Moves I like, don’t like so far this offseason in the NFC East

The Eagles locked up their best defensive player through 2017.

Moves I like:

Cowboys sign Dan Connor – This one just makes too much sense.  The Cowboys identified a player that’s a perfect fit for their current situation on defense, and brought him in on a two-year deal.  Terms are currently undisclosed, which typically means it a very reasonable deal.

Cowboys sign Kyle Orton – 69 career starts, 35-34 record.  If Romo gets knocked out for the season, the Cowboys are done, but if you need Orton to hold down the fort for a 3 or 4 games, he can win you some games.  Orton is instantly one of the best backup QB’s in the NFL that could probably still be a starter in this league, although obviously not an ideal one.

Cowboys let Laurent Robinson walk – Jerry Jones HATES when productive players leave the compound, but this time he showed good restraint in not trying to one-up the Jaguars, who signed Robinson to a laughable 5 year deal worth $32.5 million.

Giants re-sign Terrell Thomas – The Giants were able to get Thomas to sign a “prove it” contract before free agency kicked off at 4pm on Tuesday.  I think he probably could have gotten a better deal on the open market, but he’ll stay in the fold for the Giants for another year at least, possibly more if he proves he can still play after his ACL tear.

Giants re-sign David Carr – Eli Manning never misses any games, so it’s not like backup QB is all that critical, and the Giants were able to re-sign Carr for less than $1 million.

Giants franchise tag Steve Weatherford – Great season, enormous upgrade over… you know.

Redskins re-sign Adam Carriker – Key piece on a good 3-4 D Line, he turns 28 in May (should be entering his prime), and the numbers are reasonable (4 years, $20 million).

Redskins franchise tag Fred Davis – Davis is one of the more underrated players in the league, in my opinion.

Eagles lock up Trent Cole and Todd Herremans long term – As I tried to explain when these deals were initially done, but ESPN NFC East blogger Dan Graziano did so more eloquently (Dan is killing it the past 3 days, just FYI):

It’s no coincidence that the two players who got extensions in Philadelphia this week were two guys whose contracts were set to expire at the end of 2013. That’s the scary year, you see, for free agency, because the new TV deals are all set to begin in the 2014 league year, and because of that the salary cap (which is tied to revenues) is expected to skyrocket that year and in the years that follow. So if you have a cornerstone player whose contract runs through 2013, it’s a pretty smart idea to get him signed now. Because the market that opens two years from this week has a chance to be a lot loonier and a lot more expensive than the one with which we’re dealing today.

Eagles sign DeSean Jackson long term – After 2 years of uncertainty about DeSean’s future, there’s finally a resolution, and it appears as though the Eagles got themselves a very team-friendly deal, as broken down here by McNabborKolb’s Brian Solomon.

Eagles trade Winston Justice – They were going to cut him anyway, but were able to move up 15 spots in the 6th round by dealing him to Indianapolis.  Woooo!

Moves I like, but only if expectations are realistic:

Giants sign Martellus Bennett – Martellus Bennett is not a #1 TE.  The Giants love to put in an extra OT and play max protect in the passing game, and I love the fit if they utilize Bennett as an actual TE as the extra blocker in the jumbo set (as opposed to an extra OT).  That way it forces the defense to at least respect that Bennett could be going out into a pattern, whereas they know that Stacy Andrews isn’t going anywhere.  But in the last 3 years, Bennett hasn’t shown so much as a hint that he can be a guy that can be counted on to be a halfway decent weapon in the passing game.  If that’s the plan the Giants have for him, it could be ugly.

Cowboys sign Mackenzy Bernadeau – As I read up more on Bernadeau (I should be upfront that I know very little about the guy), it appears as though he didn’t play well as a starter in Carolina when he had his opportunities.  What worries me for the Cowboys is the money they gave him (4 years, $11 million).  Is Jerry Jones paying a backup guard almost $3 million per season?  Consider me skeptical.  If Bernadeau is viewed as depth, I’m fine with it, since they don’t even have good interior line starters, much less depth.  But if this is the answer at one of the guard spots in 2012… Oof.

Eagles sign Mike Gibson – OK, so this hasn’t officially been announced by the team yet, but it was reported that Gibson signed with Philly.  With Evan Mathis visiting the Ravens, the Eagles may need to replace him at LG.  Mike Gibson is a nice fit for Howard Mudd’s scheme and would be a nice backup but I sure hope he isn’t the answer, should Mathis leave.

Redskins sign Josh Morgan – Morgan is known as a player that has some nice skill, but hasn’t quite completely put it together yet.  If the Skins are expecting Morgan to give them serious production as a 2, they’ll probably find that Morgan isn’t that guy, at least not in 2012.  But if they see him initially as a role player that can potentially grow into more, I’m on board.


Cowboys sign Brodney Pool – The Cowboys go from one average former Cleveland Brown (Abe Elam) that played under Rob Ryan to the next.  Without any compelling safeties on the market, options were limited, and the Cowboys fill the hole with a JAG (“Just a guy”).

Cowboys sign Lawrence Vickers – The Cowboys were evidently turned off by Tony Fiametta in talking about a long term deal, and they wound up deciding not to even tender Fiametta, a restricted free agent. They moved swiftly to bring in Vickers, who is purely a lead blocker. This is neither an upgrade nor a downgrade, in my opinion.

Cowboys sign Brandon Carr – Carr will be a monumental upgrade over Terence Newman, so I don’t totally blame them for wildly overpaying for Carr (5 years, $51 million), although just about anything would have been a significant upgrade over Newman.  They had a gaping hole at CB, and Carr fills that need.  But $10 million/season is a hell of a lot of money for a good player, although not really a difference maker.

Giants sign Chris Horton – In Horton’s rookie season, he was a pleasant surprise as a rookie 7th round pick that made 76 tackles and had 3 picks.  In 2010 Horton went down with an ankle injury, and never really found his way back into the mix at safety.  He’ll serve as depth for the Giants, who like to run a lot of 3-safety sets.

Brandon Meriweather

Moves I didn’t like:

Redskins sign Brandon Meriweather – In the last seven months, Meriweather has been cut from one team and had another show zero interest in bringing him back for a second season.  Although talented, Meriweather has red flags galore, running the gamut from a shooting, to kicking opposing players in an onfield brawl at Miami, to repeated fines for helmet-to-helmet hits, to other bizarre associations with seedy types.  Meriweather signed for 2 years $6 million, which isn’t all that much less than what they would have had to have paid Oshiomogho Atogwe this season.  I wouldn’t want this guy anywhere near my roster.  The Redskins are trying to strike it rich here, but I just don’t see it.

Redskins sign Pierre Garcon – The word I keep repeatedly hearing about Garcon is “potential.”  I’m all for “potential.”  “Potential” and I are friends.  I’m just not into paying “potential” “#1 receiver money” ($42.5 million over 5 years), in the hope that said player might become a “#1 receiver,” especially when this year’s draft class is going to be one of the deepest in recent memory at the wide receiver position.  Ridiculous overpay.

Cowboys use franchise tag on Anthony Spencer – I’ve already beaten the crap out of this dead horse.


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  20. CarverM says:

    The cap numbers for the Garcon deal are much better than it looks when you just write “5 years $42.5mil” and he fits the mold of the type of receiver that the Skins don’t have. The only “#1” on the market would’ve been even more expensive, and it’s apparent that Shanny decided that VJax was not our guy. So we went out and got a guy that has the speed to get behind a defense and force you to cover more ground, and also has some ability to break a tackle and get YAC. Sure it looks expensive, but the deal is a lot better than you think it is. I think his cap hit this year is only like ~5 million.

    1. The figures on every contract appear inflated. Garçon’s deal is on the very legit end of the spectrum.

    2. deg0ey says:

      “Sure it looks expensive, but the deal is a lot better than you think it is.”

      If Rich Campbell can be believed, this deal is $42.5M with 65% ($27.6M) paid in the first 3 years. Current estimates of DeSean’s contract (per EaglesCap) put his first 3 years at $24.5M (after which he can be cut at minimal cost).

      If we’re taking the line that the Skins signed Garçon to a reasonable deal (at approximately $9M/year) then the $8M/year that the Eagles are paying Jackson is an absolute steal.

  21. DerfDiggy says:

    “Cowboys sign Brandon Carr – Carr will be a monumental upgrade over Terence Newman, so I don’t totally blame them for wildly overpaying for Carr (5 years, $51 million), although just about anything would have been a significant upgrade over Newman. They had a gaping hole at CB, and Carr fills that need. But $10 million/season is a hell of a lot of money for a good player, although not really a difference maker.”

    How do you figure he won’t be a difference maker?

    I hate nitpicking just the Cowboys portions of your articles. You do such a great job with the remainder of the Beast…but explain to me how signing a CB in his prime, or on the way to his prime is overpaying?

    That’s exactly the opposite of what the Eagles did (and what the Cowboys tried to) with Nmandi, 60 million for 5 years, for a 30 year old CB. In hindsight based on his production last year, the Eagles VASTLY overspent. In fact, I’d wager(i’ve done no research) that Carr was a better CB than Nmandi last year. These contract figures are toilet paper for the most part…and it’s quite possible that he’ll outplay its worth, or vice versa.

    The difference between a Carr vs. Nmandi signing is exactly what Jerry Jones(or Snyder) TYPICALLY does, overpays a player based on past performance. Instead he’s more or less expecting his better days to be ahead of him. Can you say that for Nmandi and his 60 Million?

    1. Jimmer says:

      If Dallas didn’t pay him, someone would have. Guaranteed.

    2. Ok, so he’s in his prime. That’s fine and good. Would you pay Alan Ball in his prime $10m/season because he’s in his prime?

      Not trying to compare Ball to Carr, but you don’t just pay guys boatloads of cash on the premise of them being in their prime.

      To be clear, the Cowboys HAD to pay Carr. They didn’t really have a choice. I’m not bashing the signing.

      But they still overpaid. He’s a good CB, not great, and he’s being paid like a Top 5 guy, which he’s most certainly not.

      1. DerfDiggy says:

        He’s steadily improved every year, and he’s at least a top 10 CB in the league. Who’s to say he won’t be top 5 by the time hes nmandi’s age?

        Did the Eagles overpay for Nmandi? If no…what about based on his performance as an Eagle?

        1. Well, I think we’ve pegged why I think they overpaid and you don’t. I disagree he’s a Top 10 CB in the NFL. I’d have to look, but I wouldn’t even say it’s a slam dunk he’s Top 20.

          And yes, the Eagles overpaid for Nnamdi.

          1. DerfDiggy says:

            Well I rationalize the overpayment as the going rate for a CB. All of them besides Revis are overpaid, IMO. There’s few CBs I’d want the boys to overpay for…Carr falls into that category.

            We agree somewhere in this disagreement basically.

            1. “We agree somewhere in this disagreement basically.”

              Agree, ha.

  22. bula says:

    thank you for your opinion on pierre garcon. i was arguing with some co-workers yesterday who believed that garcon was better than desean. what else do you expect from a rams fan and a seahawks fan?

    1. People are going to like certain types of receivers over others, but there’s zero justification in saying Garcon is better than DeSean Jackson.

  23. JimmyY? says:

    I dont understand how Vickers insn’t more of an impressive move to you.

    If you go back and look at the games Fiametta played in (where Dallas had a lead blocker) Demarco Murray and the Cowboys running game averaged about 40 more yards.

    Now Look at the Seasons Peyton Hillis, and Adrian Foster had behind Vickers, who is arguably the best pure lead blocker in the NFL.

    I think this immediately upgrades a potentially good cowboys running game, to a potentially Great running game. All at a cheaper cost that what the Tender would have coasted us on Fiametta. I think this is a substantial upgrade, especially if the Cowboys continue to upgrade their interior offensive line.

    1. There really aren’t many teams that heavily utilize a lead blocker much anymore. It’s a dinosaur position. So there really isn’t much to compare Vickers to. But for my money, Vonta Leach is the best in the game for that kind of player.

      Arian Foster running behind Vonta Leach (2010) – 327 rushes, 1616 yards (4.9 ypc), 16 TD
      Arian Foster running behind Vickers (2011) – 278 rushes, 1224 yards (4.4 ypc), 10 TD

      4.9 to 4.4 is a pretty significant difference.

      I don’t think it’s a bad signing. It’s just kind of… there.

      1. JimmyY? says:

        You also have to account for the loss of Both Andre Johnson and Shaub, Those loss’s are going to manifest in the run game.

        1. Without Schaub, his ypc was pretty much the same (4.5).

          1. Jimmer says:

            Ben Tate:

            175 rushes, 942 yards (5.4 ypc)

            1. Jimmer says:

              My point:

              2011 totals (Tate & Foster): 453 rushes, 2166 yards (4.78 ypc)

              With Foster being banged up for most of the year, Schuab and Johnson being out you could say they were more productive with Vickers.

              1. JimmyY? says:

                Agreed, Thanks for the back up.

              2. BigTTech says:

                “Andre Johnson said so” isn’t exactly a great argument

  24. rage114 says:

    On Martellus Bennett, I think this is a very good move for both the Giants and Bennett. I agree he wasn’t a #1 in Dallas but NY runs a much more balanced offense where the TE is used in a more traditional manner as a receiver. And Eli usually works well with his TE’s. Remember, this is a QB that made Kevin Boss and Jake Ballard look like probowl players. Bennett is more talented than either of those guys.

    This is good for Bennett because if he has a great year, as I suspect, he will cash in next year.

    1. BigTTech says:

      You’re gonna have to explain to me how the giants use a TE “in a more traditional manner as a receiver” than the cowboys do with Jason Witten, who’s far and away the best TE in the division. Hell, Witten’s blocking actually took a large step back last year. Won’t disagree that Eli makes TE’s look better than they are, but you won’t convince me that Romo doesn’t do that as well, if not BETTER. Obviously, he wasn’t given a big chance being stuck behind Witten, but he also didn’t take advantage of any of the opportunities afforded him – a lot of dropped balls, or batting them into the air towards defenders. I wish him luck, but I just don’t see it.

  25. Shutdown says:

    Carr not a difference maker? Ask Mike Wallace about the Sun. nite game Chiefs & Steelers,Then ask Jordy Nelson(Packers vs Cheifs) Then ask V. Jackson(Chargers vs Chiefs) then go to CBS .Com & get schooled by Prisco!

    1. “Pete Prisco said so” isn’t exactly what I’d call an awesome argument.

      Carr’s a good player. I don’t want to give the impression that I think he’s junk or something. But that’s what he is. He’s good, not great.

      I think Rick Gosselin summed him up pretty nicely:

      Gosselin : If he’s worth $50 million, I wonder what the Chiefs’ best cornerback was worth, Brandon Flowers. [Carr] was a guy who was the second corner in Kansas City and is supposed to be the answer here. He was a right corner in Kansas City, but he’s got to go to left corner. Left corner is where you see the better receivers, and it’s going to be different for him. But he’s got to be an upgrade from Newman. [Newman’s] age showed up the last two seasons, his loss of speed has shown up. This is a big-time upgrade, but more importantly, it takes them off the hook in the first round of the draft. They didn’t want to have to take a corner with the 14th pick. They didn’t like what they were looking at with the position there, but now they can go in another direction.

      Fraley: I think they overpaid, didn’t they?

      Gosselin: Without question.

      Fraley: And they sort of put themselves into a corner when they got rid of Newman. They had to get a corner, which again speaks to their poor development through the years. They haven’t developed a corner, so they had to go out and overpay on the free agent market.

      Gosselin: And they waited too long. If they had gotten the deal done before Finnegan got done, they could’ve gotten him at a much better bargain. But waiting for Finnegan, Carlos Rogers, Stanford Routt, all those guys to get done, you’re stuck. If he’s the only guy left and you’ve got to sign him, you’ve got to pay whatever he’s asking.

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