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Quarterback chaos in the AFC East?

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NFL: DEC 31 Bills at Dolphins Photo by Richard C. Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The AFC East could be a fun division to watch this offseason, with lots of changes coming among all four teams - despite the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills both making the playoffs and the Miami Dolphins being just a year removed - and an injury to their starting quarterback - from their own playoff appearance.

And the New York Jets are in the division too.

Earlier this week, the Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero tweeted that this could be a year in which all four teams in the division are looking for a quarterback.

Now, to be fair, Salguero did not say the teams will be looking for a “starting” quarterback - just “a” quarterback. His tweet did make me want to look at the status of the quarterbacks in the AFC East, and how there is a “maybe all four” situation.

Here are the quarterbacks on the roster and scheduled free agents for each team (not including “reserve/futures” signed players like Brandon Doughty for the Dolphins).

Buffalo Bills

Tyrod Taylor

Nathan Peterman

FA: Joe Webb

Miami Dolphins

Ryan Tannehill

FA: Jay Cutler, David Fales (RFA)

New England Patriots

Tom Brady

Brian Hoyer

New York Jets

Christian Hackenberg

Bryce Petty

FA: Josh McCown

The Bills will be interesting, simply because they may be looking to change the quarterback who helped them get to the postseason for the first time since 1999. The coaches benched Taylor in the middle of the season, starting Peterman, only to reverse that decision at halftime of that game following Peterman’s fifth interception of the half. Taylor sustained a concussion in the fourth quarter of the team’s loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars this past weekend, with Peterman entering the game and going 1-for-3 for 14 yards with - of course - an interception. A lot of predictions have either Peterman assuming the starting role for Buffalo in 2018, or possibly Alex Smith if the Kansas City Cheifs look to move to Patrick Mahomes next year.

A move away from Taylor would guarantee the Bills would be looking for a quarterback, either as a starter (Smith) or a backup to Peterman.

The Dolphins will head into 2018 with Tannehill as their starter, resuming the role he had in 2016 and should have had in 2017 if not for a knee injury. Cutler seems to be set to return to retirement, unless some other team comes in with a starting job proposition for him, and Fales could be re-signed as a potential backup, but it appears the Dolphins should be in a position to draft a young quarterback to develop behind Tannehill.

The Patriots will obviously (unless the ESPN story about dysfunction starting to creep into the relationship between owner Bob Kraft, coach Bill Belichick, and Brady is true and somehow destroys it all this offseason) have Brady under center next year, but the backup position is probably open to a new draft pick. Brady is getting older, and the team needs to find his replacement - something that seemed to have in Jimmy Garoppolo before they traded him - for whenever he retires. Hoyer is under contract through the 2019 season, and he would cost $595,000 more to cut than he would to keep (cap number of $915,000), so it is not a guaranteed move that they release him, but he does not seem to be their future either.

The Jets have to find a quarterback. McCown landed on injured reserve to end the season, and the 38-year-old is not the future of the position for the club. Petty, a fourth-round pick in 2015, has a career stat line of 130-for-245 (53.1 percent) for 1,353 yards with four touchdowns and ten interceptions, giving him a 57.7 passer rating in ten games played. The Jets’ second-round pick in 2016, Christian Hackenberg, does not appear to ever be destined to play for the team. The Jets could decide to bring back McCown for 2018, but they should be looking for another quarterback as they decide that Petty and/or Hackenberg is not in their plans beyond this past season.

That means, the Bills will likely be looking for a quarterback, the Dolphins should be looking for a quarterback, the Patriots should be looking for a quarterback, and the Jets should be looking for a quarterback. Basically, this offseason could see quarterback chaos in the AFC East, even if it is not necessarily “starting” quarterback chaos...yet.