free agency mostly due to inactivity. Buffalo made just one signing: linebacker Manny Lawson. With a new head coach and new schemes on offense and defense, the Bills need a lot more than one linebacker to be competitive next season. Most important, they need to find a quarterback after cutting former starter Ryan Fitzpatrick. Buffalo also lost starting guard Andy Levitre, linebacker Nick Barnett, veteran safety George Wilson and receivers Donald Jones and David Nelson. The team has yet to fill those holes. Interestingly, the Bills were major players in free agency a year ago. They signed defensive end Mario Williams to a $100 million contract and made several other signings. However, Buffalo finished 6-10 in 2012 and decided to take a much quieter approach in 2013.

Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins are big winners in free agency. They landed the best wide receiver on the market (Mike Wallace) and the top linebacker (Dannell Ellerbe). Miami also signed a pass-catching tight end (Dustin Keller) and an additional, athletic linebacker (Philip Wheeler). Miami’s roster looks much stronger and more dynamic than it did heading into the 2012 season, when the team went 7-9. Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland said it was his goal to close the gap with the New England Patriots. Ireland deserves a lot of credit for a solid game plan and executing it well. The Dolphins still have holes to fill at cornerback, left tackle and at pass-rusher. But Miami still has cap room to spend and 11 total draft picks next month. The Dolphins are not finished adding talent.

New England Patriots: The Patriots have had mixed results in free agency. But overall I would just barely put them in the winners' category. I do not like what they've done on offense, where they lost two starting receivers: Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd. The pair accounted for 192 receptions, 2,265 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. That's a lot of lost production that Danny Amendola and Donald Jones -- New England's two free-agent signings at receiver – will not be able to match. The Patriots also haven't re-signed starting right tackle Sebastian Vollmer, who remains a free agent. New England must patch these two holes offensively. On the other hand, I like what New England has done defensively. The Patriots solidified their secondary by signing former Pro Bowl safety Adrian Wilson and re-signing No. 1 cornerback Aqib Talib. They also re-signed backup corners Kyle Arrington and Marquice Cole and added exciting kick returner Leon Washington on special teams.

New York Jets: The Jets are huge losers so far in free agency. They lost talented players much faster than they can replace them. Former New York starters Shonn Greene, Keller, LaRon Landry, Yeremiah Bell, Sione Pouha, Bart Scott and Calvin Pace were either recently released or signed with other teams. The Jets are hamstrung by a tight salary cap. Therefore, first-year Jets general manager John Idzik has been forced to bargain shop. New York made several low-cost signings, such as tailback Mike Goodson and guard Willie Colon. But overall, the Jets have more holes than they can fill in one offseason.
The New York Jets have a big void to fill at tailback after the free-agent departure of 1,000-yard rusher Shonn Greene to the Tennessee Titans. Greene has been the primary ball-carrier in New York for the past two seasons and was the central focus of New York's ground-and-pound philosophy.

But Mike Goodson believes he is the right person to fill that void in New York. Goodson rushed for just 211 yards last season with the Oakland Raiders and will compete with Jets backups Joe McKnight and Bilal Powell for the starting role in training camp.

The Jets are transitioning to a West Coast offense and needs a quick-hitting ball carrier. Goodson has good quickness and could be the guy. Despite limited carries, he averaged 6.3 yards per carry last season.

“I definitely think [the West Coast offense] highlights the things that I do well in my game,” Goodson said on a conference call this week. “Catching the ball out of the backfield, being able to isolate the linebackers, run some routes and also running the ball between the tackles, I think it’s going to be good.”

Goodson said he received interest from New York and the Cincinnati Bengals. Goodson chose the Jets primarily for the chance to compete for a starting role. He would have been BenJarvus Green-Ellis' backup in Cincinnati.

Goodson, 25, has fresh legs. He has just 160 carries in three years with the Carolina Panthers and Oakland Raiders. Goodson might eclipse that number this season alone with the Jets.

Goodson usually shined when he had the chance. But his opportunities were limited playing behind big names in Carolina and Oakland.

“Most of them were 'big-money' guys: Darren McFadden, DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart,” Goodson explained. “So at the same time [I’m] learning from those guys. I had to play behind them, so it was tough. But I think it’s put me in a position now where I can come in, be able to make those types of plays and be that guy at running back, that every-down guy.”
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The Miami Dolphins continue to spend money to improve the roster around second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

Just three days after signing dynamic receiver Mike Wallace, the Dolphins signed former New York Jets tight end Dustin Keller Friday to a one-year, $4.5 million contact, according to ESPN.com senior writer John Clayton.

This is a nice get for Miami, which simultaneously fills a big need and takes a good player away from the rival Jets.

Keller was Mark Sanchez's safety value in New York for years. Now, Keller has a chance to do the same for Tannehill in Miami. Keller has had two seasons of at least 55 receptions in the past three years.

Keller had a lengthy visit with Miami this week but left without an agreement. Reportedly, he wanted a multiyear contract. But Miami held its ground, and Keller eventually took the Dolphins' offer.

Signing Keller short-term is a bargain for Miami. Had Keller not gotten injured last season, he would have received a longer contract. He now has a “prove it” contract and can enter free agency again in 2014 with better production and better circumstances. It also allows the Dolphins another year to see if 2012 third-round pick Michael Egnew can develop into a contributor. It’s a win-win situation for Miami.

Meanwhile, the purge in New York continues. The Jets have now lost starters Keller, Pro Bowl safety LaRon Landry, 1,000-yard tailback Shonn Greene, safety Yeremiah Bell and valuable backup defensive lineman Mike DeVito. The Jets have a lot of talent to replace and very limited resources.
Here are the most interesting stories Thursday in the AFC East: Morning take: The Jets' talent purge continues in free agency. They lost Landry, tailback Shonn Greene, safety Yeremiah Bell and defensive lineman Mike DeVito. New York doesn’t have enough money to replace its lost talent.
Morning take: The bar is high for Amendola. He has to surpass Welker’s 118 catches last season. I don’t see that happening.
Morning take: The Dolphins have yet to fill their tight end position. Second-year tight end Michael Egnew is not the answer. Keller would be a nice addition.
Morning take: I’m not a fan of this year’s quarterback class. But if Geno Smith is there at No. 8, the Bills must at least consider it. The release of Ryan Fitzpatrick leaves Buffalo desperate for a starter.

Playing tag in the AFC East

February, 13, 2013
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Only one AFC East team utilized the franchise tag last year. The New England Patriots tagged Pro Bowl receiver Wes Welker, who caught 118 passes for 1,354 yards and six touchdowns in 2012.

Welker lived up to the expensive, $9.5 million salary the tag dictated in 2012. But will more AFC East teams use the franchise tag to retain valuable free agents in 2013?

There were 19 teams total that utilized the franchise tag last season. Here are the top candidates in the AFC East this offseason:

Jairus Byrd, S, Buffalo Bills

2012 stats: 76 tackles, five interceptions, four forced fumbles

Analysis: Byrd is Buffalo's top free agent. The former second-round pick also is the top safety on the market not named Ed Reed. Byrd will get a lot of interest if he hits the open market. However, it is doubtful the Bills will allow Byrd to fly away without a fight. Buffalo is making Byrd the team's biggest offseason priority. The preference would be a long-term extension. But the Bills also won't be afraid to use their franchise tag to keep Byrd in Buffalo for at least the 2013 season.

Chance for franchise tag: 50 percent

Andy Levitre, G, Bills

2012 stats: 16 starts

Analysis: It's rare for a guard to receive consideration for the franchise tag. The position has been tagged only once in the past 12 years. However, Levitre and the Bills are in a tricky situation. He is one of the top guards in the NFL, and the reason he hasn't been to a Pro Bowl is mostly because he plays in Buffalo. Levitre is athletic, smart and durable. He has a streak of 64 consecutive starts at a position where injuries are prevalent. However, Byrd is first in line for the tag in Buffalo. The Bills run the risk of losing their best guard if they can't reach a long-term extension. But that is a position that is easier to replace than safety.

Chance for franchise tag: 15 percent

Wes Welker, WR, Patriots

2012 stats: 118 receptions, 1,354 yards, six touchdowns

Analysis: The Patriots have used the franchise tag for two straight years to settle contract disputes. In 2011, Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins was tagged and later signed a long-term extension. Will the same thing happen to Welker? The Patriots have the cap room to work out a contract extension with Welker, 31, who had his fifth 100-catch season in New England. A second straight franchise tag will increase Welker's number to $11.4 million. I think that is too much to pay for one year. The Patriots will keep that option in their pocket in case of an emergency, but there's probably a 50-50 chance right now that Welker stays in New England via a multi-year contract. A two- or three-year extension for $7-8 million seems reasonable for both sides. If not, Welker may test the open market.

Chance for franchise tag: 30 percent

Sean Smith, CB, Miami Dolphins

2012 stats: 59 tackles, three interceptions

Analysis: The Dolphins have about $40 million in cap space and the potential to do just about anything they choose. Miami would prefer not to use the franchise tag this year, but there are a couple scenarios for the team to consider. Smith is one of those difficult cases. Is Smith a top-10 cornerback in the NFL? No. However, the Dolphins are so thin in the secondary that franchising Smith cannot be completely ruled out. Miami would have to completely start over at cornerback if it loses Smith. Another team most likely will overpay for Smith's services if he hits the open market, because Smith is a big, athletic guy who plays a coveted position. Although the numbers have not been finalized, a one-year franchise tag for Smith will cost Miami about $10.5 million. I don't expect the Dolphins to do it, but the thought has certainly crossed their minds.

Chance for franchise tag: 20 percent

Jake Long, LT, Miami Dolphins

2012 stats: 12 starts

Analysis: Long is another in-house free agent for Miami who is not expected to get a multi-year extension. He just completed his rookie contract and is looking to become one of the NFL's highest-paid offensive linemen. However, Long has been on the decline the past two seasons. Long was once considered the top left tackle in the NFL until injuries and inconsistent play stunted his career. A one-year franchise tag will eat up a good percentage of Miami's cap room. The Dolphins have some contingency options if Long doesn't return. They could use 2012 second-round pick Jonathan Martin at left tackle. Or Miami could look to the draft and free agency to find a more affordable option than Long.

Chance for franchise tag: 20 percent

The New York Jets do not have the cap room or strong enough candidates to pay the franchise tender in 2013. Pending free agents such as tailback Shonn Greene, tight end Dustin Keller and safety LaRon Landry are productive players. But neither will get elite money.
Could former New York Giants starting running back Ahmad Bradshaw trade in his "Big Blue" colors for a "Gang Green" jersey next season?

According to the two-time Super Bowl champion, he is not ruling out a chance to stay in the New York area.

"Whoever I feel that I can get a better chance of playing and helping which team," Bradshaw said on the NFL Network Tuesday. "The New York Jets are a team that I've kinda been thinking about, just to stay home, not make a big move from New York. It's just right across the street from where I am now."

If this is the case, the offensively-challenged Jets would be silly not to listen.

Bradshaw is the type of explosive tailback the Jets are looking for. He rushed for 1,015 yards and averaged 4.6 yards per carry last season. Jets leading rusher Shonn Greene, who lacks big-play ability, is an unrestricted free agent and probably won't return.

But there are two issues for the Jets to consider: health and money. Bradshaw has battled injuries the past two seasons, and durability could be a concern. The Jets also began the offseason about $19 million over the cap and might not have enough wiggle room to afford Bradshaw in free agency.

AFC East links: Gearing up for the draft

February, 6, 2013
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Buffalo Bills

Chris Brown of the team's official website talks with director of college scouting Chuck Cook about his role in preparation for April's draft. “This is where we try to get the hay in the barn,” said Cook. “We’ve been on the road. We’ve been through the fall season. We’ve seen the all-star games. That’s phase one to get through the offseason and get the all-stars in and we get the board ready now pre-combine. The combine comes up here in a couple of weeks so we need to get every prospect situated in a round parameter at this point in time based on what we have to go on so far.”

Former Bills special-teams coach Bruce DeHaven has been hired by the Carolina Panthers as their assistant special-teams coach.

Miami Dolphins

General manager Jeff Ireland is excited about where the team is at heading into free agency and the draft. "After a year with Joe [Philbin] and his staff and the culture that he’s building we’ve tried to set ourselves up moving forward with ammunition to build through the draft and also have some cap space to do some things in the offseason as well.”

A tax subsidy to assist the Dolphins with renovations to Sun Life Stadium cleared its first hurdle on Tuesday.

New England Patriots

While it may not look like it on the surface, the Patriots actually did improve this past season, says Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe.

Does New England need to be more like the Baltimore Ravens if it hopes to return to the Super Bowl? Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com addresses this question and more in his mailbag.

New York Jets

In his positional analysis, Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com says Jets running back Shonn Greene is as good as gone.

The Jets on Tuesday announced several coaching changes.

Walker's Fab 40: Nos. 33-36

January, 28, 2013
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The AFC East blog continues its second annual "Walker’s Fab 40," where we rank the top players in the division.

Here are Nos. 33-36:

Greene
No. 36: Shonn Greene, RB, New York Jets

2012 stats: 1,063 yards, eight touchdowns

Analysis: Longtime readers of the AFC East blog know I don't like playing Greene as a featured tailback. He doesn't make enough big plays and averaged just 3.9 yards per carry this past season, which is a formula for a lot of three-and-outs. However, Greene deserves credit for notching his second consecutive 1,000-yard season. Greene had 276 carries thanks to the Jets' ground-and-pound philosophy. Greene is entering free agency and wants to be paid like a featured back. The Jets, who are over the cap, most likely will not overpay to bring Greene back to New York.

Hartline
No. 35: Brian Hartline, WR, Miami Dolphins

2012 stats: 74 receptions, 1,083 yards, one TD

Analysis: Hartline had a career year in 2012, and it came at the perfect time. Hartline will be an unrestricted free agent and should be able to cash in. Hartline is not a true No. 1 receiver, but he was in Miami. When rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill needed a big play, he looked to Hartline to deliver. But teams were able to shut down Hartline when he was the focus of the defense. He had nine games this year of four catches or fewer. Hartline will be a quality No. 2 option for a team that already has a legit No. 1 receiver. Perhaps Miami could pay to keep Hartline and pair him with a bigger free-agent receiver like Greg Jennings, Dwayne Bowe or Mike Wallace.

Tannehill
No. 34: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Dolphins

2012 stats: 3,294 yards, 12 TDs, 13 INTs

Analysis: Tannehill exceeded everyone's expectations as a rookie. He was projected to hold a clipboard for the entire season but impressed Miami’s coaches right away to earn the starting job in the preseason. Tannehill showed toughness, poise and potential to win seven games in his first season. Because of Tannehill's rapid development, the Dolphins were in wild-card contention in the final month of the season. Tannehill showed a lot of physical tools. He can make all of the throws and has good mobility to run for first downs. Tannehill’s touchdown-to-interception ratio wasn't great, but that will improve when he gets a better supporting cast.

Holmes
No. 33: Santonio Holmes, WR, Jets

2012 stats: 20 receptions, 272 yards, one TD

Analysis: Holmes fell off the map after a season-ending foot injury in the fourth game. But the former Super Bowl MVP is still a good receiver. Holmes got open consistently in 2011 but was rarely on the same page with struggling quarterback Mark Sanchez -- who is not in Walker’s Fab 40. Holmes has to prove he can come back from a broken bone in his foot. But we feel comfortable still placing Holmes among the top 40 players in the division.

Is Rex Ryan now a lame duck?

January, 24, 2013
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The New York Jets do not have a quality quarterback, they’re about $19 million over the cap, and the owner wants to trade the best player on the team.

Does all this make Jets head coach Rex Ryan a lame duck in 2013?

Ryan enters next season on the hot seat after back-to-back non-winning seasons. The outspoken coach survived the mess while his former general manager, Mike Tannenbaum, did not. Ryan now is in a must-win situation with no excuses.

Yet, everything the Jets are doing shows the team is ready for a major rebuild. New York is in the process of gutting the roster under new general manager John Idzik. The Jets will cut a lot of veteran talent this offseason to get under the salary cap, and pending free agents such as safety LaRon Landry, tight end Dustin Keller and 1,000-yard rusher Shonn Greene may not return. The Jets are handcuffed with the cap this year and will not be major players in free agency. That puts Ryan in a very tough spot to try to win with a rebuilding team.

This week's news that New York is shopping star cornerback Darrelle Revis was the most telling. How do you think Ryan feels about the Jets looking to trade their best player?

Jets ownership appears convinced they have no chance of keeping Revis beyond next season. From that perspective, it makes sense to get something for the cornerback now.

However, Ryan may be shaking his head behind closed doors wondering if he has a legitimate chance to succeed with New York's thinning roster. It could be playoffs or bust in 2013 for Ryan to keep his job -- and the odds appear stacked against him.

AFC East blogger James Walker lets you know which players free agents in the division to keep an eye on.
A case can be made that John Idzik just accepted the toughest general manager job in the NFL this offseason. The New York Jets, who agreed to terms with Idzik Friday, are a mess in more ways than one.

The former Seattle Seahawks executive has inherited a long checklist of things to fix in New York. Let's examine the many challenges that await Idzik:

  • [+] EnlargeJohn Idzik
    Kirby Lee/Image of Sport/USA TODAY Sports Among the top items on new GM John Idzik's to-do list: get the Jets' salary cap in order and find a quarterback.
    Fix the cap: The Jets are nearly $20 million over the salary cap, according to a recent report from ESPN.com senior writer John Clayton. Former general manager Mike Tannenbaum put together an old and overpaid roster the past couple of years and left the next person – Idzik -- to foot the bill. Idzik will have to gut New York’s roster of expensive veterans and immediately get younger. Older, high-salary players like Bart Scott, Calvin Pace, Jason Smith and Eric Smith are the most likely targets to be released.
  • Find a quarterback: The Jets will pay Mark Sanchez $8.25 million in guaranteed salary next season. But that doesn’t guarantee Sanchez will be the starting quarterback. Idzik’s job is to find the best quarterback New York can afford to compete against or supplant Sanchez. That could come via free agency or the draft. Sanchez had four seasons to prove that he is the long-term solution and failed. The Jets will have a new offense and a new offensive coordinator. If things work out properly, New York could also have a new quarterback.
  • Relating to Ryan: Reportedly one of the big holdups during New York’s general manager search was candidates weren't going to be able to pick their own head coach. Jets owner Woody Johnson made it clear that the charismatic Rex Ryan is here to stay. Ryan led New York to back-to-back AFC title games in 2009 and 2010 and still has some equity from that. Idzik must successfully work hand-in-hand with Ryan for the Jets to turn things around.
  • In-house free agents: The Jets have a few tough decisions to make with their own free agents. New York Pro Bowl safety LaRon Landry, starting tailback Shonn Greene and tight end Dustin Keller are all looking for contract extensions. As we mentioned earlier, New York’s salary cap will be very limited. It is possible the Jets could lose all three.
  • Tebow dilemma: It’s clear that the coaching staff -- and particularly Ryan -- wants nothing to do with Tebow. An educated guess is Idzik agrees with Ryan and will trade or release Tebow sooner rather than later. The distraction that Tebow brings simply wasn’t worth it. He was never a good fit in New York. Idzik will try to pull off a coup by getting something, perhaps a late-round draft pick, in exchange for the polarizing backup quarterback. But an outright release seems more likely.

There is a reason the Jets were the last team to find a general manager this offseason. This was not an attractive job for many of the reasons we listed above. But Idzik obviously is a person who is not afraid of big challenges -- and it's time to get to work.
The 2013 offseason should be a memorable one with several key free agents set to hit the open market.

With the New England Patriots still in the playoffs, we won't go too heavy on offseason analysis just yet. But as an appetizer, this week the AFC East blog is ranking the top dozen free agents to keep an eye on this offseason in the division.

Here are Nos. 10-12:

No. 12: Dustin Keller, TE, New York Jets

2012 stats: 28 receptions, 317 yards, two TDs

Analysis: Keller had poor luck in a contract year. He played in just eight games due to multiple injuries. But Keller is one of New York's most reliable weapons when healthy. He could get some interest on the open market but could be a possibility for the franchise tag. If not, Keller could walk. The Jets may not have the cap room to sign Keller to a sizable long-term extension.

No. 11: Shonn Greene, RB, Jets

2012 stats: 276 carries, 1,063 yards, eight TDs

Analysis: Greene is a durable back who has gotten a lot of carries the past two years. But he's not the game-breaking rusher the Jets need and could bolt in free agency. Greene is best as a complementary rusher, not a feature back. He averaged just 3.9 yards per carry in 2012. I don't think Greene returns to New York unless he's willing to take a home-team discount.

No. 10: Randy Starks, DT, Miami Dolphins

2012 stats: 27 tackles, 4.5 sacks, one INT

Analysis: Starks quietly had a good year for the Dolphins. Miami's front seven is difficult to run on, and Starks was one of the primary reasons. Good defensive tackles are coveted in the NFL, and it only takes one team to make a high bid. The Dolphins have the cap room to keep Starks, but I doubt they will overpay. Miami has the flexibility to move versatile defensive end Jared Odrick inside next season if needed.

That's the start of our top dozen free agents in the AFC East. We will continue moving up the list during the week.

Bush, Greene both chasing 1,000 yards

December, 20, 2012
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The Miami Dolphins and New York Jets don’t have much in common. But they do have two running backs chasing their second consecutive 1,000-yard season.

Miami's Reggie Bush has 895 rushing yards. He needs just 105 yards in the final two games to reach the 1,000-yard milestone. The Dolphins will host the Buffalo Bills on Sunday and travel to face the New England Patriots in the regular-season finale.

New York’s Shonn Greene has grounded and pounded his way to 951 rushing yards. He needs just 49 yards to reach 1,000 yards for the second time in his career. Greene may get it Sunday against the struggling San Diego Chargers.

Another similarity is both Bush and Greene are due to become unrestricted free agents. Will the Dolphins and Jets keep their starting tailbacks by signing Bush and Greene to long-term extensions? Both teams have interesting decisions to make.

Perhaps what is most amazing is, despite the offensive struggles in the division, the AFC East could have four 1,000-yard rushers. Buffalo’s C.J. Spiller and New England’s Stevan Ridley have already surpassed the 1,000-yard mark this season.

 

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