AFC East Notes: Dolphins’ D, McCourty, Idzik

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, noting that the Dolphins defense is not the consistently stout force that defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle claims, took a look at the immediate future of each position in Coyle’s unit this morning. For instance, Jackson writes that defensive tackle Randy Starks is unlikely to return on his current contract, which creates a $6MM cap hit if Starks is on the team, and a $1MM hit if he is not.

Jackson adds that is is “highly questionable” if Miami will pay Jared Odrick what he could make on the open market, and the departures of both Odrick and Starks would force the team to go shopping for a run-stuffer like Dan Williams or Terrance Knighton in free agency. While the defensive end position is more or less set for 2015, Jackson notes that linebacker Dannell Ellerbe will either need to accept a pay cut or be released, and he points out that there is a strong class of free agent corners for the team to pursue as it seeks a reliable starter opposite Brent Grimes.

Now for a few more notes from the AFC East:

  • Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald tweets that there is “nothing happening” on an extension between the Patriots and Devin McCourty, and that New England is expected to use the franchise tag as major leverage.
  • Mike Reiss of writes that one reason the Patriots might have agreed to a recent extension with Marcus Cannon is that it helps to thaw the team’s relationship with Cannon’s agent, David Dunn, a relationship that soured during the Wes Welker negotiations several seasons ago. Dunn, one of the game’s most successful agents, also represents Nate Solder, who will be a free agent in 2016, and Shane Vereen, who hits free agency after this season.
  • Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that Jets GM John Idzik has been involved in the early stages of the team’s head coaching search, and La Canfora wonders if that might be a sign that Idzik’s job is safe. Although owner Woody Johnson could still parts ways with Idzik, particularly if the team lands a big-ticket head coach who wants a different general manager, Idzik’s early involvement and his ties to potential head coaching candidates are positive signs for him.
  • Rich Cimini of takes a look at the Jets’ bad fortune in recent years, noting that the team’s worst seasons tend to coincide with fairly weak drafts or drafts with no elite quarterback prospects.
  • In the same piece, Cimini writes that nose tackle Damon Harrison, who has been one of the few bright spots for the Jets this season, is likely to receive the max tender (which is expected to be higher than 2014’s $3.1MM figure) as he hits restricted free agency.
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