NFC East Free Agency Grades
With most of the big names off the market, free agency is fading as the Draft draws nearer. We’ve already covered each team’s five biggest free agency moves, but now it’s time to grade their efforts. Who filled their needs? Who got the best value and who overpaid? Here are the free agency grades for the NFC East:
The NFC East could be one of the league’s best divisions this season. Dallas took a step back on defense, while the Eagles upgraded their weapons for quarterback Carson Wentz. The Giants made some good moves, while Washington looks to be worse. Will the Cowboys still be the favourite? Or will Philadelphia and New York close the gap?
Dallas Cowboys — D
Key additions: CB Nolan Carroll, DL Stephen Paea, OL Jonathan Cooper
Key departures: CB Brandon Carr, S Barry Church, S J.J. Wilcox
Dallas needed to upgrade the defense this offseason, but struggled due to a lack of cap space and saw most of their starting secondary walk. Tony Romo’s retirement ends speculation about whether he will suit up for the Texans, but losing cornerbacks Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne as well as safeties Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox will have a much larger impact. Nolan Carroll can’t fill the void by himself, so Dallas will likely have a defense-heavy draft.
New York Giants — B
Key additions: WR Brandon Marshall, OT D.J. Fluker, TE Rhett Ellison
Key departures: WR Victor Cruz, OT Marshall Newhouse, RB Rashad Jennings
Despite losing defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins to Indianapolis, the Giants must be pretty satisfied. Fragile fan-favourite Victor Cruz is gone, replaced by Brandon Marshall, while swapping Marshall Newhouse for D.J. Fluker isn’t a big change. Re-signing coverage linebacker Keenan Robinson was a shrewd move, while tight end Rhett Ellison could be an underrated steal.
Philadelphia Eagles — A
Key additions: WR Alshon Jeffery, WR Torrey Smith, DT Timmy Jernigan
Key departures: DE Connor Barwin, CB Nolan Carroll, DT Bennie Logan
Howie Roseman took care of Philadelphia’s biggest offseason priority, upgrading Wentz’s receiving corps by adding Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith on good value deals. Connor Barwin was a surprise cut, but didn’t fit defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz’s scheme. Jernigan, who was acquired via trade, is a much better fit in Schwartz’s aggressive system. But the Eagles still need a secondary overhaul, and will look to the Draft.
Washington Redskins — D
Key additions: WR Terrelle Pryor, DT Terrell McClain, S D.J. Swearinger
Key departures: WR Pierre Garcon, WR DeSean Jackson, DT Chris Baker
Regardless of the behind-the-scene issues, the Redskins managed to retain quarterback Kirk Cousins for another year. But his receiving corps is depleted with the losses of two 1000 yard receivers in Garcon and Jackson. Terrelle Pryor is not yet a sure thing, while former Ram Brian Quick isn’t very inspiring. The defense is no better, as Washington lost their best defensive lineman in Chris Baker. Former Cowboy Terrell McClain is solid, but not spectacular. Safety D.J. Swearinger can take more of a hard-hitting enforcer role, something a toothless Redskins unit sorely needs.