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AFC East Report: Pre-Free Agency Edition

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Let's take a look around the division, to find out which players are headed towards free agency.

"Free agency is this way, Chris Ivory."
"Free agency is this way, Chris Ivory."
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The year is almost over; at least from a professional football point of view. Tomorrow, 4:00 p.m. ET, the 2016 NFL league year starts and so does free agency. While we have already discussed the Patriots' upcoming free agents, let's take a look around the AFC East, to find out whom New England's rivals could potentially lose in the upcoming days and weeks.

Buffalo Bills

Player Position Age Exp. Status
Nigel Bradham LB 26 4 UFA
Ron Brooks CB 27 4 UFA
Alex Carrington DE 28 6 UFA
Cordy Glenn OT 26 4 UFA - Franchise Tag
Percy Harvin WR 27 7 UFA
Richie Incognito OG 32 9 UFA
Josh Johnson QB 29 6 UFA
Corbin Bryant DT 28 5 RFA - Tender
Stefan Charles DT 27 3 RFA
MarQueis Gray TE 26 3 RFA
Chris Hogan WR 27 4 RFA - Tender
Jordan Mills OT 25 3 RFA - Tender
Ty Powell LB 27 3 RFA
Bacarri Rambo SS 25 3 RFA
Cierre Wood RB 25 2 ERFA

The Bills have used the $13.7 million franchise tag to keep their starting left tackle Cordy Glenn for another year but they might have to look for someone else to play next to him as guard Richie Incognito is also heading towards the open market. The veteran is Buffalo's biggest name to enter free agency.

With a little more than $13.5 million in cap space (all numbers via overthecap.com), Buffalo does not project to be as flexible in the upcoming days and could opt to keep the team intact as well as possible instead of going after high-priced free agents. After all, both the offense and the defense have a lot of talent in their ranks and complementary pieces seem to be more important for the team right now.

Miami Dolphins

Player Position Age Exp. Status
Louis Delmas FS 28 6 UFA
James-Michael Johnson LB 26 4 UFA
Rishard Matthews WR 26 4 UFA
Jacques McClendon OG 28 6 UFA
Lamar Miller RB 24 4 UFA
Matt Moore QB 31 8 UFA
Spencer Paysinger LB 27 5 UFA
Derrick Shelby DE 27 4 UFA
Kelvin Sheppard LB 28 5 UFA
Shelley Smith OG 28 4 UFA
Olivier Vernon DE 25 4 UFA - Franchise Tag
Brandon Williams TE 28 3 RFA

After taking care of defensive end Olivier Vernon via the franchise tag, the Dolphins should turn their attention to keep some talented players from leaving, and not only to making trades. After all, while the team will have around $18 million in cap space after the expected release of cornerback Brent Grimes, it also has some key players hitting free agency.

The biggest names on the list are certainly offensive skill position players Rishard Matthews and Lamar Miller, the second and third most productive members of Miami's 2015 offense. The team also has some valuable defenders like starting linebacker Kelvin Sheppard, or role players Louis Delmas and Derrick Shelby on their way to the open market.

New York Jets

Player Position Age Exp. Status
Antonio Allen FS 27 3 UFA
Stephen Bowen DE 31 10 UFA
Randy Bullock K 26 4 UFA
Willie Colon OG 32 9 UFA
Demario Davis LB 27 4 UFA
Kellen Davis TE 30 8 UFA
Leger Douzable DE 29 7 UFA
Ryan Fitzpatrick QB 33 11 UFA
Damon Harrison DT 27 4 UFA
Erin Henderson LB 29 7 UFA
Ben Ijalana OT 26 4 UFA
Chris Ivory RB 27 6 UFA
Jaiquawn Jarrett FS 26 5 UFA
Jamari Lattimore LB 27 5 UFA
Chris Owusu WR 26 4 UFA
Calvin Pace LB 35 13 UFA
Bilal Powell RB 27 5 UFA
Stevan Ridley RB 27 5 UFA
Darrin Walls CB 27 5 UFA
Muhammad Wilkerson DE 26 5 UFA - Franchise Tag
Ryan Quigley P 26 3 RFA
Zach Sudfeld TE 26 3 RFA
Kenbrell Thompkins WR 27 3 RFA

The Jets have already signed their arguably best defensive player, defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, to the franchise tag and now can turn their attention to their 22 other free agents – among them starters in all three phases of the game.

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has had a solid first season in New York and solidified the position for the team, has to be the top priority right now. Considering that three of the team's four pure running backs are also hitting unrestricted free agency, locking up Fitzpatrick has to be on the top of the Jets' front office's list.

Gang Green also has defensive starters Damon Harrison and Calvin Pace, alongside numerous rotational players, hit free agency. With a little over $4 million in cap space available right now, the team will have to find a way to keep at least some of their pieces in place – or else the Jets are in for a bumpy flight next year.