The biggest news out of Buffalo this week was the re-signing of free agent wide receiver Stevie Johnson. At five years for $36.25 million, including $19 million guaranteed, the Bills have their guy. In years past, this was the kind of negotiation that the Bills seem to always mess up. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was so excited about the news that he had the words “He’s Back” shaved onto his head.
Since the Bills seem willing to spend money and general manager Buddy Nix has said Buffalo can, and will, spend to the salary cap this offseason, many are thinking that the plan to upgrade the pass rush won’t be from the draft, but via free agency. One player undoubtedly on Buffalo’s radar would be Houston Texans free agent defensive end/linebacker Mario Williams.
And Peyton watch is officially under way. With the news conference just having finished up declaring the end of the Manning era in Indianapolis, he is officially on the market and Miami is thought to be the early front runner. Nothing is going to happen quickly, but the news is that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross privately has made clear to associates that he very much covets Manning.
Could Reggie Wayne make this a package deal? A south Florida native, Wayne, a five-time Pro Bowler with the Indianapolis Colts, becomes an unrestricted free agent on March 13. An unnamed source has stated that Manning and Wayne have not spoken specifically about landing in the same city or playing for the same team, but they realize its a possibility and one they would favor because of their friendship
New England Patriots
As expected, the defending AFC champions applied the franchise tag to free agent wide receiver Wes Welker yesterday. A representative for the Pats has stated that utilizing the franchise designation allows both sides more time to try to reach an agreement, which is the goal.
New England is another team thought to be interested in courting the top defensive free agent on the market, defensive end Mario Williams. Many have scoffed at it by declaring that the Pats don’t usually spend in free agency, but remember that when Julius Peppers hit the market, New England got in on him with a strong offer that eventually got blown away by the Bears. So to think they won’t even make an offer is foolish. Their defense has to undergo a massive upgrade this offseason.
New York Jets
Yet another team high on the list of teams that are thought to be in play for Peyton Manning is the J-E-T-S. It’s no secret how disgruntled the organization is with quarterback Mark Sanchez and owner Woody Johnson showed his love for the flashy acquisition in 2008 when the Jets traded for Brett Favre. This feels eerily similar in many ways. He can’t be happy about the in-state rival Giants picking up their second title in four years. Something has to be done before the fan base switches sides completely.
A source said recently that the Jets will “definitely” look into the possibility of signing Manning. Naturally, they want to see how healthy he is before deciding the level of commitment, but they will certainly “be in the mix.”
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Filed under: AFC East