Chat with James Walker
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN.com AFC East blogger James Walker will stop by to chat about the NFL and what to expect from your team.
Walker joined ESPN.com in 2008 after three seasons covering the Cleveland Browns for the Columbus Dispatch.
Send your questions now and join Walker Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET!
James Walker (4:00 PM)
Hey everyone. Let's talk about the AFC East.
Is there any chance the Bills take a quarterback somewhere in this draft?
James Walker (4:04 PM)
With seven rounds, there's always a chance to take a QB, Bill. The biggest question is what round? I don't see Buffalo taking a QB in the first two rounds. But anything after that is possible.
John Boy (FL)
If the Fins can't land a top prospect at qb this year, wouldn't it be wise to build the oline and defense and then next year stick Barkley into a ready made winner?
James Walker (4:07 PM)
I don't like the idea of tanking the season before it every begins, John. Barkley is going to be a top-five pick. So I'm assuming you think Miami has to win five games or fewer next year to get him. I don't see that happening regardless of who's the QB. The Dolphins will be competitive with Matt Moore, Matt Flynn or Peyton Manning.
Jay (New York, NY)
Dear Mr. Walker,Is there anything you have seen from Henne from his days in Miami that would lead you to believe that he would be a better QB on the Jets than Sanchez? Thanks.
James Walker (4:08 PM)
It's not about who's better, Jay. Henne knows Tony Sparano's system and was a favorite of his in Miami. I just think it makes sense to bring Henne in as the backup and let him push Mark Sanchez to be the best QB he can be. If Sanchez falters or gets injured, NY at least has a decent fallback option who is better than Mark Brunell.
do the jets actually take barron in the first round? i highly doubt they pass up on a big time pass rusher.
James Walker (4:10 PM)
It's a bit early for draft predictions, Tom. That's something I usually stay away from. We have enough college and draft experts who do mock drafts and I leave that up to them. But identifying team needs is right down my alley, because I covered the teams all year. And safety is a huge need for the Jets. They really need two safeties, because Eric Smith is not a great starting safety. Jim Leonhard is hurt and a free agent.
Are there any free agent offensive lineman that you could see the Jets making a move for?
James Walker (4:14 PM)
Don't throw tomatoes at me, Jets fans. But Tony Sparano has always been a Marc Colombo supporter. He liked Colombo in Dallas, brought him to Miami, and I wouldn't be shocked if Colombo joins Sparano's offense in New York now that Colombo is a free agent. Miami is not bringing him back. He had a poor year. But the Jets need someone to compete with Wayne Hunter at RT, because he struggled as well. What do Jets fans think of a Colombo/Hunter training camp battle at RT?
Josh (Pennsylvania )
I'm a huge 'phins fan and my question is do they have any shot at the playoffs like i hope this year with the Patriots slowly declining and the Jets being continually inconsistent?
James Walker (4:16 PM)
Getting to the Super Bowl counts as a slow decline for the Patriots? I'm sure a lot of teams would like that kind of decline. But the Dolphins right now are a sleeper. I wouldn't peg them as a title contender or anything like that until Miami figures out its QB situation. If the Dolphins get a healthy Payton Manning, then they are a legitimate threat. But until then, the Patriots are the favorites to win the division.
James Walker (4:17 PM)
The Jets are a wild card. There's talent, but I anticipate some roster cuts, and I still have questions about them bouncing back. The jury is still out.
Mike newyork [via mobile]
Do you see the patriots trading one of there 1st round picks to acquire steelers wr mike wallace?
James Walker (4:20 PM)
It should be a possibility if Wallace is available. But I'm still having a hard time imagining the Steelers letting Wallace go. I covered the Steelers for years in the AFC North, and I know how smart those guys in the front office are. This would be a really dumb move to let Wallace walk. So I'm going to wait and see if Pittsburgh actually does this. If so, the Patriots should absolutely give up a late-round pick. They won't find a player of that caliber at No. 31. New England also has the cap room to give Wallace a nice contract.
Are the Bills going to carry over their excess salary cap from last year and use it this year?
James Walker (4:22 PM)
Buddy Nix plans to spend to the cap, Xander. This is an important year in Buffalo. If the Bills have another 6-10 or 4-12 year, everyone there is on the hot seat, including the coach, GM and QB. So the Bills have to use their resources to win now.
Lots of aging WRs that could or have hit the free agency - (Ward, Wayne, Moss, even TO). Any of these guys have something left in the tank that can ebnefit an NFL team?
James Walker (4:25 PM)
Of all these players, I would take Reggie Wayne. I think he can still produce in the right offense and still has something left in the tank. Moss and T.O. are old receivers who have personality issues. Ward is a great guy and locker room leader. But I'm not sure he has much left.
And all this Mike Wallace talk, where was he the second half of the season? He doesn't want to be a one trick pony, but he cant block, and cant route run too well, so..
James Walker (4:26 PM)
Wow. Now a Steeler fan is bashing Mike Wallace? Well, there's about 25 teams who could use a Mike Wallace. If your Pittsburgh team makes him available, watch how fast he gets scooped up.
loudogs13@AOL.COM (NEW YORK)
WHEN DO WE FIND OUT WERE WE PICK IN DRAFT 8 OR 9 DOLPHINS.
James Walker (4:28 PM)
At the combine, Loudogs. I wrote about that today in the AFC East blog. Check it out.
Does Henne find a new home, does anyone even want him? He might do well in a different scheme.
James Walker (4:30 PM)
Henne will find a home somewhere. I mentioned the Jets as a possibility, because NY needs a No. 2 and Henne had a good rapport with Tony Sparano. But if that doesn't happen, there will be other teams interested.
James Walker (4:32 PM)
Henne is a young QB with starting NFL experience. Someone will take him in, at least as a No. 2. I actually think Henne would be a very good backup somewhere. IMO, he's more of a guy who is better to fill in for two or three games and doesn't need the pressure of being a full-time starter.
Who do you think is the better & long term solution at QB for the Dolphins Peyton Manning, Matt Flynn, RG3, or Ryan Tannehill ?
James Walker (4:34 PM)
You're asking a trick question, Rick. When it comes to a healthy Peyton Manning (and health is the key), I don't care about "long-term solution." You have a chance to go deep in the playoffs NOW and for the next three years. Who cares about who the Dolphins' QB will be in 2016? Worry about that then. If Peyton Manning isn't healthy or is out of the running, then you think about long term.
Would the Patriots trade us Aaron Hernandez for Osi Umenyiora?
James Walker (4:35 PM)
if richardson falls to 9-10-11 i think the jets will move up to get him. a perfect guy to complement greene. sporanos offense works off 2 rbs. mcknights not ready yet
James Walker (4:36 PM)
Trent would be great for the Jets, but I think they are too far back. I don't think Trent Richardson makes it out of the top 10. So, the Jets at No. 16 need to think about other players and positions.
Can the Patriots be considered Super Bowl favorites next year or do you see a decline in production?
James Walker (4:37 PM)
Look, it's early. But I don't see the Patriots going anywhere. Tom Brady will be healthy, Bill Belichick is still the coach, and the team has plenty of cap room and draft picks. What's not to like about their situation?
James Walker (4:38 PM)
This year's team had a lot of holes, particularly on defense. You have to assume several of those holes will be patched up, and on paper 2012 could be a deeper team.
Also, what are some key free agents you'd like to see each team sign in the division?
James Walker (4:40 PM)
I'm not saying this is going to happen, but I'd like to see Mario Williams in Buffalo, Brandon Lloyd in New England and Peyton Manning in Miami. The Jets don't really have enough cap space right now, so they're hard to match with a big name. But the chances of all of this happening at once are slim. But it would make the division exciting next season.
Patriots vs. Giants in a Superbowl rematch, again. Mark it down, it's gonna happen!
James Walker (4:41 PM)
It's a little too early for that, isn't it?
Mike newyork [via mobile]
Back to the previous question i posted if wallace is available and gets picked up by another team such as the patriots would the steelers get any compensation in return?
James Walker (4:44 PM)
It depends on the tender, Mike. The Steelers are expected to put the highest tender (a first-round pick) on Wallace to prevent teams from taking him. But many teams, especially in the second half of the round, would be interested because giving up a 20-something or 30-something pick for Mike Wallace is a bargain. There are no Mike Wallace-type WRs sitting there at No. 31, where the Patriots are drafting.
James Walker (4:45 PM)
The tricky part is giving Wallace a big contract that the Steelers won't match. Pittsburgh is in a lot of salary-cap trouble, so giving Wallace a lot of money up front could make it tough for the Steelers to match. They might be forced to take the pick.
Al (Wausau, WI)
James, has LaDanian Tomlinson retired from football yet?
James Walker (4:46 PM)
LT has not retired. He said after the season he would consider coming back in the right situation. But that depends if the right team comes calling.
James Walker (4:47 PM)
The Jets are not expected to bring LT back.
Harry (Babylon, NY)
Hi James - After a season of internal turmoil does Rex Ryan's "player's coach" reputation still carry clout among potential free agents (besides the $$$ of course)?
James Walker (4:50 PM)
I do know this, players love playing for Rex Ryan. He is a players' coach to the fullest. Did that work against him last year? Probably to some degree. But that won't stop free agents from wanting to play for Rex. Even though the Giants won the Super Bowl, players would much rather play for Rex than Tom Coughlin. That's just the way the league is nowadays. But money is always going to be big in free agency.
Do you think the Bills will get a last minute deal done with Stevie Johnson?
James Walker (4:51 PM)
I've been saying all along that it's 50-50. Some Bills fans said I was crazy and that Johnson is definitely coming back. But from everything I'm hearing, it can go either way in these next few weeks. I think if the Bills let Johnson hit the open market on March 13, he's gone.
In all honesty, what would it take to get mario williams in buffalo? the highest defensive contract ever?
James Walker (4:55 PM)
Buffalo is going to have to pay significantly more than any other team to convince Williams to come to Buffalo. That's just the reality. Because if all things are equal, the Bills are going to lose out to a winning program and/or a more desirable city. The Bills are certainly not the favorites here.
Dr. H. Doofenshmirtz (Tri-State Area)
Everyone keeps talking about Manning going to the Jets, but is it just talk (speculation)?
James Walker (4:57 PM)
Don't believe everything you hear, Dr. H. Peyton Manning is not coming to the Jets next season.
Flynn, Tannehill, how do you rank the two and best fit for dolphins?
James Walker (4:58 PM)
Joe (New York)
Chances Mark Sanchez is the Starter for the Jets next season?
James Walker (4:58 PM)
According to Mike Tannenbaum and Rex Ryan, 100 percent.
If the patriots were to try to get a deep threat wideout, who would it be ?
James Walker (4:59 PM)
James Walker (5:00 PM)
Everyone, thanks for your time. Remember to check out the AFC East blog for constant updates.