AFC East links: Starks and the franchise tag

Buffalo Bills

Gary Horton and Field Yates break down the Bills and examine what the team needs to accomplish in free agency.

Jerry Sullivan of The Buffalo News offers his thoughts on the future of guard Andy Levitre. "I wouldn’t pay Levitre elite guard money. He’s not worth it. Levitre is a very good player. He hasn’t missed a game in his four-year career, or rarely a play. But he’s not great. He hasn’t made the Pro Bowl. He doesn’t dominate. It’s good to keep the line together. Chemistry is vital for an O-line. But guards are replaceable. Teams reach the Super Bowl all the time with restructured lines. The Ravens did it this year. Games are decided by playmakers; the Bills don’t have enough of them on either side of the line of scrimmage."

Miami Dolphins

Defensive tackle Randy Starks remains the strongest candidate to receive the team's franchise tag, writes Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “I want to be a Dolphin, [and] not just for one more year,” Starks tweeted out on Sunday. “Discount, yeah. Clearance rack, heck no! I want to be here and finish here!”

New England Patriots

It was reportedly on a flight from Boston to Los Angeles where team owner Robert Kraft first mentioned the idea of a contract extension to quarterback Tom Brady. "I was probably wearing my fan hat as much as anything else," Kraft told Peter King of Sports Illustrated. "I just didn't want to ever see this become like Joe Montana leaving San Francisco, Emmitt Smith leaving Dallas, Brett Favre leaving Green Bay, Peyton Manning leaving Indianapolis. If Tom Brady played out this current contract and left us, there was no doubt in my mind that someone out there would pay him top dollar, and they should, for his ability, his leadership and his unselfishness."

The Patriots have yet to decide how -- or if -- they will use the franchise tag.

New York Jets

Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News: "I am talking to an NFL general manager not long ago about the Jets, and the guy starts talking about the Giants, the move Ernie Accorsi made for Eli Manning in the 2004 draft, one of the biggest trades in the history of New York sports teams, one of the best, one of the most important. 'When you wait and wait and finally get your shot at the guy you want, you better be right,' the guy said. 'The Jets made their big move on [Mark] Sanchez and turned out to be wrong.'”

Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com says the Jets remain in contact with free-agent quarterback David Garrard, but a deal is not imminent.