NFC East Roundup: Is Cousins Done In DC?

Photo Credit: Geoff Burke - USA Today

Photo Credit: Geoff Burke – USA Today

Here’s a roundup of what is happening around the NFC East.

Mike Jones of The Washington Post wonders what the future holds for Redskins QB Kirk Cousins:

The Redskins also must ask themselves what kind of value they see in Cousins, and what worth other teams have placed in him. The team explored trade possibilities last offseason, but the Cleveland Browns declined to offer anything more than a fourth-round pick. The Redskins wanted a second-rounder.

Now, with only 2015 left on his contract, Cousins is a season away from walking with Washington not receiving any compensation at all. Should the Redskins accept a mid-round pick for Cousins (if opposing teams still believe he is worth that much) and be glad to get anything at all?

Or, with serious doubts still hovering over [Robert] Griffin [III] and no other quarterback on the roster, should the Redskins hang onto Cousins and try to further develop him?

Nick Mensio of Rotoworld goes through all of the potential cap casualties for the NFC East and cites WR Pierre Garcon as a prime candidate:

 Garcon saw his targets cut nearly in half under coach Jay Gruden from 184 in 2013 with OC Kyle Shanahan to 105 this past season. DeSean Jackson’s addition also played a part in Garcon’s diminished role, but Garcon is no longer the target-hog X receiver that he was under Shanahan. The Redskins will almost certainly ask Garcon to take a pay cut, but if he balks, they’ll have a decision to make. The Redskins are a bad team going nowhere fast, so don’t put it past new GM Scot McCloughan to blow this thing up. Garcon may even want out of the mess in D.C. and try to force McCloughan to release him. Garcon seemed genuinely fed up at the end of the season.

Nick Powell of thinks the Giants will be looking to make a major upgrade at the safety position this offseason:

At the conclusion of 2013, the Giants had to be feeling good about their safety depth chart. Defensive captain Antrel Rolle was coming off of a Pro Bowl season, Stevie Brown, who recorded eight interceptions in 2012, would be returning from a torn ACL, they had the talented but troubled Will Hill on the roster, and had just signed Quintin Demps and drafted Nat Berhe to provide some depth.

Unfortunately, nearly every single one of those players disappointed in some way. Rolle finally started to show his age, and Hill was cut before training camp after violating the league’s substance abuse policy, incurring a six-game suspension, and wound up on the Baltimore Ravens. Brown struggled to recapture his big-play form and lost his starting job, while Demps was overexposed as a starter.

Now Rolle, Brown and Demps are free agents, meaning the opportunity is ripe for the Giants to revamp the position through free agency. They will have at least $15 million in cap space to work with, possibly more if they make some roster cuts, which should give them the flexibility to throw some money at some of the top safeties on the market.

Dan Graziano of ESPN New York takes a look at Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest mock draft and doesn’t believe it fits in with the Giants philosophy:

Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest mock draft has the New York Giants selecting Iowa offensive lineman Brandon Scherff with the No. 9 pick in the first round.

It would be an extremely sensible pick for the Giants. Regardless of whether Scherff profiles as a guard or tackle at the NFL level, a strong run-blocking mainstay on the offensive line is something the Giants need for the short term as well as the long. Decay of the offensive line, brought on by years of poor drafts and an inability to develop mid-round picks, is one of the biggest reasons the Giants find themselves in their current sub-.500 rut, and devoting high-end resources to the problem is both the surest and the quickest way to fix it.

My question is whether, when push comes to shove, the Giants would really make a pick like this.

A year ago, when they held the No. 12 pick in the first round, the Giants were choosing between exciting playmaking wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and offensive lineman Zack Martin, a college tackle who profiled as an NFL guard. Giants GM Jerry Reese has said several times that they had Beckham and Martin rated very close together but that given the choice between the playmaker and the offensive lineman that early in the draft, he’s always going to take the playmaker.

Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas believes that DeMarco Murray is in line for a drop in production in 2015:

The amount of statistical information about the drop-off by a running back after a 400-touch season has been staggering. Of the 42 cases in NFL history in which a runner combined for more than 400 carries and catches, 35 had fewer touches, 33 had fewer yards from scrimmage, 25 averaged fewer yards per touch, 25 had fewer touchdowns and 20 played in fewer games the following season.

Murray had 449 touches in 2014.

In the regular season, Murray ran for a league-leading 1,845 yards to set a franchise record. Wouldn’t it be natural to expect a drop-off the following year? He did something in franchise history that Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett never did, and he did it in a time when passing games have taken over the league. After rushing for 1,773 yards in 1995 when he was 26, Smith never eclipsed 1,400 yards again but he had four seasons with at least 1,200 yards.

It wouldn’t be reasonable to expect Murray to rush for 1,845 yards again. Would 1,300 be acceptable? Or 1,400? Or 1,200? That would still put him in the top 10 in rushing each year.

Rich Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News claims the Cowboys need to reallocate some of their funds to the defensive side of the ball in order to go deeper into the playoffs:

The Cowboys have all their money and all their stars on the offensive side of the ball. Signing both Murray and [Dez] Bryant to contracts at the going rate for an NFL rushing champion and Pro Bowl wide receiver would only deepen the investment on offense. At some point, the Cowboys need to fix the defense. You can’t do that on the cheap. [Tony] Romo is not going to win a Super Bowl with the type of defense the Cowboys played last season. And he’s not going to win a Super Bowl if the Cowboys increase their commitment to offense and decrease it to defense in 2016. That’s why this is such a tough call for the Cowboys. They know what needs to be done.