The AFC East: Financially

The AFC East: Financially
NFL Contracts :: The AFC East

The AFC East : Financially

Digging deep into the finances of these franchises.

Our Premium team breaks down the AFC East financially by position, providing notable insight where necessary. Drop us your thoughts and predictions below.
Player Team Age 2012 Cap Value
Mark Sanchez NYJ 25 $7,853,125
Tom Brady NE 35 $7,775,000
Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF 29 $6,000,000
Rayn Tannehill MIA 24 $2,302,500
As if having Tim Tebow in your shadow, and a newly signed $50+M extension in your back pocket wasn't enough pressure, how about also being the highest paid quarterback in your division for 2012? Sanchez has a lot to live up to in a very short time, as does Fitzpatrick in Buffalo, who's extension last season has raised eyebrows.
Running Backs
Player Team Age 2012 Cap Value
Reggie Bush MIA 27 $6,025,000
Fred Jackson BUF 31 $3,680,000
Shonn Greene NYJ 27 $841,250
Stevan Ridley NE 23 $671,250
Reggie Bush's 2012 cap hit reflects the weight on his shoulders as the lone recognizable offensive threat for the Dolphins. Fred Jackson was having an MVP season in Buffalo before injuries set in, and tandeming with a much improved C.J. Spiller should give the Bills the most productive running game in the division. The Patriots have for years neglecting the running game both statistically and finanically, and that appears to be suiting them just fine.
Wide Receivers
Player Team Age 2012 Cap Value
Wes Welker NE 31 $9,515,000
Santonio Holmes NYJ 28 $9,250,000
Steve Johnson BUF 26 $4,300,000
Davone Bess MIA 26 $3,033,000
This list is loaded with controversies and contigencies. Welker will be biting his tongue as he plays out 2012 with an insulting franchise tag on his forehead. Santonio Holmes was nearly suspended from middle school last season for shoving too many teammates into their lockers in between classes. Stevie Johnson has shown costly immaturity on the field and appears to still be less than 100% from an offseason groin injury.
Tight Ends
Player Team Age 2012 Cap Value
Anthony Fasano MIA 28 $4,375,000
Dustin Keller NYJ 27 $3,989,375
Aaron Hernandez NE 22 $3,290,000
Scott Chandler BUF 27 $2,475,000
Tight Ends have become all the rage in recent AFC East offenses. Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski have changed the culture of the position in New England, while Scott Chandler became the go-to red-zone weapon for the Bills in 2011. Experts say Fasano might become the top target for rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill in 2012, and Keller and Sanchez should look to regain their rythm.
Left Tackles
Player Team Age 2012 Cap Value
Jake Long MIA 27 $12,800,000
D'Brickashaw Ferguson NYJ 28 $4,451,667
Nate Solder NE 24 $1,793,817
Cordy Glenn BUF 22 $890,000
As you'll see below the Dolphins have invested more money into their Left Tackle position than the rest of this offense combined. It's a cliche'd move, and a risky one at that. The Bills and Patriots are going young with their O-Line this year. But both have quick-releasing, intelligent quarterbacks to counter that.
Left Guards
Player Team Age 2012 Cap Value
Logan Mankins NE 30 $7,000,000
Richie Incognito MIA 29 $4,883,333
Matt Slauson NYJ 26 $1,075,050
Andy Levitre BUF 26 $965,000
With the exception of Mankins, the guards in the AFC east are "maybes" at best.
Player Team Age 2012 Cap Value
Nick Mangold NYJ 28 $5,265,900
Mike Pouncey MIA 23 $2,104,476
Eric Wood BUF 26 $1,873,750
Ryan Wendell NE 26 $1,000,000
Wendell draws the only question mark here, as he's been a career backup at the center position and will be required to pick up a fast, complicated offense under Brady. The rest of the centers in this division are true franchise pros.
Right Guards
Player Team Age 2012 Cap Value
Brandon Moore NYJ 32 $4,460,417
Kraig Urbik BUF 26 $1,260,000
Dan Connolly NE 30 $2,333,333
John Jerry MIA 26 $754,625
Right Tackles
Player Team Age 2012 Cap Value
Erik Pears BUF 30 $2,500,000
Sebastian Vollmer NE 28 $980,000
Jonathan Martin MIA 23 $869,867
Austin Howard NYJ 25 $540,000
The right side of the line is fairly inexpensive across the board here. Howard has been at the heels of this starting role for a year now and will be a key player in the success of the Jets offense.
Defensive Ends
Player Team Age 2012 Cap Value
Mario Williams BUF 27 $9,800,000
Mark Anderson BUF 29 $3,500,000
Mike DeVito NYJ 28 $2,500,000
Rob Ninkovich NE 28 $2,000,000
Jared Odrick MIA 24 $1,807,922
Muhammed Wilkerson NYJ 22 $1,562,500
Chandler Jones NE 22 $1,485,750
Olivier Vernon MIA 21 $549,520
No team made more of a splash in free agency this offseason than the Buffalo Bills. Their two new Defenesive Ends come with sparkling resumes and surround two pro-bowl caliber tackles in Dareus and Williams.

The Bills effort to stack their line is a contrary to the other defenses in this division, who have spent their resources to stock up their linebacking core, while going somewhat financially thin at their lines.
Defensive Tackles
Player Team Age 2012 Cap Value
Vince Wilfork NE 30 $8,600,000
Kyle Williams BUF 29 $5,950,000
Randy Starks MIA 28 $5,000,000
Marcel Dareus BUF 22 $4,638,023
Paul Soliai MIA 28 $4,375,000
Kyle Love NE 25 $790,000
Sione Pouha NYJ 33 $2,166,667
The aforementoned combination of Marcel Dareus and Kyle Williams should be the best in the division, maybe the conference. The Patriots rely on big Vince Wilfork to plug up the entire center of their line, allowing their quick linebackers to make plays.
Player Team Age 2012 Cap Value
David Harris NYJ 28 $12,000,000
Karlos Dansby MIA 30 $10,725,000
Calvin Pace NYJ 31 $7,348,333
Jerod Mayo NE 26 $7,150,000
Bart Scott NYJ 32 $5,950,000
Kevin Burnett MIA 29 $5,300,000
Nick Barnett BUF 31 $4,000,000
Dont'a Hightower NE 22 $1,404,364
Koa Misi MIA 25 $1,043,000
Brandon Spikes NE 25 $788,120
Kelvin Sheppard BUF 24 $682,708
Bryan Thomas NYJ 33 $605,000
Arthur Moats BUF 24 $518,000
The Patriots have spent two draft classes shoring up the future of their middle defense, bringing in Brandon Spikes and now Dont'a Hightower to fill big shoes. If the youth can hold up the Patriots should continue to play well against the run. The Jets will send their usual core of high-priced linebackers to battle and barring injuries should be responsible for the best defense in football.
Player Team Age 2012 Cap Value
Darrelle Revis NYJ 27 $11,433,416
Antonio Cromartie NYJ 28 $8,250,000
Kyle Arrington NE 26 $3,050,000
Richard Marshall MIA 27 $2,500,000
Stephon Gilmore BUF 21 $2,197,120
Devin McCourty NE 25 $1,735,000
Aaron Williams BUF 22 $1,195,081
Sean Smith MIA 25 $801,250
You can't have the best defense in football without speedy, big, shutdown corners, and it's no secret the Jets have paid to obtain just that. The Dolphins secondary was surprisingly solid last year, and should continue to improve with consistent play. The Bills are both aging/hurt (Terrance McGee) and young and ripe (Williams, Gilmore) at the same time. For the third straight year the Patriots secondary is a gigantic question mark. At times in 2011 teams were able to throw all over the New England defense. Just how long this franchise can rely on paying more to score points than they pay to stop points will be interesting to see.
Player Team Age 2012 Cap Value
George Wilson BUF 31 $3,541,666
Laron Landry NE 27 $3,500,000
Steve Gregory NE 29 $1,683,333
Yeremiah Bell NE 34 $1,400,000
Chris Clemons MIA 26 $1,348,625
Patrick Chung NE 25 $1,165,000
Jarius Byrd BUF 25 $1,070,000
Reshad Jones MIA 24 $580,075
The safeties in this division are average across the board. Byrd took 2 steps back in Buffalo last season. Laron Landry has an opportunity to excel in New York between two pro-bowl cornerbacks.
Player Team Age 2012 Cap Value
Stephen Gostkowski NE 28 $3,000,000
Dan Carpenter MIA 26 $2,862,500
Rian Lindell BUF 35 $1,900,000
Nick Folk NYJ 27 $605,000
Lindell is coming off a late season injury in Buffalo, but all four of these kickers are solid options.
Player Team Age 2012 Cap Value
Brandon Fields MIA 28 $1,728,000
Brian Moorman BUF 36 $1,675,000
Zoltan Mesko NE 26 $594,932
Robert Malone NYJ 24 $465,000
Moorman is an annual pro-bowl punter in Buffalo, but the rest of the division appears to be going young.