The Jets fired a warning shot at the rest of the AFC East on Sunday night when they swung a trade for Santonio Holmes and let everyone know that there isn't much they won't do to make a return to the top of the division in 2010.
The Dolphins saw their shot and raised them a surgical missile strike Wednesday by trading for Brandon Marshall.
Marshall, like Holmes, had run afoul of his previous employers with continual legal scrapes and constant chirping about how he'd like to be playing somewhere else. Denver gave in to Marshall, to the tune of two second-round draft picks, and pretty much erased all doubt about what's going to be the toughest division in football come September.
The Jets have combined the strategies of the 70's/80's Raiders (character doesn't matter) and the current Yankees (neither does money) to fill out their roster with stars everywhere. They are going for broke this season and will need every one of those stars to find their way past the Dolphins and Patriots once the season gets underway.
The Dolphins desperately needed a big-time offensive playmaker to make Chad Henne a serious threat at quarterback, which in turn would make them a legitimate contender for the Super Bowl. They got one and raised expectations to the roof.
The Patriots haven't brought in any players that excite the masses, choosing instead to keep their own guys from leaving town and concentrating on a draft that has them picking quite often in the first two rounds. That works well when you've got a team as successful as the Pats have been, but the old dog might need to pick up some new tricks to keep pace.
You can be sure that the party line from New England will be that they aren't paying any attention to what the rest of the division is up to and they're just worrying about themselves, but they're noticing what's happened to their calm little division over the last couple of years. It's going to be a war along the Atlantic shore and the Pats can't feel like anything is owed to them any longer.
As for Buffalo, the best thing you can say about the Bills is that they'll get to watch the other teams in the division six times this season. It's going to be a rough year in upstate New York and, for once, we aren't talking about the economy.
Somehow it feels like all of this risk-taking goes back to the Jets' decision to hire Rex Ryan.
What had been a division dominated by Bill Belichick's cerebral, quiet approach is now a group that grabs every headline it can find and then grabs another one by dissing the rest of the division about the first headline.
The best part is that we're just getting warmed up for the AFC East's year to dominate the NFL.