Wake-Up Call: Sizing Up the Division Moves

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We’ve had several requests to update the free-agent happenings across the rest of the division. And since we’re a publication of the people, we’re happy to oblige (with an assist from NFL.com).

COWBOYS

Signings: DT Terrell McClain, DT Henry Melton, DE Jeremy Mincey, QB Brandon Weeden
Losses: DE DeMarcus Ware, DT Jason Hatcher, S Danny McCray, C Phil Costa
Still unsigned: WR Miles Austin, DE Anthony Spencer

Analysis (from John Clayton): They had to cut Ware, they haven’t been able to re-sign Anthony Spencer and Jason Hatcher signed with the rival Washington Redskins. All of a sudden, the defensive line has gone from known quantities to George Selvie, Frank Kearse, Nick Hayden and Jeremy Mincey. The Cowboys switched to a 4-3 defense last year and now they are scrambling to find four quality defensive linemen.

REDSKINS

Re-signed: LB Brian Orakpo, LB Riley Perry, WR Santana Moss, S Brandon Meriweather, CB DeAngelo Hall
Free-agent additions:
Hatcher, DT Clifton Geathers, LB Adam Hayward, LB Akeem Jordan, G Shawn Lauvao, CB Tracy Porter, WR Andre Roberts, LB Darryl Sharpton
Losses:
LB Darryl Tapp, C J.D. Walton
Still unsigned
: LB Rob Jackson, DE Adam Carriker (released).

Analysis (from Pete Prisco):  Once upon a time, the Redskins were huge players in free agency. Now they are a lot smarter. They signed seven free agents and four of them should be starters: Defensive tackle Jason Hatcher, receiver Andre Roberts, corner Tracy Porter and guard Shawn Lauvao. They also re-signed linebacker Perry Riley and corner DeAngelo Hall, two starters. I like what Washington did without a huge splash. Grade: A-

GIANTS

Re-signed: LB Jon Beason, S Stevie Brown, K Josh Brown, RB Peyton Hillis, FC Henry Hynoski, CB Trumaine McBride, QB Curtis Painter
Free-agent additions: S Quintin Demps, WR Trindon Holliday, RB Rashad Jennings, WR Mario Manningham, LB Jameel McClain, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, LB O’Brien Schofield, G Geoff Schwartz, CB Walter Thurmond,J.D. Walton
Losses: G Kevin Boothe, DT Linval Joseph, S Ryan Mundy, TE Brandon Myers, WR Hakeem Nicks, LB Keith Rivers, DE Justin Tuck
Unsigned: CB Terrell Thomas, CB Aaron Ross, DT Mike Patterson

Analysis (from Dan Graziano):

Most significant signing: We’ll go with the most expensive and most recent one, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who signed for five years and $39 million ($15 million guaranteed) on Monday evening…

Most significant loss:
Defensive end Justin Tuck, who was a co-captain and two-time Super Bowl champion, had 11 sacks last season. What’s lost with Tuck isn’t just the sacks but also his ability (and willingness) to do the inglorious run-defense work that not every pass-rushing defensive end likes to do. And the biggest loss might be in leadership. Tuck was a link to glory days and an anchor for young and old players in the meeting rooms, on the field and in the locker room. He will be very difficult to replace. The honorable mention here goes to defensive tackle Linval Joseph, who is only 25 and for some reason didn’t even merit a serious effort to keep.

Here’s how the Eagles look by comparison:

Re-signed: S Nate Allen, P Donnie Jones, WR Riley Cooper, WR Jeremy Maclin
Free-agent additions: S Malcolm Jenkins, CB Nolan Carroll, S Chris Maragos, LB Bryan Braman 
Losses: Geathers
Unsigned: QB Michael Vick, S Colt Anderson, S Kurt Coleman

Analysis (from Clayton): Playoff teams with good starting quarterbacks on their first contracts can be strategic players in free agency and in personnel. That’s what the Eagles are. Nick Foles is in the third year of his rookie contract, and the Eagles had plenty of cap room available. Like Seattle last year, they are grabbing at available opportunities. The New Orleans Saints shopped Darren Sproles and the Eagles had no problem putting his $3.5 million salary in their backfield with LeSean McCoy. They locked up key offensive linemen with contracts through 2016. Last year, they were in a rush to revamp their secondary. This year, they had the luxury to strategically make it better with the additions of safety Malcolm Jenkins and cornerback Nolan Carroll, who might be a good third corner. 

WHAT YOU MISSED

Mychal Kendricks grab’s DeSean Jackson’s back, while Vick eyes a team to the north.

Which wide receivers in this draft class fit the Eagles system? Greg Cosell gives us some names to consider.

Sheil writes that Jackson’s future is in Kelly’s hands.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Chip Kelly and Billy Davis were at Virginia Tech’s pro day Wednesday. Tony Pauline passed this note along.

Cornerback Kyle Fuller stood on his combine numbers, but stood out in position drills, catching everything thrown to him.  I’m told prior to the workout, Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis made a point of introducing Fuller to the teams head coach, Chip Kelly.

Fuller (6-0, 190) is projected by CBS Sports to be a first or second-round pick.

Jimmy Kempski looks at the top 10 wide receiver prospects in the upcoming draft, including Penn State’s Allen Robinson.

Robinson has great size at 6’3, 220, and he had a vertical jump of 39″ at the Combine. Like Mike Evans, Robinson is another “Throw it up and let him get it” guy. Robinson’s straight-line speed isn’t anything to marvel at, but he has very good quickness, especially for his size, and does a great job breaking tackles after the catch.

COMING UP

We’ll put together a Twitter Mailbag and see what else pops.

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