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Lawlor: How do Eagles stack up in new-look NFC East?

The Eagles have had an exciting offseason so far. They've added impact players, role players, and good depth pieces. They've also been able to keep some critical players around. If you want to boil things down to the simplest level, the Eagles are better now than they were a month ago.

What about the rest of the NFC East?


Let's start in New York. The Giants traded their best player and arguably the best receiver in the NFL to the Browns for a couple of draft picks and a young, unproven safety. The offseason should be about adding talent, not trading elite players. Odell Beckham, Jr. was a handful to deal with, but he is an elite player. The whole point in getting draft picks is to find star players. Draft picks are valuable. But proven star players are better.

You can argue that the Giants were adding resources as they try to rebuild. OK, there is logic to that. Their roster needs help. There is one big problem, though. They kept 38-year-old Eli Manning around. He is not part of the future. The Giants think they are doing the right thing by keeping their veteran quarterback and two-time Super Bowl winner around. They think he can help young players develop while giving the team a chance to win games. It should be noted that in the last six years, the Giants and Manning have one winning season.

The Giants also traded their best pass rusher, Olivier Vernon, and let their best defensive back, Landon Collins, walk in free agency. Again, the goal is to add talent, not lose it.

They did acquire Kevin Zeitler, a guard who will improve their offensive line. The Giants signed receiver Golden Tate. He is a talented player who provides the Giants with an offensive weapon, but he will turn 31 this summer.

The safety they traded for in the Beckham deal was Jabrill Peppers. The Giants have high hopes for him and maybe he'll turn out to be a star. That's not the case now. Peppers has started for two years. He has two interceptions, one sack, and no forced fumbles.

We'll see what the Giants do in the draft. They need to find a lot of talent to boost a roster that finished last in the NFC East in 2018.


Washington used to be the team that "won" the offseason, with splashy signings and all kinds of big moves. Those exciting offseasons never translated to much success once the games counted in the standings. It seems that the Redskins have learned their lesson to a certain extent. They no longer try to build through free agency, and that's smart.

They did sign Landon Collins away from the Giants. Collins is 25 years old and highly productive. This is the kind of player you want. They gave him $45 million in guaranteed money. That's a lot to pay, even for an outstanding safety.

The Redskins didn't have a lot of cap room, so they had to cut inside linebacker Zach Brown. They let offensive tackle Ty Nsekhe leave in free agency. Nsekhe has been incredibly valuable to them as a swing tackle.

Washington added offensive lineman Ereck Flowers, a former first-round pick of the Giants. The Redskins think moving him from tackle to guard will make a difference. They brought Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie out of retirement to help the secondary.

The Redskins also lost Preston Smith, a talented young pass rusher. They let Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix leave in free agency. Washington used a fourth-round pick on Clinton-Dix at the trade deadline last year. Slot receiver Jamison Crowder departed as well. These are all young players who still had upside. Teams typically try to keep around those players.

Quarterback is the biggest mystery of all. Alex Smith suffered a gruesome leg injury, and nobody knows if he'll come back this year, or ever again. That means Colt McCoy is the projected starter. Washington brought in Case Keenum to challenge him. Keenum is 26-28 as a starter and has one good year on his résumé. It'll be interesting to see if Washington addresses the position in the draft.


Finally, we come to Dallas. They have had the quietest offseason of anyone in the division. Jerry Jones would love to be out there making moves, but he has a lot of contracts to plan for. The Cowboys have a bunch of players in the final year of their deals. They have to make plans for how to sign them.

Dallas used the franchise tag on pass rusher Demarcus Lawrence. He is the kind of impact player you have to keep around. HAVE. That was a no-brainer.

The Cowboys did take a couple of hits on the defensive line, but this had nothing to do with free agency. Randy Gregory was suspended, and David Irving basically announced to the world that he's done with football. Both guys are incredibly talented, but off-field issues have stalled their careers. This is why you talk about the importance of character when it comes to the draft.

Dallas lost Cole Beasley but replaced him with Randall Cobb. You can argue that's an upgrade, as long as Cobb can stay healthy. That's not been the case in recent years. Dallas made a really intriguing move when they brought Jason Witten back from retirement. He can still block and catch, but he's not a playmaker anymore.

Keeping Sean Lee around was a smart move. He can now be a situational player. Lee is still talented and a great team leader. I think Dallas made a couple of smart signings in defensive end Kerry Hyder and defensive tackle Christian Covington. Both guys fit the Dallas scheme. They were cheap and they have good upside. It wouldn't shock me for them to be good role players for the Cowboys.

The Eagles are the big winners of the offseason among the NFC East teams. Let's see how these teams look after the draft.

Tommy Lawlor, goeagles99 on the Eagles Message Boards, is an amateur football scout and devoted Eagles fan. You can also find his work at where he is the site's editor.

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