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July 8, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Tim Graham

Tim Graham
  (3:00 PM)

Good afternoon from my undisclosed location along the Southern Tier of Western New York. It's a pleasant day in small-town America. Let's get started.

Matt (Augusta, GA)

I read somewhere that the Giants have strong interest in Posluszny. Are you hearing the same?

Tim Graham
  (3:01 PM)

I haven't heard that, but it would make sense from the standpoint he played well and was the defensive captain when Giants coordinator Perry Fewell was with the Bills.

Al (Wausau, WI)

Tim, do you feel there's any chance that either Ronnie Brown or Ricky Williams will be on the Dolphins this season? If not, to whom may they turn to run the football?

Tim Graham
  (3:03 PM)

There's absolutely a chance. I believe both want to be back, and if they're willing to return in a supporting role for supporting-role money, then the Dolphins would be interested.

Will (Cambridge, MA)

My co-worker thinks a labor deal will be done solely because the owners don't want to miss the revenue from any pre-season games. What percentage of crazy is his reasoning?

Tim Graham
  (3:05 PM)

Not crazy at all. That's quite logical to think, in fact. But let's remember the deal the owners and players are trying to strike will last quite a few years. If the owners make concessions for a quick deal simply to retain some preseason dough, they could lose substantial dollars over the length of the CBA.

Kealan (Ireland)

Matt Williamson said in his chat on Wednesday that, although it's hard to guess how good teams will be before free-agency, Miami has a "Top 3" defense. How good to you think they can be?

Tim Graham
  (3:06 PM)

They'll be very good. I'm not going to say they will be top three, but they were top seven or eight last year and have everybody back. They were a younger unit last year. With another year of experience under Mike Nolan, I think they'll be terrific. The only thing missing last year was turnovers. They were awful at forcing them, which is strange for a Nolan team.

Mark French (Louisville, KY)

I keep reading one of the sticking points during the negotiations is the owners want the right to first refusal for free agency. What is this and why is it important.

Tim Graham
  (3:09 PM)

It's important to the owners because they weren't able to properly address free agency before the lockout, given the fact nobody knew what the free-agency rules would be. It's important for players because it would surrender more of their rights. I agree with both sides, which is why I would propose a one-time-only exclusive signing period for a few days after the lockout.

Matt (Augusta, GA)

Is there a particular team(s) that would benefit more from a shorter FA period?

Tim Graham
  (3:09 PM)

I suppose clubs that don't need much help and don't have many to re-sign. The Patriots would fall into that category.

Xander (Philly)

Heard a couple NFL analysts say the Bills are a candidate as a sleeper team this year. Buying it?

Tim Graham
  (3:10 PM)

To a degree. They won't be a sleeper team in the sense of division contender. The Patriots and Jets are way ahead of them. But the Bills can be a sleeper in the sense of playing much better than people expect.

R ((in CT))

How long do we have to wait for those promised "warm and fuzzy" moments? Talking about an alpaca wearing a sweater doesn't count ...

Tim Graham
  (3:12 PM)

An alpaca doesn't need a sweater to be warm and fuzzy. My prediction for the past couple weeks has been sometime next week. I think both sides made tremendous progress before the July 4th speedbump. It took a little while to rebuild momentum after the long weekend.

R (in CT)

Even though it looks like a deal is close, which means that they won't miss any regular season games, do you think the NFL has lost any fans or luster?

Tim Graham
  (3:13 PM)

I don't. As long as there are games to bet on and fantasy football drafts to conduct, the NFL will remain as popular as ever.

Al (Wausau, WI)

Tim, at home I have the NFL Network on my satellite TV package. I'm enjoying Hard Knocks with the New York Jets. Have you seen this program series?

Tim Graham
  (3:14 PM)

Have I seen it? I was in the first episode! OK, my picture and blog were shown on a projection screen during a coaches meeting scene. But that still was pretty cool.

Josh (Ct)

Hey Tim, what do you think has historically been the stronger rivalry - the Bills-Dolphins rivalry or the Pats-Jets rivalry?

Tim Graham
  (3:15 PM)

The Jets-Patriots have overtaken the Dolphins-Bills the past few years.

Mike (South (of) Boston, Pittsburgh in less than a month(!))

Please tell me these talking heads in Boston are wasting their time talking about any Tiki Barber-to-the-Pats rumors.

Tim Graham
  (3:15 PM)

Bill Belichick has a track record of thirtysomething running backs, and Barber still can provide help as a third-down back. I wouldn't rule it out.

Mark French (Louisville, KY)

Of the following who would be the best FA QB for the Bills to target when football resumes? (Young, Thigpen, or Leinart)

Tim Graham
  (3:16 PM)

I'm not sure who they're looking at internally, but I believe strongly that Young would make a lot of teams better. I'm looking at you, Miami.

Mike (South (of) Boston, Pittsburgh in less than a month(!))

Thank God for these chats to keep me awake at work. And you too, Tim.

Tim Graham
  (3:17 PM)

And vice versa.

Andrew (Atlanta, GA)

Tim - Chris Collinsworth said recently "The AFC East could be decided by who makes the bigger jump - Mark Sanchez or the New England defense". Do you agree with this assessment?

Tim Graham
  (3:19 PM)

That's an incredibly astute line of thinking. I agree with it, but let's not forget the Dolphins' offense. If Chad Henne can make a dramatic leap under new coordinator Brian Daboll, they will make some noise.

Max (ATL)

Tim, have you been reading the comments on the Brandon Marshall post of top 25? why do you say that Santonio Holmes is better than Brandon Marshall?

Tim Graham
  (3:20 PM)

I guess you'll find out over the next two weeks.

Tim Graham
  (3:21 PM)

But seriously, readers on this chat know what I think of Santonio Holmes as a receiver. You won't have to wait to long to see where I rated him.

Alli (Orange County, CA)

Which NE back had a bigger impact last year? Green Ellis or Woodhead?

Tim Graham
  (3:24 PM)

They were so different, but so intertwined. From an excitement standpoint, Woodhead was the most fun. But you can't argue with Green-Ellis' production (13 touchdowns).

Xander (Philly)

I agree that the Bills aren't contenders, but I think most people give the Jets and Pats way too much credit. The Pats have a massive question mark at Defense, and the Jets have Sanchez who is also a massive question mark. If both are mediocre, neither team is a shoe-in for anything.

Tim Graham
  (3:24 PM)

Both of your big question marks have done some special things.

Josh (Ct)

I know Jets-Pats might have overtaken Bills-Dolphins today, but Do you really think today's Jets-Pats rivalry is stronger than the Bills-Dolphins rivalry in the 80s-90s? That was easily one of the NFL's most heated rivalries and IMO Jets-Pats has only blossomed recently

Tim Graham
  (3:27 PM)

Jets-Patriots goes back to when Bill Parcells left the Patriots for the Jets. Then you had Curtis Martin flipping, Belichick flipping, Mangini, Spygate ... That's a great stretch.

Will (Cambridge, MA)

I'm bored, anything funny going to happen in this chat?

Tim Graham
  (3:28 PM)

Depends on how much you've had to drink.

Ryan (NY)

When does Buffalo's contract with those Toronto games run out?

Tim Graham
  (3:28 PM)

After next season, but you can expect that deal to be renewed.

Xander (Philly)

So has Fitz, Stevie Johnson, Moats, Merriman, Kyle Williams...what's your point?

Tim Graham
  (3:30 PM)

This reply is in reference to me stating that Sanchez and the Patriots' defense have done some special things, I presume ... Your list of players have done special things for a play or a game here or there. Sanchez has reached back-to-back AFC Championship Games and already is the best road quarterback in NFL playoff history. The Patriots went 14-2 last year. Your comparison is laughable.

Ryan (Texas)

What do you like most about the Bills new uniforms?

Tim Graham
  (3:31 PM)

From a personal standpoint, it reminds of my childhood, thumbing through my 1979 Topps cards. Overall, I think it's a cleaner look.

R (in CT)

How much do you think the lockout has really hurt teams like Buffalo, who really needed a full offseason to address their issues, verses a team like New England, which pretty much has its house in order? True concern, or just media looking for things to write about?

Tim Graham
  (3:32 PM)

True concern. Even the best teams are going to go through a sloppy phase. They'll just pull out of it faster.

Xander (Philly)

The Jets went to back to back title games because of coaching and defense...The Patriots went 14-2 because of coaching and Tom Brady.

Tim Graham
  (3:34 PM)

That's not the point you made earlier. You stated the Jets and Patriots were overrated heading into 2011 because if Sanchez or the Patriots' defense were mediocre, then they wouldn't do well. Sanchez and the Patriots' D were mediocre last year (sometimes not even) and yet they had seasons many fans would kill for.

Mike (Gainesville, FL)

I agree with Xander - the Bills went to back-to-back-to-back-to-back afc championships and WON THEM ALL, and they are joked about. Sanchez has gone to 2 and lost them both but we keep praising him? I think everyone is tired of hearing how great he is without ever winning the big one(on an all-pro-bowler team.) we get that the Jets have a talented team, but to keep talking about Sanchez as if he is anything more than mediocre is laughable.

Tim Graham
  (3:37 PM)

The 1990s Bills were never joked about for being a bad team or having bad players. ... And Sanchez is mediocre. I never said he wasn't. But that's not proof they'll suffer because of it. Two years in a row, they've proven they're good enough to deal with that.

Matt (RI)

what do you do inbetween questions to keep your sanity?

Tim Graham
  (3:38 PM)

Paddle ball.

Tim Graham
  (3:38 PM)

A couple more and I have to roll. Thanks for joining me on a lazy summer afternoon.

Tim Graham
  (3:38 PM)

A couple more and I have to roll. Thanks for joining me on a lazy summer afternoon.

Hello (Tim)

Did you agree with the players re: Tom Brady being the #1 overall player in the NFL currently?

Tim Graham
  (3:39 PM)

Check back on July 21, when I reveal the No. 2 player on my top 25 players in the AFC East list.

Scott (Toledo, Ohio)

Im a Dolphins Fan and I would take Sanchez over Henne any day of the week. Sanchez is comparable to Dilfer. Put a strong collection of guys around him add a stellar defense and he can take you to a SuperBowl victory.

Matt (RI)

do you think the phins are better off rolling the dice with young or stick out another year with henney?

Tim Graham
  (3:41 PM)

I believe they would be a better team with Vince Young at quarterback. He would stimulate the running game and almost certainly have better chemistry with Brandon Marshall than Chad Henne had last year.

Jackson (Cincy)

Tim... why you so sexy?

Tim Graham
  (3:41 PM)

It's in my DNA, Jackson.

Tim Graham
  (3:41 PM)

All right, folks. That's a wrap. Thanks again for spending some time with me today.