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)
It's Super Bowl week and the AFC East was not involved this year. But there's still plenty to talk about. Let's chat.
Hi James, how do you think the Dolphins will address their TE position? Resign Fasano, draft, or FA?
James Walker (4:01 PM)
I expect Miami to look to free agency at tight end. There are some good options with Jared Cook and possibly JerMichael Finley if he is released. The Dolphins drafted Michael Egnew last year and I don't see them doubling down on that in April. I expect Miami to wait at least another year to see if Egnew comes around.
Do you think the Patriots will target a top WR in free agency like Dwayne Bowe or Greg Jennings.
James Walker (4:03 PM)
The Patriots have some other needs like safety and corner that need to be addressed. If New England spends on a veteran WR, it will probably be for Wes Welker. Otherwise, the Patriots would prefer to get younger at the position and grab a WR or two in the draft.
Candy (Slippery Rock)
Greetings James, which of these FA is Miami most likely to keep: Sean Smith, Randy Starks, or Brian Hartline?
James Walker (4:04 PM)
That's a tough one, Candy. I would probably say Hartline or Starks of this group. They will give the Dolphins more bang for their money. Smith will be overpriced because of the position he plays. He's a decent player, but not someone I would throw the money truck at to keep him.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What did you think of Syracuse Head Coach Doug Marrone as the Head Coach for the Buffalo Bills?
James Walker (4:06 PM)
It's an interesting hire. I see some reasons why the Bills like him and some reasons to be skeptical. So I'm taking a wait-and-see approach.
What do you make of the 2 CFL signings for the Pats: Vega and Armstead?
James Walker (4:08 PM)
I can't say I've seen either of these players perform. I don't watch CFL football. However, it shows the Patriots are willing to go far and wide to improve their defense.
Hey James,Are the Dolphins and the Patriots the two most likely teams to land Revis?
James Walker (4:10 PM)
I think they are among the most unlikely teams simply for the fact that they're the Jets' division rival. New York would be silly to give their best player away to a division team. And the Jets would have to face Revis twice a year. They should want no parts of that.
Are the Chiefs the team to beat next year?
James Walker (4:11 PM)
Kansas City is my dad's favorite team and has a long way to go. At least the Chiefs have the No. 1 overall pick to start rebuilding.
Alex (Abington) [via mobile]
What do you think the Pats will do to improve their secondary?
James Walker (4:14 PM)
It starts with re-signing Aqib Talib or at least someone with equal skills. The Patriots are much better when they have someone who can cover WR man-to-man. After that, I think New England will sign a safety in free agency. Ed Reed is a possibility.
Jennings is selling his house, is he heading to miami?
James Walker (4:15 PM)
It depends on how much Miami is willing to pay. I would peg the Dolphins as the favorite right now. With Philbin, the WC offense, plenty of cap room and a need at WR, it makes too much sense.
Aside from Brady or Belichick retiring, what do you think is the biggest threat to the Patriots' dominance over the AFC East?
James Walker (4:18 PM)
Those two pretty much control the AFC East. Otherwise, another team needs to jump up and challenge them. But first you need a franchise quarterback. Miami may have one. Buffalo and NY not so much.
Do you think the dolphins will be able to win the division next year if they pick up the talent they need?
James Walker (4:19 PM)
I'm not going to make predictions in January. But the Dolphins have a golden opportunity to make a jump this year with cap room and draft picks. It will be up to Jeff Ireland to make all the right moves. He has a lot of poker chips right now.
Dolphins need that premier safety, hard hitting, ball hawk.
James Walker (4:21 PM)
According to Dolphins fans, they already have that in Reshad Jones, who was No. 40 in "Walker's Fab 40." I notice the uproar that he should have been way higher. I think he's right where he should be as an up-and-comer.
If the Bills cant work out a long term deal with Byrd, any chance they DO NOT franchise him?
James Walker (4:23 PM)
Buffalo's front office is smarter than that. There's no reason to lose Byrd for nothing. The franchise tag for safeties is not that high. Buffalo is more likley to lose guard Andy Levitre to free agency than Byrd.
Do you see Randy Starks as a must sign because of what he and Paul Soliai did together in the middle of the Dolphins defensive line?
James Walker (4:25 PM)
I see Randy Starks as a good player. But I'm not sure anyone is a "must sign" in Miami. The Dolphins have the flexibility to move Jared Odrick inside and play Olivier Vernon at DE or find another DE if Starks' asking price is too high after making the Pro Bowl.
Harry (Babylon, NY)
James - besides the obvious salary cap cuts the Jets will most likely make don't they also have the ability to restructure some of the alabatross contracts that are handcuffing them?
James Walker (4:27 PM)
Yes, the Jets always have a chance to restructure. However, some of that got NY in trouble in the first place. The Jets restructured a lot of contracts to push money back to future seasons. That's why the cap is so screwed up. A different method will be asking players to take a pay cut or leave. That will assist the cap either way.
Do you think it would be a good move for the Dolphins if they drafted a quarterback in the later rounds?
James Walker (4:29 PM)
I'm not against it. Some teams like to draft a QB every year just to protect yourself. It's the hardest position to find. If you have one, you can groom the next one for the future or for another team and get quality draft picks.
Kelson (Chicago, IL)
Is Jennings really worth the money that he is going to get? For a Dolphin team that has mostly been built through the draft and thrifty FA signings, getting a 30 year old WR seems out of character...
James Walker (4:32 PM)
You have to take a chance at some point, Kelson. Free agency is meant to get teams over the hump, not build a foundation. The Dolphins have done a good job drafting players like Tannehill, Mike Pouncey, etc. But you have to sprinkle in a good free agent or two to speed up the process.
Should the Dolphins go after both Dwayne Bowe and Greg Jennings?Greg Jennings truns 30 before next season wouldn't be better to get both Dwayne Bowe and Greg Jennings.
James Walker (4:33 PM)
The Dolphins have too many other needs to focus on two top-dollar free agents.
if the dolphins signs jake long could he play the right side of the line
James Walker (4:35 PM)
Jake Long reportedly wants $10 million per year. There's no way the Dolphins -- or any team -- would pay that kind of money to play Long on the right side.
Samuel (Winston-Salem, NC)
What role/impact do you see Fred Jackson having next year in Buffalo?
James Walker (4:36 PM)
Good question, Samuel. It's hard to say at the moment with a new HC and a new OC. I thought Chan Gailey stayed too loyal to Jackson when it was clear that C.J. Spiller was ready to turn up his game. That put Buffalo's offense back a bit. Jackson is a good No. 2 option at this point. Fewer carries will keep him fresh and less injury prone.
Do you think the Patriots will be in the final four next year? Pats, Ravens, Broncos, Titans?
James Walker (4:40 PM)
No predictions in January, Dan. Why waste the energy?
What stat will Buffalo have most drastically improve under Pettine?
James Walker (4:41 PM)
Run defense. You can't have that kind of money and draft picks invested in your defensive line and be 31st against the run. That's not a good look.
If you had to pick between Matt Moore and Ryan Tannehill as your starting QB, who would you choose?
James Walker (4:42 PM)
Who's the likely Jets 2013 season opening QB?
James Walker (4:43 PM)
It looks like Mark Sanchez for now. But the Jets will do all they can to add competition. A rookie may not supplant Sanchez. But a trade for Matt Flynn could do the trick.
James Walker (4:44 PM)
By the way, I can't believe our poll today that Jets fans would rather have JaMarcus Russell start next year over Mark Sanchez. C'mon now.
Why no love for Reshad Jones ont he top 40 list? You need to see it another year?
James Walker (4:45 PM)
Being ranked in the top 40 is not bad, Adam. Each division team has 22 starters. Jones is in the top half among AFC East starters. Think about it that way.
James Walker (4:46 PM)
There are some good players who didn't make the cut. We will get to those players later this week.
How does Bart Scott's future look with the Jets?
James Walker (4:46 PM)
Not good. I expect Scott and fellow linebacker Calvin Pace to be released to get under the salary cap.
Harry (Babylon, NY)
Do you think Rex Ryan receives unfair scrutiny from media and fans alike due to his brash personality? Players love him and he seems to be able to put together very solid game plans.
James Walker (4:48 PM)
Rex Ryan got all the credit as the new sheriff in town when he started fast with two AFC title games. He got a lot of the credit then. He needs to accept a lot of blame now after two poor seasons.
James Walker (4:49 PM)
I've always said Ryan is a good coach and deserves another year. However, some of the circus-like things that go on in New York makes you wonder if keeping Ryan is really worth it. A lot of coaches can go 6-10 without the drama.
Joe (New York)
Do you think that the Dolphins will take Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas over re-signing Reggie Bush?
James Walker (4:51 PM)
I don't think they would mind it if Bush wants too much money to return. The Dolphins would like to keep Bush, but at their price. They will let Bush walk if he gets a big extension elsewhere.
Isn't Mike Wallace a better fit than Greg Jennings in Miami? More of a HR threat and much younger.
James Walker (4:53 PM)
I like both WRs. But Jennings knows the system and will have virtually zero learning curve. That's the advantage.
Wreck (Gville, FL)
Why do the Bills keep agreeing to do the Toronto series? Turnout has been lower than expected and it seems counterproductive to keeping the team in Buffalo. Canadians already travel to Buffalo for hockey/shopping/etc. They will for football, too.
James Walker (4:55 PM)
Wreck, always follow the money trail. This is an easy money grab for the Bills' organization. The players don't like it, but this is a decision made at the top.
Paul (Mooresville, NC)
I like Lamar Miller. I dont, however, like Dan Thomas. He's a product of the old regime, consistently inconsistent, and a tad bit injury prone. Is Miami really going to let a 1,000yd back IN HIS PRIME walk in favor of 2 unproven guys?
James Walker (4:57 PM)
Paul, you have to consider what the West Coast offense is about. The value for a RB in the system is not that important. Typically, a successful WC offense passes first to set up the run. Look at how Green Bay has done it for years under Aaron Rodgers. Who is Green Bay's RB? It doesn't really matter. The Dolphins would like to be that way. However, they didn't have the personnel last year.
Harry (Babylon, NY)
Do you see the Jets resigning any of their free agents? The one guy who would make sense is Mike DeVito.
James Walker (4:59 PM)
LaRon Landry, Dustin Keller, Shonn Greene are all going to cost. Right now it's hard to see the Jets paying big bucks to keep any of these players with the way their cap is. DeVito should come on the cheap and is a favorite of Ryan. I would think he has the best chance to return among this group of Jets free agents.
James Walker (5:00 PM)
Everyone, thanks for the great questions. Remember to check out the AFC East blog for the latest news and insight on the division.