One week into free agency, which NFC East team has improved the most? (Image Courtesy of TheFootballEducator.com)
Free agency is officially one week old and the first wave of free agency has come to a close. The next wave of free agency is where teams build their championship rosters. Just last year, the Seattle Seahawks added defensive ends Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril to an already stout defense, and we all saw how the Seahawks season ended.
Making a big splash in free agency is a great way to keep your team’s fan base engaged, but like the Seahawks, making second-tier moves is what separates the contenders from the pretenders.
The Eagles have not made the splashy free agent signing, but rather worked to fill needs and strengthen their core. Other division opponents have not gone the same route as the Birds. After one week of free agency, this is where the Eagles stand in the NFC East.
Signed: DE Jeremy Mincey, DT Terrell McClain, QB Brandon Weeden
Re-signed: K Dan Bailey, P Chris Jones
Lost: DE DeMarcus Ware, C Phil Costa, WR Miles Austin, DT Jason Hatcher
Grade: D. The Cowboys defense has been given an overhaul, losing stalwarts like Ware and Hatcher. Dallas DE/LB Anthony Spencer also remains a free agent. The Cowboys are a team that has been hampered with salary cap issues and are now paying the price by cutting the franchise leader in sacks.
New York Giants
Signed: CB Walter Thurmond, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, S Quintin Demps, LB Jameel McClain, RB Rashad Jennings, G Geoff Schwartz, C J.D. Walton
Re-signed: LB Jon Beason, LB Mark Herzlich, LB Spencer Payinger, S Stevie Brown, CB Trumaine McBride, RB Peyton Hillis, FB Henry Hynoski, QB Curtis Painter, K Josh Brown
Lost: DT Linval Joseph, DE Justin Tuck, LB Keith Rivers, S Ryan Mundy, WR Hakeem Nicks, TE Brandon Myers, C David Bass
Grade: B+. The Giants have had a very aggressive offseason that culminated in signing former Eagle cornerback Rodgers-Cromartie to a five-year, $39 million deal. New York looked to revamp their secondary, and has done so with DRC and former Seahawk Thurmond. Re-signing safety Stevie Brown is a huge coup for New York, as he missed last season due to a knee injury. Big Blue also took steps to revamp their running game with the addition of Rashad Jennings, while signing a bevy of players who are strong on special teams. The Giants biggest losses come in the form of Linval Joseph and Hakeem Nicks.
Signed/Acquired: S Malcolm Jenkins, S Chris Maragos, CB Nolan Carroll, LB Bryan Braman, RB Darren Sproles
Re-signed: WR Riley Cooper, WR Jeremy Maclin, S Nate Allen, DT Cedric Thornton, P Donnie Jones
Lost: S Patrick Chung, WR Jason Avant
Grade: B. The Eagles offseason will not jump out at a fan base and declare the Birds “Super Bowl contenders,” but the Eagles signings will make them a stronger team. Philadelphia attacked free agency with the agenda of re-signing their own players, and they did just that. In bringing in Malcolm Jenkins on a three-year deal, the Birds signed their stopgap safety and a player with Super Bowl experience. Nolan Carroll with compete with Bradley Fletcher for starting cornerback duties. Braman and Maragos are two very strong special teams players that will immediately improve the third phase of the game. The Eagles biggest get was acquiring Darren Sproles, who immediately signed a two-year extension, for a fifth round pick.
Signed: CB Tracy Porter, LB Adam Hayward, DT Jason Hatcher, DE Clifton Geathers, G Shawn Lauvao, WR Andre Roberts, K Jake Rogers
Re-signed: DT Chris Baker, LB Perry Riley, CB DeAngelo Hall, S Jose Gumbs, S Brandon Meriweather, WR Aldrick Robinson
Lost: LB Darryl Tapp, LB London Fletcher (retired) DE Adam Carriker, C J.D. Walton, C Will Montgomery, RB Jawan Jamison, RB Davin Meggett, P Sav Rocca
Grade: C+. For Washington to have a successful offseason, they needed to complete two moves: re-sign linebackers Perry Riley and Brian Orakpo. Washington re-signed Riley and franchised Orakpo, assuring the team that both will return. Signing Jason Hatcher away from Dallas could pay big dividends for Washington as well as signing wide receiver Andre Roberts. Losing London Fletcher will be big for Washington, as he was a leader both on and off the field.
Hal Greenblatt covers the Eagles for Eagledelphia. Follow him on Twitter: @HMGreenblatt