New England Patriots: AFC East Rival Makes Noise on Day One of Free Agency


November 12, 2012; Pittsburgh , PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace (17) just misses a catch against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of the game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Happy New Year, NFL fans! My head is swimming over here trying to keep up with all the moves going down, but trust me; I’m the last person that is complaining. Free agency is like Christmas to me; new presents under the tree, but we can’t open them until 4 pm. Sorry, but my family opens their gifts in the morning, so I’ll be that kid that sits in front of the tree and stares at the wrapped gifts. I shake them to have a clue (Mike Wallace to Miami), I think about some of the things I called necessities and I should definitely get (Ed Reed, Dashon Goldson, Aqib Talib, Charles Woodson) and I know I’ll be angry if I don’t get at least one. Didn’t I make it clear how much I wanted this new toy? It really is like Christmas morning as a kid. You never get everything you want, there is always a surprise (good and bad), and the more resources you have, the better the gift is going to be, unless you’re Daniel Snyder.

Well, I ripped open the gifts and I can finally start to analyze the moves in free agency, because we are over 20 hours in, and news is coming fast and furious. Free agency presents many falling dominoes and also gives a peak into the plans of NFL front offices entire offseason, but we can’t jump the gun when teams sign the so called “prizes” of free agency and declare these teams’ contenders. Just take a look at the Eagles and their free agent game plan after the lockout; it was a complete failure, and in a fitting start to free agency today, the Eagles released Nnamdi Asomugha. I don’t know if it was a coincidence or not, but it should have given teams a red alert. Of course, it didn’t. Let’s take a look at the craziness.

It makes sense to start in New England, but there really isn’t much going on…yet. Michael Vowel (can’t say or spell his name) was tendered with a lower round draft pick, and from a transaction standpoint, that was it. Donald Thomas left for the Colts, which hurts but is a spot than can be filled, and Patrick Chung moves to Philly, which isn’t a big deal because he wasn’t in the Patriots plans. There were rumors floated that Wes Welker was offered a deal, but there were conflicting reports saying he wasn’t and the Patriots advised him to test the market. Then, we get a report this morning saying that Welker did receive an offer, it was ridiculously low, for his camp at least, and he is open to leaving. Nobody, except those intimately involved, know what is going to happen at this point, so I’m not going to speculate. I say move on and load up in the secondary, but my name isn’t Nick Caserio, so I am guessing just like everyone else.

There were no substantial rumors on the Sebastian Vollmer front, only one report stating that he really wanted to return to New England. I like Vollmer and I don’t think he is easy to replace, so if they can get him signed at the right number, they should get it done. He is more important than Welker because he protects your franchise quarterback and he is also a strong run blocker in a top ten rush offense. Aqib Talib is also still in standby mode, having his name rumored to be hot in Indy and Washington. According to Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe, the Patriots are looking to get a deal done with Talib “soon.”

The Patriots rivals had a mixed day yesterday to open up the 2013 NFL Calendar. The Miami Dolphins were the loudest by far, not just in the AFC East, but also maybe the entire NFL, minus the Cleveland Browns. The Dolphins signed the prize of free agency, Mike Wallace, to a 5 year, 60 million dollar deal. This adds a playmaker on the outside that the Dolphins lost when they traded away Brandon Marshall last year. The Dolphins also signed Dannell Ellerbe away from the Baltimore Ravens and Philip Wheeler from the Raiders, shoring up a linebacker core that was sorely in need of talent infusion. The thing is, I’m not that excited about these moves for Miami. On the surface, it looks like Miami added firepower, but if they lose Reggie Bush, Anthony Fasano (already gone), Jake Long, and Sean Smith, have they gotten better? I don’t think they have.

The Bills continue to be the Bills, first having a phone call between Bucs GM Mark Dominik and Bills GM Buddy Nix recorded and released to Deadspin, and then two hours later cutting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who they gave a huge contract just two years ago. Buddy Nix is in WAY over his head, and I have the feeling Mario Williams may regret chasing the money to go to that wasteland of a franchise. It is sad because they have great fans and some good, young players. Here is Buffalo explained in a nutshell- they release Fitzpatrick, and then they don’t re-sign Andy Levitre, one of the best young guards in the NFL. Seriously Buddy, what are you thinking?

The Jets were relatively quiet, and the only news we are hearing about the Jets involves Darrelle Revis and his potential trade. I have kept my mouth shut on this, but I have a NFL New Year hangover so it is time to speak up. Hey, New York (Woody, specifically) what the hell are you thinking? Revis isn’t just great, he is the best defensive player in the game and he changes the way teams play offense. Why would you trade him? Why would you not pay him? Listen, some of these players are sensitive when it comes to contracts, and any nephew of Sean Gilbert is going to be financially aware and not going to keep quiet. That is fine; work it out with the player in house and don’t give away your franchise player going into his prime. I bet Bill Belichick has a celebration planned like no other for the day the Jets trade away their best all time player, I repeat, IN HIS PRIME.

All in all, a fun day for Miami fans, a strange day for Pats fans due to the lack of activity causing some fear, a typical day for Buffalo fans and Jets fans are now pushing for their best player to get traded. Add all of it up, and what you get is a whole lot of questions still remaining and only a few answers on the board. This should be an interesting week.