Eye on the Enemy: A look at the NFC East after the Combine

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It was the worst division in football last year. Once the pinnacle of excellence amongst the entire league, the NFC East saw two of its once-proud franchises finish as two of the five worst teams in the NFL. The best team in the division finished at 9-7 and had guys off the street playing in a playoff game.

As the offseason gets fully underway with the franchise/transition tag window coming to the forefront, and Free Agency a mere two weeks away, it’s time to look at what the rest of the NFC East looks like as the league year turns.

New York Giants

Projected Salary Cap Space: $73.9 Million Draft Picks: 9 Projected picks (4th overall pick) Team Needs: All of the Above

Joe Judge is the new Head Coach of the New York Giants. While Eli Manning is no longer the signal-caller for G-Men for the first time since 2003, Daniel Jones now becomes the main man in New York. Jones showed signs of promise last year but it’s very hard to judge a young QB when he is running for his life due to poor o-line play. This team is a mess. They desperately need o-line help and legitimate pass rushers. Lucky for them, they have been tied to one specific pass rusher that could hit the market:

There is an issue with bringing both in as free agents. Clowney only wants to go to a contender, and it’s hard to see Seattle let him walk. Ngakoue would’ve been a great fit but the Jaguars are now expected to franchise tag the young star and trade him. The main question for the Giants- is trading the fourth overall or a high second-round pick enough to get Ngakoue? Or is it even worth try to get him with a linebacker like Isaiah Simmons expected to be available?

Outside of the usual questions of what to do in free agency, it has been a quiet offseason for the Giants. Even the staff Judge has hired looks pretty dec-..

Mother….of….God…..

Washington Redskins

Projected Salary Cap Space: $61 Million Draft picks: Six Projected Picks (2nd Overall) Team Needs: O-Line, Corner, Receiver

Surprisingly enough, the Redskins had a much better start to the offseason than any in recent memory. For starters, President Bruce Allen was shown the door. The guy who was quoted saying the culture was “damn good” after trying to sue a franchise player for having cancer was gone. In came Ron Rivera. Rivera was known for building a solid culture in Carolina with an emphasis on the front seven of the defense. Josh Norman was shown the door further proving the bad contracts of the past would not hinder the new-look Redskins.

Of course, because Dan Snyder is Dan Snyder which means that there had to be some form of controversy.

The Redskins don’t have a second-round pick but do have the 2nd overall pick. Meaning they have a chance to bring in Chase Young into an already loaded defensive line. And yet, because Dan Snyder is Dan Snyder, not even that is a foregone conclusion:

Of course, the question would then turn to what happens to Dwayne Haskins? Haskins did show promise at times last year and with some better o-line play, might be the QB the Redskins need to move back from mediocrity. And yet, because not even Ron Rivera can save part of the mess, reports like these come out.

What organization feels the need to come out with this? How little due diligence did they do with Haskins before the draft? Are they willing to just give up on a player they literally just drafted? If the Redskins are going to be serious with their change to being a relevant franchise again, these reports cannot be coming out.

Dallas Cowboys

Projected Cap Space: $77 Million Draft Picks: Six projected picks (17th Overall) Team Needs: Safety, DLine

The immediate threat to the Eagles divisional title defense, the Cowboys do have many questions with the offseason beginning. Jason Garrett was fired, which then triggered the below response for every Cowboy fan in existence:

Insert Mike McCarthy. The man who lead Green Bay to a title with one of the most talented QB’s in NFL History now is in Blue and White. With his hiring, a far more aggressive and no-nonsense approach has been adopted. The question though, turns to the players. Here’s the list of pending Free Agents that Dallas needs to decide to resign:

  • Dak Prescott
  • Amari Cooper
  • Robert Quinn
  • Randall Cobb
  • Byron Jones

Many amongst the NFL believe that Jones is all but gone to the Free agent market. Dallas would then lose an All-Pro corner with exceptional talent. They would then have to decide on whether they should break the bank on Robert Quinn. If they let both walk, the defense will go from being a top-five defense in the league to a significantly less talented unit.

Then there are the offensive free agents. Randall Cobb has experience with Mike McCarthy but how much are the Cowboys going to give for an older slot receiver? Cooper, on the other hand, is a different situation. The Cowboys could franchise tag him and transition another player. Cooper has maintained that he has a great relationship with the Cowboy executives so it’s hard to see him leave.

Then there’s the big guy.

Dak Prescott and his agent have just started talking to the Cowboys about a contract extension. Reports believe that he could be looking at a short-term deal with more guaranteed money. Regardless, the Cowboy QB is looking for money north of 35 million. Is he worth it? That’s a different story. To pay a QB over 35 million will take away from the contracts of other players. Will the Cowboys be willing to break the bank for the QB who finished 8-8 with an uber-talented roster around him?

The real question comes down to how much blame Jason Garrett will get for the Cowboys under-performing last year. While it’s fair to make him the main scapegoat, the entire roster must be looked at as to why the team finished 8-8. They need some help along the d-line and secondary, but the real question of the off-season will be how the team handles the contract of it’s star players.

The Philadelphia Eagles have their own problems and questions heading into the off-season. While they are always the central thought amongst the minds of Eagle fans, it’s just as important to know where the rest of the division stands as we enter the new league year.

Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

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