Chat with James Walker
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN.com AFC East blogger James Walker will stop by to chat about the NFL and what to expect from your team.
Walker joined ESPN.com in 2008 after three seasons covering the Cleveland Browns for the Columbus Dispatch.
Send your questions now and join Walker Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET!
James Walker (4:00 PM)
Let's talk about the AFC East.
Ermin Rizzy (Kansas City, MO)
Who do you believe should be drafted first, Andrew Luck, or RG3?
James Walker (4:01 PM)
Luck, no question. I think he's more skilled as a passer. RG III may be a better pure athlete, but Luck is not shabby there either. Luck is one of the surest QB prospects I've seen in years. There aren't many holes in his game.
kansas city,mo [via mobile]
i am a true patriots fan since drew bledsoe and curtis martin time there. do u think we can win out with the poor defense. the playoffs are a different monster. kc curt
James Walker (4:03 PM)
That's the big question. It really comes down to the matchup. Can the Patriots win out if they play Denver and Houston? Sure. But what about Pittsburgh and Baltimore? That's a much tougher scenario. New England just needs to focus on one game at a time.
Any chance Jeff Fisher takes the Miami job? Is Dave Toub a serious candidate there?
James Walker (4:05 PM)
It won't happen today, Nathan. Fisher is going to examine his other options (St. Louis) and see what's best. But Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has deep pockets, so there's always a chance. The reason I think Miami won't land Jeff Fisher is because he has no say in the GM.
James Walker (4:06 PM)
If Fisher gets over that part, Miami's opening looks a lot better.
Dr. H. Doofenshmirtz (Tri-State Area)
What the heck are the Jets going to do about Santonio Holmes? What sort of cap hit do they take if they release him?
James Walker (4:07 PM)
Holmes has too much gauranteed money in his contract to release him. He just signed it last year. The Jets need to work with Holmes, because they can't cut him and get nothing for it.
Sorry for the long question but, as a Dolphins fan, I would like to know more about Matt Flynn's situation. I know he is going to be a UFA so how can Green Bay sign/trade him? GB loses leverage with the big cap hit and because Flynn can dictate where he is traded, right?
James Walker (4:11 PM)
Flynn is an unrestricted free agent. He's free to sign with any team. All Green Bay can do to prevent that is to franchise Flynn, which would be a strange move with a backup quarterback. I doubt that will happen. Flynn will play for someone else next year.
Greg (North jersey)
Happy new year, James! What position do the Jets need to address most urgently (first round of the draft/top free agents)? Right tackle? Outside linebacker? Safety? Wide reciever?
James Walker (4:12 PM)
I think the Jets will take the best right tackle or safety available. The difference this year is things go back to normal. So free agency will be first. The Jets could address both issues in March and target something else in the draft.
matt (glens falls)
who will the Bills keep?D Bell,Rosco Parrish Fred Jackson, Stevie J
James Walker (4:15 PM)
Of this group, Fred Jackson is the safest bet. He's still under contract for 2012, although Jackson wants a raise. I'm not sure the other three return. Maybe Steve Johnson if it's at a reasonable price. But his antics on Sunday and throughout the season certainly doesn't help.
Can we now compare Sanchez and Henne again? Like, both should be unemployed?
James Walker (4:16 PM)
Nope. We're done with comparing the "other" quarterbacks in the AFC East behind Tom Brady. We did a season-long study and determined Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore is the second-best QB in the division behind Brady.
How many more days until the Jets start to clean house and get their act together for next year.
James Walker (4:18 PM)
Actually, the Jets are keeping the major figures: Brian Schottenheimer, Santonio Holmes and Mark Sanchez. They will make a few tweaks on the coaching staff and additions to the roster in free agency. So I'm curious to see how things end up.
Is Brian Schottenheimer going to be the scapegoat for the Jets?
James Walker (4:19 PM)
Nope. The Jets said Monday that Brian Schottenheimer will remain with the team. The only exception would be if "Schotty" gets a job as a head coach.
James Walker (4:19 PM)
By the way, I found it interesting how Schottenheimer is a candidate for head-coaching jobs and on the hot seat for his OC job all at the same time.
Do you think the bills resign stevie?
James Walker (4:22 PM)
I think it's 50-50 right now. The Bills will try but only at their price. I don't think they will stretch beyond what they're comfortable with. If Johnson accepts that offer, he will stay. If he thinks he can get better, which me might, then he will walk.
David (Ft. Lauderdale)
How "attractive" do you think the Miami Head Coaching job is? Is it enough to land a Jeff Fisher?
James Walker (4:26 PM)
Personally, I think it's a good job. The Dolphins have talent and they're probably just a good coach and good quarterback away from contending. But for most head coaches, particularly top ones, ego and power comes into play. And there's not much power available in Miami. Jeff Ireland has the power and will report directly to Stephen Ross. You saw how that worked out behind the scenes for Tony Sparano. If you're a top coach, you may not want to deal with that if you can call the shots and bring in you're own people elsewhere. Control is big for top head coaches.
Big E/ KCMO [via mobile]
Could Manning be a viable option for Jets if Irsay decides to move the Colts in a rebuilding mode?
James Walker (4:29 PM)
Let's stop the Peyton Manning train to New York right now. It's not happening, Jets fans. It was nice and exciting to speculate about it for a week or two. But let it go. Mark Sanchez will be New York's QB for at least another year.
David (Ithaca, Ny)
Hey James - Who do you believe is the dolphins best chance at QB next season...RG3...Luck....or Flynn....???
James Walker (4:30 PM)
The best chance right now would be Flynn, because that doesn't involve another team. If the Dolphins offer the most money and entice him to come to Miami as an unrestricted free agent, he's theirs. Getting Luck or RG III would require a lot of help from another team willing to trade down.
Harry (Babylon, NY)
Once the pain, anger and frustration from this Jet season starts to lessen will the perspective on Mark Sanchez's abilities be viewed a little more objectively?
James Walker (4:34 PM)
It depends on who is making the evaluation. I have no horse in this race so I'm just calling it like I see it. Three years is enough time to give a fair evaluation, and to me Sanchez has not proven to be a franchise quarterback. Next year will be big for him. Maybe he will make huge strides in Year 4. But I'm not sure how high his ceiling really is. He probably would have shown it at this point.
James Walker (4:37 PM)
By the way, teams don't have five years to wait anymore. That's how coaches get fired. People will point out the Alex Smith example, but two head coaches (Mike Nolan and Mike Singletary) lost their jobs before Smith finally came through. The Jets can't afford to lose for two or three more years waiting for a quarterback to improve.
James- As a Patriots fan I'm more worried about Miami than the Jets in the near future. I feel like they're 1 good QB away from being a top level team. I look at them and compare to the Jets and I see a better Miami team top to bottom than I do Jets.Am I crazy to think this?
James Walker (4:40 PM)
Not at all, John. Miami could be a dangerous team to watch in 2012. But the Dolphins can't botch this coaching and quarterback search. That is the key. If Miami ends up with a poor choice at either of these two important positions, the Dolphins won't be able to compete with Brady and Belichick. Those two kept New England on top of the division for so long.
Harry (Babylon, NY)
With the game on the line is Gostkowski the most reliable kicker in this year's playoffs?
James Walker (4:41 PM)
Hmm, I'm not sure about that. There are other good kickers out there. But the Patriots should be comfortable with their kicker in a big spot.
Buying Rex's answer that he didn't realize Holmes had been benched?
James Walker (4:43 PM)
Rex is a honest guy. People have said this and that about him, but no one ever claimed Rex was a liar. I believe his explaination. He doesn't run the offense. But it is his job to be more on top of things.
James, Why give Fred Jackson a new contract? He has 1 year left on his deal and C.J. Spiller stepped up and played well towards the end of the year. By the end of next year he could be ready to handle the load on his own. Even if Fred held out, I think C.J. could handle it next year, so where is the incentive for the Bills to give him a new deal? Wouldn't they be better off spending that money on Stevie and Defense in free agency?
James Walker (4:47 PM)
When I say/write about Fred Jackson getting a new contract, it's because the Bills promised Jackson that he would be "taken care of." I'm only taking the Bills at their word. If the Bills back out I think that would be pretty messed up on their part. But it's a harsh business and anything is possible. They would certainly have their reasons as you mentioned with Spiller and Jackson's season-ending injury. But what was said was said, and that's what I'm going by.
James (FT LAUD)
Can J.T. make it into the Hall one day?
James Walker (4:49 PM)
Yes, Jason Taylor should get in. It won't be on the first ballot. But I think he gets in eventually.
Chris (Baltimore, MD)
I know this is AFC East but, I remember in the preseason you said that the Baltimore Ravens would win and no one believed you. What do you have to say now to all the non believers?
James Walker (4:51 PM)
I have gotten a lot of emails from AFC North readers about it this week. But I'm not going to pound my chest. I knew it would happen and I'm not surprised by it at all. That's why I wrote it. People thought I was just writing it to rile people up, but I was around the division and the teams enough to call that one.
Everyone in Boston will be praying for a Bengals win on Saturday, correct?
James Walker (4:55 PM)
I won't speak for Patriots fans. But if they're smart, they would much rather see the Bengals at Gillette Stadium two weeks than the Steelers. I would be surprised if Tim Tebow beats Pittsburgh this weekend. Plus, New England would greatly benefit by the Bengals winning, because the Steelers and Ravens would eliminate each other. The Patriots would only have to face one of those tough teams in the AFC title game, not both in back-to-back weeks.
James, Any chance the Polians come back to Buffalo?
James Walker (4:57 PM)
Nope. I don't see it. Buffalo's front office is safe this year.
Harry (Babylon, NY)
Will playing for Coach Ryan still have the same appeal for potential free agents after what happened this year?
James Walker (4:59 PM)
Players still like playing for Rex Ryan. Nothing has changed in that respect. The issue is on the players to be more professional about things. I think Rex may have trusted his guys a little too much this year. He's a player's coach and the team had a ton of playoff success back-to-back years. So Ryan thought players would do their jobs. He may have to adjust that next season.
James Walker (5:00 PM)
Everyone, thanks again for your time. I will be back here at the same time next week.