Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Glance at AFC East's pre-free agency situation


As of 4 p.m. EST Tuesday, NFL teams can officially negotiate, offer and sign contracts with free agents.

No championships have ever been won in March, but it's an exciting time as front offices start to lay out their vision for the coming season. The moves made here also help dictate what a team does in April's Draft.

Here's where each of the four teams in the AFC East stand going into the critical free agency period: (photo: Dave Rezendes, Flickr)

Cap space: $25.5 million
Needs: WR, OL, CB, DL
New England has two important in-house free agents to decide on: tackle Sebastian Vollmer and wide receiver Wes Welker. They opted against applying the franchise tag to either, and now risk losing two valuable contributors to the open market. The Patriots also desperately need, and have for a few seasons, an infusion of talent in their secondary. With plenty of quality veteran cornerbacks available, expect New England to be very active.

Cap space: $5.7 million
Needs: RB, WR, OL, LB, S
New York's situation remains fluid as the team makes decisions on problematic contract situations such as Darrelle Revis, Tim Tebow and Santonio Holmes. With a litany of needs across the roster, the cash-strapped Jets will have few options in free agency besides middling, roster-filling players. Hopefully, the Jets can have a solid draft and make headway on cutting out cap space for a 2014 bounce-back.

Cap space: $30.7 million
Needs: WR, TE, T, CB, FS
Over the past year-and-a-half, the Dolphins' front office has been conserving cap space and stockpiling picks specifically to make moves this offseason. They are expected to be major players for a number of big ticket free agents, including wide receiver Mike Wallace, arguably the biggest free agent available. Miami may also make a push for Titans tight end Jared Cook.

Cap space: $19.8 million
Needs: QB, WR, LB
The Bills are once again in the midst of a regime change, and much of their work this offseason will be reconstructing the team to fit the new coaching staff's schemes. Though not expected to make nearly the splash they did a year ago, the Bills have said they'll be a factor in the market. One of their biggest free agent priorites, and challenges, will be to bring back guard Andy Levitre.

All cap information from OverTheCap.com [http://www.overthecap.com/nfl-cap-space.php?Year=2013]

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