The AFC is in the books and now I’m moving on apace with the NFC, starting off in the east.
First things first, figure out what it’ll take to keep Demarcus Lawrence in the building and pay him. He’s a good pass rusher, and the Cowboys shouldn’t let him go and if possible, should avoid signing him to a franchise tag for the second season. After that, the Cowboys could look to solidify their defence with another pass rusher from the draft. Such a piece would make the Dallas D into a unit that could contend with many a high powered offence.
Offence is a different beast. Tavon Austin, Terrence Williams and Cole Beasley are all due to leave in free agency. I wouldn’t want any of them to stay though out of the three, Beasley is the candidate most likely to. Once the three of them are gone it leaves Amari Cooper and Alan Hurns so a good slot receiver could be needed along with a decent tight end. Luckily for the Cowboys, there’s good depth in this years draft class at tight end. Tackle Cameron Fleming is also due to hit free agency, if they can get him back on an affordable deal it would be a good move as he offers good depth for the team.
New York Giants
Replace Eli Manning. I could really leave it there and I think they’d take big steps forward. Protecting the quarterback would be another solid piece of advice., and if whoever they bring in can also open up some holes for Saquon Barkley to fly through the alls the better. A backup for Barkley would also be good but a need that can be filled in the later rounds of the draft or late on in the offseason (see CJ Anderson).
The Giants defence once upon time showed some potential but in 2018 took a big step backwards. Franchise tagging safety Landon Collins should be a given, but increasingly looks like it might not be so with the safety apparently clearing out his locker last week. The tag for safeties isn’t extortionate and whilst there are a lot of good safeties hitting free agency and in the draft, Collins would likely be the pick of them all given his talent and age (on talent alone and without the injury, Earl Thomas would be No.1). The pass rusher threat, meant to be supplied by Olivier Vernon hasn’t materialised and the Giants have the potential to get out of that contract this year with only $8m lost to dead cap. It could be tempting given his lack of production.
Where else can you start other than quarterback? Alex Smith is likely to be out for the year, and realistically even after that, I don’t think he’s going to be back (as sad as that is). So whether they bring in a stop gap (Nick Foles, Teddy Bridgewater or Blake Bortles (Lol)) or a long term option (probably need to trade up int the draft to get one of the top two quarterbacks), they need to figure out what they’re doing. Once they’ve done that, they need someone for the QB to throw to. The receivers last year were far from elite – even Jameson Crowder is now a free agent, and no, they shouldn’t bring him back. Jordan Reed is too often injured and Vernon Davis is, whilst still quick, not getting any younger.
On defence, they have to make a decision as to whether HaHa Clinton-Dix did enough after they bought him in to keep him around. The market for safeties isn’t ludicrously expensive so Clinton-Dix would be wise not to overprice himself and stay to form what could be a good tandem with DJ Swearinger.
Obviously it seems that Carson Wentz is going to be THE man in Philadelphia, and as such, it seems he might need to repair some bruised relationships with receivers who apparently refer Nick Foles. Failing that, the management should stick by Wentz and find a receiver or two that he can utilise who’s not called Zach Ertz (yes I know he’s a tight end). The Eagles need to make decisions over running backs with both Darren Sproles and Jay Ajayi set to hit free agency – neither have proved themselves due to fitness issues and could both be jettisoned in favour of bringing in a couple of draft prospects.
Top of the list though for the Eagles, is getting some quality, youth and depth in the backfield. Malcolm Jenkins is still great but is getting older and needs players around him to make the whole thing work. There’s some good cornerbacks in the draft – no one stellar, but some solid options in the later rounds which the Eagles could utilise. Ngata and Brandon Graham are both set to be free agents as well so more depth on the defensive line would be useful – likely through the draft as the Eagles are struggling against the cap with only $2m to spare and the prospect of having to pay Wentz soon.Embed from Getty Images