NFC East Roundup: The Giants’ Shopping Spree
This week’s roundup of the latest news and notes from around the NFC East with free agency in full gear.
The Cowboys want no part of Johnny Manziel, reports David Moore of the Dallas Morning News.
The infatuation owner Jerry Jones has with Manziel is no secret. Manziel himself has reportedly told associates that once he was cut by the Browns – Friday’s move has been anticipated for weeks – he believed the Cowboys would express strong interest.
That won’t happen. The Dallas police investigated a complaint that Manziel allegedly assaulted his ex-girlfriend, Colleen Crowley, during an argument in January. The case has been submitted to a grand jury to determine if there’s enough evidence to press charges on a Class A misdemeanor assault, which carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
Manziel also remains under investigation for a possible violation of the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
The Dallas Morning News also broke down the deal the Cowboys gave Cedric Thornton, and the impact he could have.
Thornton has started at defensive end in Philadelphia’s 3-4 scheme in that same span. Outstanding against the run, Thornton has nearly twice as many tackles (144) as Hayden over the last three seasons.
At 6-4, 309 pounds, Thornton is more athletic and versatile than Hayden. He has the quickness to push the pocket and generate some pass rush, something Hayden doesn’t possess. Thornton had four sacks for the Eagles over the last four seasons.
The Cowboys will ask Thornton to shed a few pounds to emphasize his quickness even more. The staff envisions giving Thornton some work behind Tyrone Crawford at the other defensive tackle position and believes he can provide spot duty at end.
The Giants’ shopping spree shored up the defense, but they still have plenty of holes to fill, says Bill Pennington of the New York Times.
In the end, the Giants appear to have substantially overpaid for their three new players, and perhaps even for Pierre-Paul, who could still be severely limited if his damaged right hand is not significantly improved by off-season surgery. But the Giants had ample salary-cap space, and they have been a mediocre team since at least 2013.
It was expected that the Giants would be assertive buyers in the free-agent market. Clearly, what they did was identify three players they valued more than any others, and they let no other team outspend them for those players.
It could be a wise strategy, or it could expose many other holes on the team that were left unaddressed.
The Giants have remaining salary-cap space, and they will need it since they still need a safety, another cornerback, a couple of linebackers and at least one offensive lineman. They also need ample help at tight end, although Reese never — ever — seems to consider that position a priority.
Russell Okung may be the right fit for the Giants, says Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News.
The Giants spent Friday visiting with a Pro Bowl tackle who could be a huge upgrade for their offensive line. But Russell Okung left without a contract, and will make at least one more visit on his free-agent tour.
Okung, the 28-year-old who spent the last six seasons in Seattle, will be visiting the Detroit Lions on Saturday, according to a league source. He has also reportedly drawn interest from the San Francisco 49ers and the source said the Seahawks are interested in bringing him back. The Giants are apparently interested in Okung as a right tackle, even though he has played on the left side for most of his career.
The key with Okung, though, is his health. He missed three games with calf and ankle injuries last season.
But more importantly, he’s recovering from shoulder surgery he underwent in January. He is not expected to be cleared for full football duties until close to training camp in July.
Extension talks for Kirk Cousins will resume once free agency slows down, reports CSN Washington’s Tarik El-Bashir.
“As soon as free agency dies down a little bit, I’m sure his agent will engage us again in talks,” Allen said.
The Redskins have until July 15th to sign Cousins to a multi-year extension. After that date, Cousins must play on the 2016 season on the one-year tag.
Asked if he believes the money for quarterbacks has gotten “silly” in recent days, Allen said he did not.
“I don’t know if it is getting silly,” Allen said. “The good quarterbacks deserve the money. I’m sure there are some performers in the league who are watching [free agency] and thinking they might be entitled to a raise or two. But you can’t win in this league unless your quarterback plays well.”
Washington still has time to improve during the second wave of free agency, writes the Washington Post’s Master Tesfatsion.
While guaranteed money was thrown around, the Redskins were quiet. They re-signed some of their own unrestricted free agents, but they didn’t spend as lavishly as the division-rival New York Giants or Philadelphia Eagles.
What does that exactly mean? Nothing. Nothing at all.
On paper it appears the Giants and Eagles have improved, and they’ll probably be viewed as “winners” during free agency. Remember when the Indianapolis Colts and Buffalo Bills won free agency last year with all of their acquisitions? What about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers two years ago? Who could forget the “Dream Team” Eagles in 2011? It’s easy to get caught up in the moment this time of year, but here’s a friendly reminder.