New Signings Impact NFL Odds: AFC East Catching Handicapper's Attention

Matthew Jordan

Monday, March 9, 2015 6:06 PM UTC

Monday, Mar. 9, 2015 6:06 PM UTC

Tuesday in the NFL, free agents can sign with teams. This NFL handicapper knows pretty much where every big name is headed & it's clear that the AFC East is doing its best to dethrone New England in the division.

New England Patriots
Tom Brady became the full-time starter in New England in 2001 and it's obviously not a coincidence that the Patriots have won the division every year since then but twice (2002, '08). Of course the Pats won their sixth straight division crown in 2014 on the way to the Super Bowl title. Obviously any team would be thrilled to win a Super Bowl, but with it comes big raises for key players. That's why it's so hard to repeat these days. The Patriots have already had to say goodbye to bedrock defensive lineman Vince Wilfork and might have to bid aloha to star cornerback Darrelle Revis as well. I doubt the team can afford to keep Revis now that it re-signed safety Devin McCourty to a five-year, $47.5 million extension to keep him off the market. McCourty's $9.5 million-per-year average ranks him as the second-highest-paid safety in the NFL. There's no doubt the Pats want to keep Revis, but there's only so much you can pay two guys in the same secondary and Revis will command much more than McCourty got. Revis has a team option on his contract for 2015, but it's at $20 million and that's not happening. So keep an eye on that, especially when planning Futures NFL Picks. I would argue Revis was the third-most important player on the team last year behind Brady and Rob Gronkowski.

Current Super Bowl odds: +650 favorites


Miami Dolphins
The Fins landed the biggest fish, pun intended, on the free-agent market in former Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who will become the highest-paid defensive player in football (six years, $114 million, $60 million guaranteed). Some say Suh was the best free agent on that side of the ball since Reggie White signed with Green Bay in 1993, and we all know what kind of difference White made there. The Lions wanted him back but couldn't franchise Suh because that would have cost nearly $27 million against the salary cap. When I wrote last week about where Suh might land, I considered Oakland the favorite. The Raiders did target him but lost out, perhaps partly due to California's high income tax rate. Oakland would have had to give Suh $70.1 million guaranteed to match the $60 million he got from Miami -- Florida has no state income tax. Suh, a three-time first-team All-Pro, is set to become the fifth non-quarterback to receive a contract of at least $100 million. He joins Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Albert Haynesworth (oops!), and J.J. Watt, who had been the league's highest-paid defender. Miami's defense was 12th overall last year and I expect a Top-10 unit now with perhaps the NFL's best front four (end Cameron Wake is stellar).

Current Super Bowl odds: +4000


Buffalo Bills
The Bills have the longest playoff drought in the NFL, and I'm not ready to say that will end because I still have major questions about the quarterback position, which is sort of important in the NFL. The team has brought in free-agent Matt Cassel to compete with former first-round E.J. Manuel there. Buffalo doesn't have a first-round pick in the draft thanks to the Sammy Watkins deal with Cleveland last draft day. Buffalo was able to keep defensive end Jerry Hughes off the market by giving him a $45 million extension. Hughes, 26, has 20 sacks since the start of 2013 season, tied for ninth in the NFL over that span. Buffalo also made a pretty stunning trade, dealing young linebacker Kiko Alonso to Philadelphia for Pro Bowl running back LeSean McCoy, then re-working McCoy's deal to appease him. Alonso was a terror as a rookie in 2013 but missed all of last year and Buffalo's defense was still one of the NFL's best. It could be even better in 2015 under new head coach Rex Ryan. Adding McCoy means that former running back C.J. Spiller won't be back. Spiller was a talent but couldn't stay healthy.

Current Super Bowl odds: +4800


New York Jets
New York probably has done the least thus far. The Jets were hoping to land free-agent QB Brian Hoyer, but he apparently has chosen Houston. Now you hear maybe Ryan Fitzpatrick will be signed to compete with Geno Smith. Yikes! New York may take a QB with the No. 6 overall pick. The team would be interested in bringing back Revis, but we will have to wait and see there. New York did re-sign linebacker David Harris. He has led the team in tackles in seven of his eight seasons and played 99.4 percent of the defensive snaps a year ago. He was the Jets' No. 1 priority in terms of re-signing. I do think the Jets got good value in trading just a fifth-round pick to Chicago for receiver Brandon Marshall. He'll probably be good for a year or two before wearing out his welcome there just as he did in Denver, Miami and Chicago. That means the Jets will let Percy Harvin walk.

Current Super Bowl odds: +10000

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