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.
|Cordy Glenn||OT||26||4||UFA - Franchise Tag|
|Corbin Bryant||DT||28||5||RFA - Tender|
|Chris Hogan||WR||27||4||RFA - Tender|
|Jordan Mills||OT||25||3||RFA - Tender|
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.
|Olivier Vernon||DE||25||4||UFA - Franchise Tag|
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
|Muhammad Wilkerson||DE||26||5||UFA - Franchise Tag|
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.