AFC East Update

Green and White Report
Posted May 27, 2012


GWR's Nick St. Denis takes a look at the latest and greatest in the AFC East and what's shaking across the division.

While the Jets' offseason has certainly been eventful, so has the rest of the AFC East. Especially as of late.

Miami Dolphins

Unlike the Jets' perceived quarterback battle, the Dolphins actually have a quarterback competition going on, and it's a relatively compelling one. Career-second-stringer Matt Moore, who started a majority of the Dolphins' games last season due to Chad Henne going down to injury, entered the offseason as the likely favorite to start Week 1. He has veteran David Garrard and top-10 pick Ryan Tannehill pushing him, but Garrard hasn't played since 2010, and the Dolphins have repeatedly stated they don't want to rush Tannehill into anything.

Expect Tannehill to start sooner than later, though, as there will be no reason not to give him some field time if the Dolphins struggle through the first third of the season.

The Dolphins do need to get their quarterbacks some help, as their current receiver depth chart is young, inexperienced and just not that explosive. They traded Brandon Marshall earlier in the year and haven't replaced him with a bonafide No. 1 via the draft or free agency.

Buffalo Bills

The big news out of Buffalo this week was defensive end Mario Williams, who the Bills' made the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history, finally picking a jersey number. He donned No. 90 during his five years with the Houston Texans, but longtime Bill Chris Kelsay told Williams he wasn't planning on giving it up. Williams then proceeded to take his time picking digits but finally settled with No. 94.

Buffalo also finally got running back Fred Jackson the contract extension he deserved. He had a year left on his contract, so Buffalo made sure to lock him up for two more years so he'll be able to work with recently-extended teammates receiver Stevie Johnson and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Other than that, Buffalo has been relatively quiet since their early-offseason free agency splash, aside from cutting cornerback Drayton Florence to open the door for rookie Stephon Gilmore to start. The Bills are now adjusting to their new 4-3 defensive scheme.

New England Patriots

The "business-savvy" Patriots have their usual offseason contract drama, this time via receiver Wes Welker. New England applied its franchise tag to the 31-year-old, and Welker discussed his frustrations with multiple media outlets over the past month before finally deciding to tone it down last week.

Despite leading the league in receptions in three of the past five seasons, the Patriots aren't about to break the bank for multiple years for an aging slot receiver, especially since they have about a billion wideouts on the roster as it is. At least he's in a better position than Chad Ochocinco, though, who might not even make the final roster. Same goes for veteran Deion Branch.

Though longtime left tackle Matt Light retired, the Patriots expect veteran guard Brian Waters to return to the team. The former Kansas City Chief hasn't attended voluntary team activities for a few years now, and since he was able to seamlessly etch his spot in the Patriots' offense with just a week of preparation before the 2011 season, it's no big deal. New England's offensive line will remain stout.

Nick St. Denis covers the New York Jets for Greenandwhitereport.com

You can follow him on Twitter @nickstdenis By: TwitterButtons.com

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