No NFL division has fluctuated as much as the NFC East over the years. There hasn’t been a back-to-back division winner since the Philadelphia Eagles rattled off four-straight titles from 2001-2004. The upcoming free agency period will be a crucial time for the Dallas Cowboys, as the team looks to join Philly as a repeat champion of the NFC East.
Free Agents: The Cowboys possess the most coveted free agent in the league, in DE DeMarcus Lawrence. The 26-year-old is a force coming off the edge, recording 25 sacks and six forced fumbles in the past two seasons. Reportedly, Lawrence will not play under the franchise tag, so the pressure is on management to get a deal done. Outside of Lawrence, Dallas’ other big free agent is WR Cole Beasley. The slot wideout has already expressed his desire for a big contract, which could spell the end of his days in the Big D.
Possible Targets: With Beasley and Tavon Austin likely on the move, the Cowboys could be looking for another receiving option. Adam Humphries would fit nicely in Beasley’s role, but could cost just as much, if not more. Could the team kick the tires on Chris Hogan, or would they consider reuniting with former disgruntled Cowboy Dez Bryant? The team didn’t figure out how to properly fill the void left by TE Jason Witten last season. If they explore free agency for TE options, Jesse James and Tyler Eifert are the most attractive names.
Free Agents: The Nick Foles era in Philadelphia has come to an end.. again. Foles will not be tagged by the team, making him a free agent with plenty of potential suitors. The acquisition of WR Golden Tate didn’t quite work out, so a new contract with Philly seems unlikely. Tate should join Jordan Matthews and Mike Wallace as WRs exiting the city of brotherly love. RB is another curious position as well. It’s likely the team enters the 2019 season without both Darren Sproles and Jay Ajayi.
Possible Targets: Philadelphia has been a rumored landing spot for some big name RBs, including Le’Veon Bell and Tevin Coleman, both of whom will be free agents. Either player would be a good fit, it just depends on if Philly truly wants to open the vault for a runner. If FA Ronald Darby leaves, the Eagles might need to find a short-term solution at DB. E.J. Gaines and Morris Claiborne could be fits in the secondary.
Free Agents: The Redskins have a trio of impactful players set to test free agency. The team would be wise to keep HaHa Clinton-Dix, but has tough decisions to make regarding Adrian Peterson and Jamison Crowder. Crowder struggled with injuries, but possesses great deep-ball skills when healthy. Peterson looked revived last season, rushing for 1,042 yards and 7 TDs. At age 33 though, it would be no shock to see the Redskins move on in favor of younger options. Washington has a tough call to make with DB Josh Norman as well. The veteran’s play has dipped since signing a monster contract, and his release could save the team more than $8 million in 2019.
Possible Targets: Washington’s off-season should be all about the QB position. Whether they grab one in free agency or the draft, or perhaps both, the team needs to put a plan in place due to the uncertainty surrounding Alex Smith. Of course, Foles may be the most attractive option in free agency. After the Super Bowl-winning QB, the list includes the likes of Tyrod Taylor and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Washington could either re-sign Peterson or let him go as second-year RB Derrius Guice is expected to shoulder the load in the backfield.
New York Giants
Free Agents: Re-signing SS Landon Collins should be the top priority for GM Dave Gettleman. But, apparently, another season in the Big Apple for Collins appears to be in doubt. A franchise tag is unlikely, and if Collins tests the market, he should find a nice payday elsewhere. Outside of Collins, the Giants don’t have many big name players looking for new contracts, including the likes of Connor Barwin, Cody Latimer and Aldrick Rosas.
Possible Targets: Head Coach Pat Shurmur has said QB Eli Manning will be back next season, but that shouldn’t stop New York from looking for a QB of the future. That player will likely need to be found in the draft, not free agency, as the market isn’t exactly ripe with young QB talent. If Collins leaves, Earl Thomas is a name to keep an eye on. Somehow, Tyrann Mathieu is still only 27 years old. He would be a great fit with the G-Men. Clinton-Dix could be targeted if he’s let go by the divisional rival Redskins.
Check back for more NFL division previews as free agency approaches!