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NFC East at a glance

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Old 02-13-2005, 11:51 AM   #1
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NFC East at a glance

From NFL Insider:

Dallas Cowboys
2004 record: 6-10 (third place)
The biggest offseason decision for the Cowboys is at quarterback. Coach Bill Parcells might want and probably needs QB Vinny Testaverde back for one more season. The coaching staff doesn't seem to believe in backups Drew Henson and Tony Romo, though both could benefit from NFL Europe experience. With so many other needs, Dallas could use Testaverde to stabilize a key position and revisit the trouble spot a year from now.

RB Eddie George almost certainly will move on, a mutual decision. The former Pro Bowl back was inactive for several games last season, and the running game now is in the hands of Julius Jones. Safety Lynn Scott will return, but he hasn't developed as hoped thus far. Safety Tony Dixon probably won't be back.

The Cowboys would like to upgrade the defensive line, but DT Leonardo Carson should be back as part of their wave rotation. OC Matt Lehr, the only other unrestricted free agent of note, is expected to return to provide depth.

Cornerback Pete Hunter, PK Billy Cundiff and OT Kurt Vollers all are restricted free agents who will be tendered, but none is a high priority. Parcells would like to rebuild the roster quickly, and some overpriced veterans could be let go. But even if Dallas clears room under the salary cap, it won't go throwing around big-money contracts.

Burned by high-priced underachiever DE Marcellus Wiley last year, the team figures to be more careful this time around. The Cowboys could go almost any direction with their two first-round picks, but a speed receiver, a cover cornerback and a stud defensive tackle are near the top of the wish list.

New York Giants
2004 record: 6-10 (second place)
The good news for the Giants: They have no big-name free agents to pay out. Better news: They have money to spend under the salary cap. Now the team just needs to figure out how to approach free agency.
In the recent past, the Giants have been fairly conservative, signing mostly mid-level players and roster fillers. But this might be the year they go after some high rollers. QB Kurt Warner will leave, with the blessing of the organization, in pursuit of a starting job elsewhere. Moderately experienced No. 3 QB Jesse Palmer might return with a cap-friendly deal, giving the organization some peace of mind at the position.

Backup RBs Ron Dayne and Mike Cloud are unrestricted free agents. Dayne's days with the team seem numbered, but Cloud could stick around to provide depth and special teams help. FB Jim Finn, who has developed into a dependable lead blocker, likely will return.

The team hopes to bring back OLB Nick Greisen, DE Lance Legree and TE Marcellus Rivers, but only if the money is right. Greisen could get some action on the open market, and the Giants will want to pay him backup money. That might not get it done.

New York needs to upgrade the roster, but it will be interesting to see if the team can attract quality free agents given the reputation of hard-nosed coach Tom Coughlin. Will the current Giants be able or even want to sell the organization to other players? With the Giants lacking a first-round pick in the draft, this year's free-agent period will be crucial.

They need to find a franchise LOT that can protect Eli Manning and then concentrate on rebuilding their offensive line.

Philadelphia Eagles
2004 record: 13-3 (first place)
The Eagles do a great job of managing the salary cap and making tough personnel decisions, so the franchise has little "dead" money on the roster. Philadelphia has a large number of unrestricted free agents, but that is deceiving because the team signs so many one-year contracts.

The Eagles were proactive during the season, redoing the contracts of CBs Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown and WR Greg Lewis. DT Corey Simon is a name player who has a big reputation, but his value might be higher on the open market and the Eagles seem ready to part company.

The team will work hard to re-sign DE Derrick Burgess, and though RB Correll Buckhalter's season-ending injury makes him a tougher call, the coaching staff really likes him.

OG Jermane Mayberry has been a strong contributor, but he could turn out to be an example of the organization's willingness to let go of players who might be starting to slip. The offensive line has enough depth to replace him. The team's remaining unrestricted free agents are veterans who want to be in Philadelphia and who likely will accept one-year deals.

One restricted free agent who could be a challenge is RB Brian Westbrook. If he and the team can't agree on a long-term deal, he will get the highest tender and the Eagles would match any offer from another team.

Signing WR Terrell Owens and DE Jevon Kearse to costly free-agent contracts last year was unusual for Philadelphia, and the same shouldn't be expected this offseason. The Eagles are one of the few teams in the league that can truly draft the best players available because they have no glaring needs.

Washington Redskins
2004 record: 6-10 (fourth place)
CB Fred Smoot is the Redskins' highest-profile unrestricted free agent, but his value is a topic of debate. Some personnel evaluators consider him a true shutdown corner, while others believe he is more at home covering an opponent's No. 2 receiver.

Skilled, aggressive corners are hard to find, though, so the Redskins likely will try to work out an extension before March 1. But if Smoot does hit the open market, he could quickly price himself out of Washington's plans.

The team's other high-priority unrestricted free agent is OLB Antonio Pierce, who is coming off an excellent year and also would make a return to D.C. difficult if he were to test the free-agent waters.

Veteran DT Joe Salave'a is a tough run stuffer whom the Redskins would like to keep, at the right price. Role players such as RB Mike Sellers, TE Brian Kozlowski and S Jason Doering don't seem to be high priorities, but that doesn't mean they won't be back.

Washington's restricted free agents might be the more pressing issue. RB Rock Cartwright and Ss Todd Franz, Andre Lott and Pat Dennis all are likely to be tendered. The two most interesting players of the group are QB Tim Hasselbeck and OLB Lemar Marshall, who both figure to be tendered but not at the first-round level.

The Redskins usually are very active in free agency, to say the least, and have overspent on brand-name players before. The team will strive to fill specific holes and probably will concentrate more than usual on keeping its own players, perhaps freeing up some money by restructuring the contract of OT Chris Samuels.

If Smoot leaves, corner will become a huge priority in the offseason. They 'Skins will also look for help on the offensive line and at wide receiver.
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Old 02-13-2005, 12:13 PM   #2
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Outside view

It's healthy to see an outside perspective sometimes. Thanks Matty.
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Old 02-13-2005, 07:33 PM   #3
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they put up a list of all free agents on insider, with ratings. Ill go try and copy that and start a thread with it for people to see.
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Old 02-13-2005, 09:41 PM   #4
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Eagles just put the franchise tag on Corey Simon.
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But don't get me wrong, I love sports...
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Old 02-13-2005, 11:11 PM   #5
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here is another view
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Old 02-13-2005, 11:29 PM   #6
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Re: NFC East at a glance

Interesting. WR 1 star.
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Old 02-14-2005, 02:30 AM   #7
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Re: NFC East at a glance

I thought the point about TE was interesting . i know Cooley plays HB but I thought he had a good Rookie year ...
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Old 02-14-2005, 09:35 AM   #8
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Re: NFC East at a glance

Can't see where I agree with their assessment. The biggest question mark position on our team is WR. We know what we got. We have a serviceable #2 WR with some market value...a young speed guy with some upside...a failed #1 who offers serviceable #2 attributes and can return kicks and play great on SP...and a true #1 with injury issues and potential for declining play. Add that all up and all you see is an average group who doesn't really bring much value to the field. A quality big play WR would instantly upgrade that group of players to probably the highest level because everyone moves down a spot. I like Coles as a #1 when he is healthy but even when he is having toe troubles he'd be a top 5 #2 in the league. Thrash simply becomes such a luxury in this situation that it is scary. He basically becomes the Stokely,Az-Hakim type guy where he gets maybe 17-18 plays a game and catches four balls and a TD becasue he is playing their 4th defensive back. Then we'd have Jacobs being groomed to take Coles' spot. Man I think a quality big play guy would really upgrade this team offensively. Stating we need to address Deefense before Offense seems to me like they're thinking too much. Our defense was good last year with less talent than we'll have in the up coming. With the exception of possibly Smoot we'll end up with the same team plus the starters who were hurt for most of the year(Bowen,Lott,Daniels,Barrow possibly, and oh yeah a guy named Lavar). True, CB will be a concern but I think there is less concern from those who really know the situation. Any DL need is simply luxury based on last year's performance. TE is interesting but again it seem like a luxury. Our real NEED is a play making WR. It would make such a huge difference.
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