AFC East's top free agents: Nos. 7-9

January, 8, 2013
1/08/13
2:30
PM ET
The AFC East blog continues its list of the top dozen free agents in the division.

Here are Nos. 7-9:

No. 9: Brian Hartline, WR, Dolphins

2012 stats: 74 receptions, 1,083 yards, one TD

Analysis: Hartline is coming off a career year, but he's not a true No. 1 receiver. He makes this list because this is a huge position of need for Miami. The Dolphins desperately need to add talent at receiver, and potentially losing Hartline would provide one more hole at this position. Miami is expected to go after a true No. 1 receiver in free agency. That would put Hartline back to his natural role as a No. 2 option if Miami re-signs him. The Dolphins will make Hartline a priority, because they need all the talented skill players they can get around rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

No. 8: Sebastian Vollmer, RT, New England Patriots

2012 stats: 15 starts

Analysis: Vollmer will be an interesting case for the Patriots. He is a solid right tackle who is tough as nails. But it seems Vollmer is always injured. Vollmer missed a lot of practice time this year but played through a back injury most of this season. It is difficult to re-sign a player with a lengthy injury history to a long-term extension. However, the Patriots know how valuable Vollmer is protecting the front side of quarterback Tom Brady. Maybe both sides can reach a middle ground.

No. 7: Reggie Bush, RB, Dolphins

2012 stats: 227 carries, 986 yards, six TDs

Analysis: Bush proved that he can be an every-down tailback in Miami. He rushed for 2,072 yards in two seasons with the Dolphins. Miami would like Bush to return but has some flexibility not to overpay for his services. The Dolphins are deep at tailback, which includes young running backs Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas. If Bush wants too much money, the Dolphins may opt to promote their younger rushers and spent their free-agent money on thinner positions like receiver and cornerback.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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