Silverman: Giants, NFC East Still Just Getting Started In Free-Agency Wars
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By Steve Silverman
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The Giants have not started free agency with a rush.
However, the Giants have a lot of work to do and they must get wide receiver Victor Cruz’s name on a contract. Cruz, a restricted free agent, has played the role of good soldier throughout his run with the Giants.
Privately he has to be worried, because general manager Jerry Reese seems to enjoy squeezing his players and making them play for as little as possible.
The wide receiver market is still in flux. Green Bay free-agent wide receiver Greg Jennings is still available. He’s talking to the Vikings, and if he signs, that will help solidify Cruz’s market value.
While the Giants are just at the beginning of their offseason, they have to keep tabs on the rest of the NFC East.
What the competition does will determine head coach Tom Coughlin’s ability to maneuver his team back to the top of the division once the season kicks off.
Dallas Cowboys – The Cowboys have done very little since the start of free agency. They have franchised outstanding linebacker Anthony Spencer and have managed to get center Phil Costa’s name on a new contract as well.
However, Jerry Jones has not brought in any big names yet. That doesn’t mean he isn’t going to get started shortly. He has an interest in middle linebacker Brian Urlacher of the Chicago Bears, but the former All-Pro is just a shell of what he was. He has lost most of his foot speed and can no longer move laterally to make plays.
When you are a middle linebacker in the NFL, that’s a big problem if you want to stay employed.
Cutting defensive end Marcus Spears will buy the Cowboys $2 million in cap room. Restructuring quarterback Tony Romo’s contract will give them the opportunity to make additional moves.
Philadelphia Eagles – After cutting Nnamdi Asomugha, the Eagles were saying they mean business, and it’s out with all the old, underperforming players from the Andy Reid regime. Jenkins (signed by the Giants) and Mike Patterson have also been cut.
New head coach Chip Kelly is attempting to get back on track defensively by bringing in hard-nosed defensive players who will punish opponents on every snap.
Defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga was an underrated member of the 49ers’ defense, while safety Patrick Chung was one of the few hitters that Bill Belichick could count on in the New England secondary the past two seasons. Both players should help the Eagles become a much more intimidating and effective defense.
The Eagles have also added free-agents Bradley Fletcher (from the Rams), fullback James Casey (from the Texans) and linebacker Jason Phillips (from the Panthers).
Fletcher could have the biggest impact of those three because he is solid as a nickel back, and that was a major weakness for the Birds last season.
The Eagles are switching from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 this season.
Washington Redskins – The Redskins know that their future is all about Robert Griffin III, and until he recovers from knee surgery and returns to the form that he displayed through the majority of his rookie season, the team is going to struggle to find ways to win.
But the Redskins have added right tackle Tony Pashos, who was last with the Browns but didn’t play last year because of a foot injury. They also brought in Jeremy Trueblood from the Bucs to compete at the right tackle position.
Overall, the Redskins got productive play from their offensive line, and that is one of the team’s assets. But the play of right tackle Tyler Polumbus was ordinary at best.
Pashos and Trueblood should battle for the starting right tackle position this summer.
Which NFC East team has had the best offseason thus far? Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…