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What's Up In The NFC East?

Posted Mar 16, 2014

Last weekend, the free agency bonanza unofficially got underway as teams could begin negotiating with unrestricted free agents. On Tuesday, free agents could officially sign with other teams and the Eagles were right in the middle of the action re-signing punter Donnie Jones and adding safety Malcolm Jenkins.

The Eagles added more depth on defense and special teams as they also inked deals with linebacker Bryan Braman, cornerback Nolan Carroll and safety Chris Maragos. On offense, the Eagles acquired versatile all-purpose back Darren Sproles from the Saints.

The NFC East champs improved themselves, but what about the rest of the division? All three of the Eagles' division foes have had significant change from a coaching standpoint. Dallas has a new defensive coordinator in Rod Marinelli and offensive playcaller in Scott Linehan. New York has a new offensive coordinator in Ben McAdoo. Washington has a new head coach in Jay Gruden. Head coach Chip Kelly acknowledged it's tough to prepare for the six division games because of the instability among the other teams.

"The difficult thing right now in our division is you don't know what you're going to get," Kelly said.

Dallas Cowboys - Additions
Name Pos. Exp. 2013 Team
Terrell McClain DT 3 Houston
Henry Melton DT 5 Chicago
Jeremy Mincey DE 6 Denver
Brandon Weeden QB 2 Cleveland
Dallas Cowboys - Losses
Name Pos. Exp. 2014 Team
Phil Costa C 4 Indianapolis
Jason Hatcher DT 8 Washington
DeMarcus Ware DE 9 Denver
Dallas Cowboys - Unsigned
Name Pos. Exp.
Miles Austin WR 8
Ryan Cook C 8
Edgar Jones DE 7
Jon Kitna QB 16
Danny McCray SS 4
Ernie Sims LB 8
Anthony Spencer DE 7
Brian Waters G 13
George Winn RB R
Jairus Wynn DE 5

COWBOYS: WARE'S RELEASE MARKS END OF AN ERA

Eagles fans were certainly not sad when the Cowboys released defensive end DeMarcus Ware after the 30-year-old refused to take a pay cut. Ware is fourth among all active NFL players with 117 career sacks. The Cowboys thought that Ware wasn't worth a big payday anymore, but he was quickly signed a three-year deal with the Denver Broncos.

Ware wasn't the only loss along the defensive line as defensive tackle Jason Hatcher, who had a breakout season in 2013 with 11 sacks, parlayed his big year into a contract with Washington. Former first-round pick Anthony Spencer, a Pro Bowl selection in 2012, is unsigned after suffering a season-ending knee injury early in the 2013 season.

Dallas has endured significant losses along the defensive line, but where are the reinforcements? The only two free agent additions are defensive tackle Terrell McClain and defensive end Jeremy Mincey, however, it remains to be seen whether they can replace the production of Ware and Hatcher.

On the offensive side, the Cowboys gave wide receiver Miles Austin the Ware treatment as well, releasing the two-time Pro Bowl selection. Austin remains on the open market.

New York Giants - Additions
Name Pos. Exp. 2013 Team
Quintin Demps S 6 Kansas City
Trindon Holliday KR 4 Denver
Rashad Jennings RB 5 Oakland
John Jerry G 4 Miami
Mario Manningham WR 6 San Francisco
Jameel McClain LB 6 Baltimore
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie CB 6 Denver
Geoff Schwartz G 5 Kansas City
Walter Thurmond CB 4 Seattle
J.D. Walton C 4 Washington
New York Giants - Losses
Name Pos. Exp. 2014 Team
Kevin Boothe G 8 Oakland
Linval Joseph DT 4 Minnesota
Ryan Mundy S 5 Chicago
Brandon Myers TE 5 Tampa Bay
Hakeem Nicks WR 5 Indianapolis
Keith Rivers LB 5 Buffalo
Justin Tuck DE 9 Oakland
New York Giants - Unsigned
Name Pos. Exp.
Davis Baas C 9
Andre Brown RB 5
David Diehl G 11
Marcus Dowtin LB 2
Louis Murphy WR 5
Bear Pascoe TE 5
Mike Patterson DT 9
Shaun Rogers DT 13
Aaron Ross CB 7
Julian Talley WR R
Terrell Thomas CB 6

GIANTS GET HELP FOR MANNING IN RUN GAME

Did you know that the Giants won seven of their final 10 games in 2013? Even though the NFC East came down to the Eagles-Cowboys Week 17 showdown, the Giants finished last season on a high note.

Did you know the Giants had a top 10 defense in 2013? Yes, the Giants ranked eighth in yards allowed and linebacker Jon Beason was a big reason for that. Acquired midseason from the Panthers in a trade, the three-time Pro Bowl selection locked down the middle linebacker position. Beason re-signed with the Giants in what might be their most important move of the offseason.

The Giants also re-upped safety Stevie Brown, who missed all of 2013 with an ACL injury. In 2012, Brown had eight interceptions. New York also signed former Seahawks cornerback Walter Thurmond, who stepped up in the absence of Brandon Browner for the Super Bowl champs. On Monday, the Giants welcomed in former Eagles cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who improved his stock after signing a one-year, "prove-it"-type deal with Denver a year ago. The Giants beat the team they share a stadium with for the right to ink the Pro Bowl cornerback to a five-year deal. 

New offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo will try to figure out how to reduce quarterback Eli Manning's league-leading 27 interceptions from 2013. Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks bolted for Indianapolis. The run game, which struggled in 2013, was improved to take pressure off of Manning with the addition of Rashad Jennings and the re-signing of Peyton Hillis.

Washington - Additions
Name Pos. Exp. 2013 Team
Clifton Geathers DE 3 Eagles
Jason Hatcher DT 8 Dallas
Adam Hayward LB 7 Tampa Bay
Akeem Jordan LB 7 Kansas City
Shawn Lauvao G 4 Cleveland
Tracy Porter CB 6 Oakland
Andre Roberts WR 4 Arizona
Darryl Sharpton LB 4 Houston
Washington - Losses
Name Pos. Exp. 2014 Team
Darryl Tapp LB 8 Detroit
J.D. Walton C 4 New York Giants
Washington - Unsigned
Name Pos. Exp.
Nick Barnett LB 11
E.J. Biggers S 5
Dezmon Briscoe WR 3
Adam Carriker DE 7
Fred Davis TE 6
Reed Doughty S 8
London Fletcher LB 16
Rex Grossman QB 11
Jose Gumbs S R
Rob Jackson LB 5
Jawan Jamison RB R
Bryan Kehl LB 6
Davin Meggett RB R
Will Montgomery C 8
Josh Morgan WR 6
Sav Rocca P 7
Josh Wilson CB 7

WASHINGTON ACTIVE IN FREE AGENCY AS USUAL

Washington went from first to last in 2013 and the reward for a lousy season isn't something that the team can savor as its first-round pick (No. 2 overall) is owned by St. Louis as a result of the trade to get Robert Griffin III.

Before free agency began, Washington made sure to keep outside linebacker Brian Orakpo by naming him as its franchise player.

Washington brought in some reinforcements by signing Hatcher away from the Cowboys and adding linebackers Adam Hayward and Darryl Sharpton as well as cornerback Tracy Porter.

Wide receiver Santana Moss was re-signed for a 14th season in the NFL, but Washington also added Andre Roberts, who had 43 catches for 471 yards and two touchdowns for Arizona last season.

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