NFC East Roundup: Life After Tony Romo

Photo courtesy: USA Today Sports Images

Jason Garrett and Tony Romo. (USA Today Sports)

The NFC East fielded some of the most mediocre teams in the league this season, yet it may be the most-talked-about division in football. Think that chatter stops in the offseason? Think again. We’ve compiled the latest on your favorite division. Get caught up.

Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News writes that Dallas needs to focus on cornerback, not quarterback, for 2016.

If the Cowboys are in a win-now mode – and that certainly is the reality for a team led on offense by an aging quarterback and tight end – they have to consider waiting another year to add Tony Romo‘s potential successor.

With Romo signed through 2019, adding a quarterback with a high draft pick now would be a luxury. More of a necessity for the Cowboys in April will be looking for their next cornerback.

The Cowboys could start training camp without their two starting cornerbacks in 2015. Morris Claiborne, the sixth overall pick in 2012, is an unrestricted free agent. Brandon Carr could be cut to save salary cap space.

The Cowboys will get back Orlando Scandrick in 2016 after he missed all of last season with a right knee injury. They seem to be convinced 2015 first-round pick Byron Jones is a better fit at safety.

The Cowboys could look to address their cornerback need in free agency. They finally have the salary cap space to add some punch to the roster.

Meanwhile, ESPN’s Todd Archer would be surprised if the Cowboys don’t eye up a Romo successor in the upcoming draft.

I understand Jerry Jones said the Cowboys “don’t have to” draft a quarterback, but I’ll remind everybody that Jones also has said in the past, “Just because I said it, doesn’t make it so.” In the literal sense, Jones is correct. The Cowboys don’t have to draft a quarterback, but I don’t think a statement in January will have any meaning when the draft rolls around. In fact, I had an agent of one of the top quarterbacks coming out tell me, “I’m glad he said it. Now that means he’s taking a quarterback.”

There are miles to go in this draft process and there will be many twists and turns, so don’t take anything you see, hear or read as gospel from the Cowboys or anybody else. It’s a complete guessing game. As of today, if you’re asking me if the Cowboys will take a quarterback in the first round, I would say no. Will they draft one at some point? As of today, I’d say yes even with Jones’ comment.

The Washington Post’s Rick Snider details how second-year GM Scot McCloughan is still focusing on building through the draft.

The GM is big on building through the draft. Give him a fistful of rookies and he’ll find a winning hand like he did in 2015, when five selections were productive players for the NFC East champions.

“The more the merrier. Give me 15 [picks] if I can have them,” McCloughan told reporters at the Senior Bowl. “I think the draft is the lifeline for the organization going forward.”

McCloughan wants grinders, not big-name free agents. By winning the NFC East in his first year, McCloughan has even more leverage this offseason. He won’t be pressured to sign the marquee free agents who owner Dan Snyder lusted over in the past. There won’t be a Deion Sanders or Bruce Smith coming to Washington for a preretirement payout anymore. No more Albert Haynesworth debacles.

Kirk Cousins is getting ready for an all-important offseason, determined to prove he’s not a one-year flash in the pan, writes ESPN’s John Keim.

Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins has spent the offseason driving his conversion van to Atlanta, prepping for a trip to the Super Bowl, followed by one to London for promotional work, and then another quick trip back to San Francisco.

What he’s not worried about just yet is his next contract. Besides, he’s already done his part to earn the next one; now it’s up to the Redskins and his agent to get one completed.

“I don’t have any expectations,” Cousins said at the Washington Auto Show Wednesday night. “I just go forward knowing my job was to play football the best I could and whatever I do on the field will speak for itself.

“I just play football and try to find completions and avoid sacks and protect the football and win games. Hopefully I can do that at a high level. We’ll let the rest take care of itself.”

From ESPN’s Dan Graziano, Ben McAdoo is filling out his staff in New York, including wooing a former Eagles coach and a former Patriots assistant.

As Ben McAdoo’s New York Giants coaching staff continues to take shape, he’s added a couple of interesting outside names in recent days. According to sources, McAdoo will hire Patriots linebackers coach Patrick Graham as their defensive line coach. Graham is a 37-year-old Yale graduate who’s been on Bill Belichick’s staff in New England since 2009 and is regarded as an up-and-coming defensive coaching mind.

Last weekend, ESPN’s Adam Caplan reported that the Giants were hiring former Eagles linebackers coach Bill McGovern as their linebackers coach. McGovern is a well-regarded former Boston College position coach whose proteges there included current Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich and Carolina Panthers star Luke Kuechly.

McAdoo has said he won’t announce any staff hires until the entire staff is complete, but we’ve been able to confirm most of the plans for the new coaching staff. Quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan is expected to succeed McAdoo as offensive coordinator, though the expectation is that McAdoo will continue to call offensive plays as the head coach. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and special-teams coordinator Tom Quinn are expected to remain in the same roles.

The New York Post’s Paul Schwartz examines Giants general manager Jerry Reese‘s approach to the upcoming draft.

Reese knows he has been called out by Giants co-owner John Mara, who after the season declared, “Jerry knows it’s on him.’’ The two-time Super Bowl-winning head coach is gone. The two-time Super Bowl-winning general manager returns for a 10th year in the position as chief football administrator, the man ultimately in charge of every player deemed worthy of a contract from the Giants.

Along with his scouts and assistants Marc Ross and Kevin Abrams, Reese, 52, spent several days looking at most of the top seniors who will be available in the NFL Draft. Reese needs to pick out a winner, several of them. If he is feeling any more pressure now than ever before, he is not letting anyone see him sweat.

“I work the same ever since Day 1,’’ Reese told The Post during a relaxed interview in the bleachers. “It’s not harder. I give it my all every day.’’