Welcome to Eight in the Box, an NFL Nation feature that will appear each Friday during the offseason. This week's topic: How each AFC East team needs to address the quarterback position.
Buffalo Bills: The Bills are one of several teams still looking for a starting quarterback in a thin market. Ryan Fitzpatrick signed a $59 million extension in 2011 but proved he's not the long-term solution. The Bills also re-signed backup quarterback Tarvaris Jackson to a one-year contract and will hold an open competition. Buffalo has two things to address. First, the Bills must decide if Fitzpatrick is worth his $3 million roster bonus and $4.45 million salary in 2013. There is a strong chance Buffalo will cut Fitzpatrick and take the cap hit or ask him to restructure to stay on the team. Second, the Bills need to find the right quarterback in the first two rounds of the draft for their long-term future. The Bills have shown interest in Geno Smith of West Virginia, Mike Glennon of N.C. State and Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib. All are good possibilities to throw in Buffalo's quarterback mix.
Miami Dolphins: For the first time in a long time, Miami does not have questions about its starting quarterback. It appears the Dolphins made the right choice with 2012 first-round pick Ryan Tannehill. He had a solid rookie year and led Miami to seven victories. Tannehill can make all the throws and should only improve once the Dolphins put better talent around him. Miami has some questions at backup. Veteran Matt Moore is an unrestricted free agent and looking for an opportunity to compete for a starting job. Moore is 13-12 as a starter during stops in Carolina and Miami. Considering the thin quarterback market, Moore should get plenty of interest and probably won't re-sign with the Dolphins. Miami also is high on young backup Pat Devlin. The Dolphins liked Devlin as their No. 3 quarterback, but Miami may not be ready to put him in a bigger role directly behind Tannehill. The Dolphins could use a cheap veteran backup to add to their two young quarterbacks.
New England Patriots: The reigning AFC East champions are set at quarterback for the foreseeable future. Future Hall of Famer and three-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady just signed a three-year extension this week. Health permitting, Brady will be under center in New England through the 2017 season. New England also has spent the past two years developing strong-armed quarterback Ryan Mallett behind Brady. The Patriots are fine with this pair going into the season. It's possible that other teams may show interest in Mallett this offseason. But the Patriots won’t consider trading their backup unless another team really blows their doors off with an offer.
New York Jets: The Jets have a huge mess at quarterback. Incumbent starter Mark Sanchez has failed miserably the past two seasons. But the Jets are stuck with Sanchez and his guaranteed $8.25 million salary. Popular backup Tim Tebow either will be traded or released soon, and third-stringer Greg McElroy is a free agent. The Jets need an entire quarterback makeover under first-year general manager John Idzik. Sanchez will be on the roster due to his guaranteed salary. However, the likely exits of Tebow and McElroy open two spots on the roster. The Jets have a tight salary cap and need to find cost-effective options. Cheap options like Matt Cassel or Brady Quinn are possibilities. The Jets also reportedly worked out 35-year-old quarterback David Garrard recently. The Jets are looking everywhere to find competition for Sanchez. New York must also draft a developmental quarterback for the future.