The NFC East Offseason Is Primed To Be A Busy One
In most NFL divisions, it is usually relatively easy to guess which team will win the division title. However, with the NFC East, it’s always a toss-up. In the past 15 seasons, the division has seen the winning team go from “worst to first,” 14 out of 15 previous seasons. In other words, the team coming in the last place the anterior season the division title the following season. Expect the NFC East offseason to be a busy one.
The NFC East is one of the most competitive divisions in the league. It’s always a close race throughout the season between these four teams. This year, the Eagles followed suit and completed a “worst to first.” Now, the NFC East offseason moves will be a hot topic this offseason.
The Eagles made significant moves last year in the offseason that helped spearhead a Super Bowl run. The NFC East offseason will have teams looking to follow suit, emulating pieces of the Eagles’ winning puzzle. Now, the question is, will the Eagles be able to repeat as division winners and Super Bowl champs, or will another team take the title?
The Super Bowl Champs Are Looking To Get Even Better
We all know what lies ahead going into the NFC East offseason for the Eagles. The reigning Super Bowl champs are looking to repeat. There are complicated decisions still yet to be made; some must be made quickly as the legal tampering period rapidly approaches.
The Eagles have 14 unrestricted free agents including big names like Trey Burton, Nigel Bradham, Patrick Robinson, LeGarrette Blount, and Darren Sproles. They’re looking to secure Patrick Robinson’s return to the team before other teams can contact free agents.
Howie Roseman has already made some key moves this offseason. These moves include trading a 5th round pick and wide receiver Marcus Johnson to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for defensive end, Michael Bennett and a 7th round pick. Just two days later, the Eagles traded wide receiver Torrey Smith to the Carolina Panthers for young cornerback, Daryl Worley.
The Eagles are still expecting to lose tight end, Trey Burton, as well as linebacker Nigel Bradham to free agency, so expect the Birds to make a few more moves to ensure they secure guys to fill those roles.
The Giants Need To Draft Well
After a disappointing season 3-13 season, the New York Giants are looking to make a big turnaround in the NFC East offseason. After firing former head coach Ben McAdoo during the season, the Giants then hired former Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator, Pat Shurmur. So far this offseason, the team has released punter Brad Wing, and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
Because of their poor record, the Giants have secured the 2nd overall pick in this year’s draft. Since the NFL season has ended, the talk has been about Penn State running back Saquon Barkley going to the Giants. However, there have been rumors about the Cleveland Browns taking Barkley with their first pick. This now seems more likely after the Brown’s recent trade to acquire quarterback Tyrod Taylor from the Buffalo Bills.
Without Barkley on the board, the Giants could take a quarterback they believe will supersede Eli Manning when the time arrives. This decision means they will probably wait until the second round to draft a running back. The Giants are also looking to beef up their offensive line after a poor showing last season. Eli Manning was sacked 31 times last season for a total loss of 189 yards, his highest in both categories since 2013.
On the defensive side of the ball, because of the release of Rodgers-Cromartie and a poor season from Eli Apple, the Giants will need to address their secondary. Some notable free agents include Malcolm Butler, Patrick Robinson if the Eagles don’t secure a deal, and Morris Claiborne. New York might look at several highly ranked draft prospects like Joshua Jackson from Iowa, Denzel Ward from Ohio State, and Minkah Fitzpatrick from Alabama.
Free Agency Moves Will Be Key For The Redskins
The most active team in the NFC East offseason will most likely be the Washington Redskins. So far, the Redskins have already traded for, and extended, quarterback Alex Smith. The Redskins traded away a 3rd round draft pick as well as cornerback Kendall Fuller. Although Alex Smith is 33 years old, the Redskins still signed him to a four-year $94 million extension.
The Redskins need to give Smith some weapons. The Terrelle Pryor Sr. experiment did not go as planned. The Redskins have a few other talented receivers in Jamison Crowder and Josh Doctson, but none have shown the ability to handle the #1 receiver role. Look for the Redskins to make a strong push for Jaguars free agent wide receiver Allen Robinson.
After trading away Fuller, who had an exceptional year, the Redskins will also need to address the cornerback position. They already signed Quinton Dunbar to a multi-year extension, but are allowing Bashaud Breeland to test free agency. This secondary could be addressed through the draft or free agency.
Also on the defensive line, the Redskins have visits scheduled with defensive ends Muhammad Wilkerson and Benson Mayowa.
What Will The Cowboys Do?
The Dallas Cowboys season struggled to shake off the the drama surrounding Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension. They have their franchise quarterback in Dak Prescott as well as their franchise running back, as long as he stays out of trouble. The Cowboys placed their franchise tag on defensive end, DeMarcus Lawrence this offseason.
The Cowboys need to address their defense, starting with the linebackers. When Sean Lee is on the field, he is an animal. However, he is plagued by injuries, and he is already 32 years old. Anthony Hitchins, another linebacker is a free agent. The Cowboys are hoping to retain Hitchins, but he could have a significant market in free agency. Drafting another linebacker or signing one in free agency is an ideal move.
Offensively, in 2016, the Cowboys offensive line was one of the best in the NFL. However, in last year’s offseason, they lost two of their starters. The Cowboys will need to add another reliable member to the offensive line after the line allowed 38 sacks this season. The Cowboys have also spent a lot of time meeting with wide receiver draft prospects including D.J. Moore from Maryland, Christian Kirk from Texas A&M and Deon Cain from Clemson.
Who Will Come Out On Top?
At his combine press conference, Howie Roseman made it clear that the Eagles intend to grow and continuously get better. The rest of the NFC East offseason is going to consist of teams working to beef up their rosters. Through free agency and drafting, all four teams have to be smart to win the division title.
Featured Photo by NFL News Desk
Article originally posted on Tha Sports Junkies 101.