Grading the NFC East Offseason, so far.
Biggest Move: Signing Alex Smith
Redskins are hoping for a healthy Jordan Reed to add to the weapons they already have
An un-noticed powerhouse is being crafted in Washington.
The Washington Redskins will enter the 2018 NFL season with nine first-round and six second-round picks on their roster – the talent on this team is undeniable, and this is why I believe the Redskins are making a serious playoff run this season.
After losing Kirk (you like that) Cousins to the Vikings they Redskins traded for former Pro Bowl Quarterback Alex Smith who supposedly was interested in joining the Redskins for one reason – this team is built to win. There are very little issues with the Redskins offence at the moment, and with the upcoming draft, they could potentially add another solid running-back or guard to join Smith, although I would be surprised if the Redskins did not use their 13th pick for the defensive side of the ball.
Smith will drop into a very protected Quarterback position, nestling in behind two All-Pro offensive linemen (Trent Williams, Brandon Scherff) and will have a multitude of receivers to target such as the first-round pick Josh Doctson in one side, and super fast Paul Richardson on the other side – not to mention Jamison Crowder taking over the slot position. Smith will also hopefully have the Redskins former All-Pro TE Jordan Reed back to full health, and Joe Grudens preferred two tight end sets, Vernon Davis will also look to play a larger part in the future offence, who has already caught 30 touchdowns from Smith in his career – immediately having chemistry will be a huge positive factor.
I understand I have concentrated on the offence mainly with the Redskins, but seriously, holy crap they look good. However, this concentration on the offensive side of the ball is not to say that the defensive is an issue. It is a testament to Dan Snyders patience looking at the talent on the defensive side of the ball, with two first-round picks on the defence so far. The Redskins also will almost definitely use their first-round pick to acquire either Derwin James (Safety, FSU) or Vita Vea (DT, Washington) adding another first-round pick to their already stacked defence.
Liams’ Grade: A+
Frasers’ Grade: B+
New York Giants
Biggest Move: Acquiring Nate Solder
Will the return of Odell bring a winning season for the Giants?
A lamb roaring like a lion
The New York Giants started the off-season with a bang starting with the signing of ex-Panthers running back Jordan Stewart. Although coming off a less than productive season Jordan Stewart still totalled 680 yards with 6 touchdowns, whilst sharing snaps with rookie Christian McCaffrey. This signing was the first of the Giants blockbuster offseason and definitely filled a hole Paul Perkins could not fill.
The next signing was (in my opinion) the best move of the whole 2018 off-season bar none. The Giants signed Nate Solder to a four-year $62million ($34.8million guaranteed) contract which allows them to move Ereck Flowers to Right Tackle, or inside to Guard whilst also opening up draft options for a ‘win-now’ season. Also, for an extra win, the Giants could potentially cut Solder after two years with very little cap-penalty ($8million in 2020, $4million in 2021).
It is also interesting that 2020 is the year that Eli Mannings contract is up for renewal so the addition of Solder in this format may be insinuating that the Giants still believe in the lesser Manning brother to captain their ship for the next few years. If this is true, the Giants may be more than just QB hungry in the draft, potentially building a roster to make a Lombardi run before Mannings contract is up – Win now, rebuild later strategy.
The Giants also are awaiting the return of their All-Pro, lights out receiver Odell Beckham Jr, who is coming of a season-ending injury. The Giants other receivers just could not handle the load last year, and I believe that the Giants should look to pick up another wide receiver in the draft as currently the Giants are over the cap limit and therefore cannot make any FA moves without cutting or sorting player contracts.
Liams Grade: B+
Frasers Grade: A
Biggest Move: Signing of More Defensive Weapons
Have the Eagles done enough to make another Lombardi run?
The Super Bowl LII champions surprised everyone time and time again last season, going from nobodies to underdogs to Super Bowl champions and although I am an avid Patriots fan, I have to admit the Eagles really impressed me last season and (as much I don’t want to admit it) it was kinda cool to see them win the Bowl for the first time. However, were the Eagles one-season wonders? With 13 players from the Super Bowl roster due to hit FA, the Eagles had a problem on their hands entering the offseason.
It’s hard to believe, but the Eagle somehow managed to make their defence even better. They signed ex-Seahawk DE Michael Bennet to add extra pressure to any QB facing them. Bennet is an older player (32 years old) with a loud mouth but even his less productive season last year still totalled 8.5 sacks throughout his sixteen games played. The risk of bringing in Bennet’s loud mouth and attitude into the locker room is a risk worth taking, especially since the Eagles traded almost nothing for him (Wr Marcus Johnson, 5th round pick). In addition to the Michael Bennet pick up, the Eagles also buffed up their Cornerback position with the acquisition of Daryl Worley. Although Worley is still a big question mark in productivity, the very fact the Eagles managed to get anything for Torrey Smith who was due to eat up $5million in cap space this season this move was amazing. Also adding to the line, the Eagles signed Ngata who has missed 14 games over the last two years on a $2.6million guarunteed contract, which seems like a stretch for a 34-year-old player.
The Eagles also stacked their Linebacker core with the resigning of Nigel Bradham and signing of ex-Broncos Linebacker Corey Nelson who will bring added depth and also special teams experience.
However as good as they pick-ups were, the Eagles lost some key players this offseason that makes me doubt how effective they will be in the coming season. The Eagles lost a big-time Super Bowl player in Vinny Curry and old reliable target Brent Celek.
Liams Grade: A-
Frasers Grade: B
Biggest Move: Signing Cameron Fleming
Is anyone else excited for more Zeke leaps?
The Cowboys are coming off a 9-7 win/loss season which isn’t too bad seeing as their star running back Zeke was only on the field for 10-games however it wasn’t the season that Cowboy fans hoped for considering their blockbuster season the year before. So what did the Cowboys do to enhance their Lombardi chances this year? Answer: Nothing much.
The Cowboys added the speedster duo of Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson for Dak Prescott to target in 2018, however, the signings of these two wide receivers creates questions surrounding Dez Bryant’s future (read more here) potentially removing the most consistent Cowboys receiver over the last few seasons. I have delved more deeply into the replacement of Dez in the blog ‘the future of #Dezcaughtit?’ so will continue further on into the offseason movements.
The Cowboys also signed ex-Packers linebacker Joe Thomas who may help to add some extra QB pressure for the Cowboys. However, Thomas only recorded 6 tackles and 0.5 sacks in his 2017 season so his ability to do anything for the Cowboys is seriously in question.
Apart from these moves, the Cowboys have not really done much, to the disappointment of Cowboys fans. The Cowboys will have to make very wise picks in the 2018 draft, but it will be interesting to see where they go with their 19th pick. There is a 50/50 chance that WR Calvin Ridley is still available by pick 19 and he would be a really good match for Dallas. Apart from Ridley, SS Derwin James and LB Roquan Smith could also be good fits for the Dallas defence.
Liams Grade: C-
Frasers Grade: C-
What grade does your team receive? Are you happy with your teams’ offseasons moves or were you expecting more?