There’s about to be a changing of the guard in the AFC East if the Patriots keep standing pat (no pun intended).
In the last twenty-four hours the New York Jets continued to add to their already impressive offseason haul, even though some of their deals make you wonder if their trying to win football games or become a halfway house for criminals and heathens.
The Jets added Santonio Holmes for a fifth-round pick (that’s right a former Super Bowl MVP was traded for a pick that might never see an NFL field. Wow) in an effort made by the Steelers to control their wild off the field issues that they have faced this offseason. Holmes joins new additions Antonio Cromartie, Ladanian Tomlinson and possibly Jason Taylor as the Jets, who were two quarters away from the Super Bowl, load up for another run.
No to be out done the Miami Dolphins have given Chad Henne an early Christmas gift in acquiring one of the game’s top Wide Receivers in Brandon Marshall. Marshall was acquired early Wednesday morning and signed a 4 year 47.5 million dollar contract extension to be Henne’s number one target. The deal also means that the Dolphins have decided to give up on first-round draft bust Ted Ginn Jr. Ginn’s problems with catching the ball were highly publicized last season and a team, that hasn’t had a receiver with a 100 catches season was in desperate need to strengthen a poor passing game.
(By the way when I say Ted Ginn Jr. had catching problems, I meant he couldn’t catch a cold. He was always a suspect pick by the Dolphins in 2007. He was never a reliable receiver at Ohio State and it showed in the NFL. He is electric on kick offs, but I don’t think the Dolphins want to pay a first round pick 5 million to return kicks and not catch balls. They could get Dante Hall for that.)
However, Marshall comes with his own baggage as well. Marshall has been suspended several times for character misconduct, and was involved in the shooting and death of former teammate Darrent Williams. Marshall is one strike away from a possible year-long suspension by Roger Goodell, which makes the trade even more risky, yet understandable.
All of this means that the Patriots may need to make a big splash in the NFL Draft next week to keep up with their divisional rivals. It has been an interesting offseason in Foxboro as the Pats have lost tight end Ben Watson to the Cleveland Browns, and have growing concerns with the age and depth of their defense. Plus there is the Randy Moss factor. Moss is in the final year of a productive three year deal, and judging from his comments earlier in February he doesn’t expect to be back.
“I understand the beast, the nature of it. I think that just with what I think and what I know I don’t think they’re going to re-sign me back. So, after this season if there is not a lockout I’ll be looking for a new team. I got a lot of respect for the Patriots and what they did for me and my family. So, the only thing I can do is just play this year out and see what my future holds after that.” Those were Moss’s own words.
Can you blame him? This is the same team that dumped Deion Branch and David Patten after their last title run, and unceremoniously got rid of Troy Brown.
The Pats face tough decisions in looking for a new running back now that it looks like Lawrence is a certified bust, no tight end, a suspect secondary and uncertainty with the health of Wes Welker after tearing his ACL in Week 17 against the Houston Texans.
When looking around the division you can understand why there is cause for concern in Foxboro. Rex Ryan has already shown his lack of fear for Bill Belichick, and the Dolphins already have a pension for making Tom Brady’s life miserable whenever he visits Miami. Unless the Pats can make a late run in free agency, or use those four picks that they have in the first two rounds wisely they could have a hard time keeping up with the newly stacked Jets and the highly talented Dolphins.
Though the division hasn’t officially been handed over yet, it seems like it is getting close. The Jets showed that they were a major player last year, and haven’t slowed this offseason, while the Dolphins are out to prove that last season 7-9 campaign was a fluke. Some of that Belichick magic sure would be useful right now if you ask me.