NFC East Roundup: Cowboys At It Again?


Tony Romo, Robert Griffin IIIHere is a look at what is happening elsewhere in the NFC East.

Andrew Brandt of MMQB.com is worried the Cowboys are once again spending their money frivolously:

[Tony] Romo’s 2013 contract extension, with a $25 million bonus prorated over the life of the deal, was negotiated knowing there would be future cap consequences. At that time, we could only hope that the Cowboys would not revisit it for several years, allowing the future stacked proration to settle down as the contract went.

So much for that.

Less than a year after signing that deal, the Cowboys converted $12.5 million of Romo’s 2014 salary into a prorated signing bonus to push out future cap charges. Now, a year after that restructure, the Cowboys have done it again, converting $16 million of Romo’s 2015 salary into another prorated signing bonus, adding another $12.8 million to the already stacked amounts of proration in the coming years. Romo now carries the highest amount of potential dead money—cap charges that will remain if Romo and the Cowboys part ways—of any player in NFL history. Though the possibility is remote, the amount of dead money acceleration would be $46 million if the Cowboys and Romo were to somehow part this year. That amount reduces to $32 million next year and $19.6 million in 2017, making Romo, for all intents and purposes, uncuttable and untradeable until then.

Jon Machota of The Dallas Morning News ranked the NFL’s top-ten running backs, placing former Eagle LeSean McCoy second, one slot ahead of potential Cowboy Adrian Peterson:

2.) LeSean McCoy. Apparently I think more of McCoy than Chip Kelly does. No one has rushed for more yards than McCoy over the last five seasons. Only Adrian Peterson has rushed for more yards than McCoy over the last four. Of all the backs in the game today, McCoy is the one that draws the most comparisons to Hall of Famer Barry Sanders. He has rushed for nearly 3,000 yards over the last two years.

3.) Adrian Peterson. By far the toughest player for me to rank on this list. Peterson was legendary in 2012, rushing for over 2,000 yards. He was very good again in 2013, but he missed almost the entire 2014 season. Peterson, who turned 30 last month, has been the best in the game, but I’m uncertain how he’ll respond after dealing with his off-the-field troubles. With that said, if the Vikings want to part ways, it’s very intriguing to see what kind of numbers he could put up behind Dallas’ offensive line.

Giants linebacker Victor Butler has been suspended four games for violating the policy on performance-enhancing drugs, reports Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News.

For the fifth time in five seasons, a Giants player has been suspended for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

This time the culprit is linebacker Victor Butler, who was perhaps a long-shot to make the Giants’ roster to begin with this season. He may have hurt his chances even more now that the NFL has announced he will be suspended for the first four games of the regular season for violating the league’s PED policy.

He joins defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy (2011), safety Will Hill (2012), safety Tyler Sash (2012) and guard Eric Herman (2014) as Giants suspended for a PED violation in the last five years. Running back Andre Brown was also suspended for a PED violation in 2012, but he eventually had his suspension overturned.

Dan Graziano of ESPN New York wonders how much longer Victor Cruz will be in New York:

Now, the caveat to that final point is that “the Giants’ new offense” clearly had yet to find its groove prior to Cruz’s injury, and the possibility of [Odell] Beckham and Cruz on the field together offers legitimate hope for Cruz’s production to improve as defenses have someone even more dynamic to worry about. But when you factor in the numbers, the injury, Beckham and the extent to which Cruz’s salary is scheduled to jump in 2016 and beyond, it’s fair to wonder how much sense it makes for the Giants to roll with him long-term.

The Giants would save only $2.45 million against this year’s cap if they cut Cruz now, and they have no reason to do so. Especially because of the injury, it wouldn’t save them any real money anyway. But the cap savings jumps to $6.1 million if they cut him next offseason, and when you’re dealing with numbers like that, you’d be foolish not to assess your leverage and decide whether to seek a restructure.

Rich Tandler of CSN Washington thinks it’s possible that the Washington-Marcus Mariota chatter has been generated in part to get the attention of Robert Griffin III:

Some players thrive on security while others are better motivated by fear. Griffin has had plenty of the former since the Redskins made him the second overall pick in 2012. Now perhaps they want to see how Griffin reacts when there is the possibility that he could be replaced by the quarterback who won the Heisman Trophy two years after he did.

The Mariota-to-Washington talk is probably going to wind up moot anyway. If the Titans don’t grab him with the second pick in the draft another team is likely to trade ahead of the Redskins and take him. That’s probably the optimal outcome for the Redskins, who will be able to take an edge rusher or another player at a position of need.

Part 2 of the optimal outcome here would be for Griffin to show great progress towards becoming a pocket passer and persuade [Jay] Gruden and Scot McCloughan that he can be the long-term solution at quarterback. The last thing this organization needs is to get back on the quarterback carousel, where teams can literally spend decades.

But unless and until that happens, the coach and GM are going to have to consider any and all solutions at the most important position on the field.

Kiper has Washington selecting Florida DE Dante Fowler with the fifth overall pick.

Fowler’s combine really sealed his status as a top-10 pick, not because he was a total freak, but because the outstanding performance there backed up plenty of good tape. While I think he could actually be more productive, you did see consistent flashes of a player who, were he able to add more elements to his game as a pass-rusher in particular, has star potential. Fowler was also asked to move around a lot, which is another reason the sack totals are good instead of eye-popping. That said, Fowler doesn’t have to be a sack machine to be a really good player, and I do think the pass rush will continue to get better, which is what the Redskins desperately need as they continue to build this defense into a more formidable unit. Better secondary play typically starts up front.