Saturday, March 17, 2012

Free Agency And The NFC East In 2012


In the first week of free agency the Washington Redskins made some big splashes. To answer, the Eagles did nothing but pay their own. There was rumors of Penn State product Dan Connor, who has since signed with the Cowboys, a premature tweet about linebacker Curtis Lofton being an Eagle, and a visit by former Redskin safety Laron Landry.

The Redskins bolstered their offense by adding two wide receivers, Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan. Of course, these two have been added to help Robert Griffin III, the Baylor product expected to go with the number two overall pick that the Redskins gave so much up for.

Along with the Eagles, the Giants have been relatively quiet, only signing a few of their own through the first four days of the 2012 offseason. The Cowboys have signed Kyle Orton to play behing Tony Romo and have added Dan Connor, Brandon Carr and Brodney Pool to help a defense that was one of the best at pressuring the quarterback last season.

So what does this all mean in the NFC East?

While the Redskins are improving greatly on offense, their defense, barring any big signings, will be without some major pieces that they had last season. London Fletcher, one of the most consistent linebackers in the league, is a free agent. So are safeties Laron Landry and Oshiomogho Atogwe. In a division with Dez Bryant, Hakeem Nicks, and DeSean Jackson, a poor defensive backfield is not an option.

The Cowboys haven’t done much to improve their team as a whole. While backup quarterback is a big deal in Dallas, where Tony Romo missed 10 games just two seasons ago, it is not a season changing move. The additions of a linebacker and two defensive backs will help improve a defense that was 23rd in pass defense and 7th in rush defense.

The Giants and Eagles have showed that they are pretty happy with where they sit. The Eagles might have an answer at linebacker in the draft if Luke Kuechly drops to the 15th pick or maybe they are waiting for the market for linebackers to develop so they know what kind of offers to make. They have rewarded DeSean Jackson with a five year contract that nets in excess of $50 million. Antonio Dixon, Trent Cole, and Todd Herremans have all been recipients of new contracts as well.

The Giants have resigned cornerback Terrell Thomas and backup quarterback David Carr. The only additions they have made are Martellus Bennett at tight end and safety Chris Horton.

From the looks of it, the Eagles, forgetting the fluke that was last season, should have a real shot at regaining their dominance in the division. The Redskins will be led by a rookie quarterback and for the most part, rookie quarterbacks are rarely successful in season one. Andy Dalton is an example of an exception to the rule. The Cowboys always find ways to lose games they should win. The Giants are defending champions but the Eagles have had their number lately winning seven of the last eight matchups.

The question lies outside the division where the Eagles will be playing against offenses like the Ravens, Falcons, and Bengals at home and the Saints on the road. The Eagles can be the best in the division without question. But to be a true contender come playoff time, changes still need to be made by bringing in veteran defensive players. Expect those changes to come.

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