• On the 2nd day of free agency, the Vikings cut Antoine Winfield. Here’s what I wrote:
When the Vikings released CB Antoine Winfield, my immediate thought was, “Redskins.” He’s going to be 36, but he can still play, and for years has been one of the best tackling corners in the NFL. The Skins could stick him into a similar role that DeAngelo Hall played last year, with some work in the slot. He would be a huge upgrade, even at his age. The Redskins reportedly reached out to him, but they probably don’t have the cap space.
Well, maybe they do have the cap space. I don’t think Winfield would have made the trip to DC just to hear the Skins say, “We’d like you to play for us, but we can’t pay you.” My guess is that at least some kind of financial talks have already occurred. Winfield could start opposite Josh Wilson, then likely move into the slot in the nickle, with E.J. Biggers playing on the outside.
This would not be your traditional “stopgap.” The word “stopgap” traditionally means “older scrub vet that can hold down the fort until we get someone better.” That’s not Winfield. While the aim would be to get a younger player in there behind Winfield as soon as possible, Winfield is still very good.
Winfield is a player that I have always liked. He is the corner to whom I compare all other corners in terms of tackling. If a CB is good tackler, you might hear me say, “He’s a good, physical player, but it’s not like he’s Antoine Winfield or Charles Tillman.” I liked Winfield so much in November of 2011, in fact, that if the NFL had to play a football game against another alien race to save the planet, Winfield would have made my 53-man roster. (Please ignore who I have starting at corner in that post, please).
• Kevin Boothe re-signed with the Giants on a 1-year deal. Boothe reportedly got a few sniffs from other teams around the league, although the fact that he signed a 1-year deal could signal that those reports were agent-driven. In an ideal world, Boothe is a versatile backup, although a great one, who has proven he can be an effective starter in the NFL. But he’s also a player that you’re going to look to upgrade if you have the chance, and I don’t see this re-signing as a reason why the Giants shouldn’t look at the OL as an option for an early pick. If the season began today, the Giants’ OL would look like this (age by the end of the season in parentheses):
That’s an average of almost 31 years. That’s old. To be determined what reserves James Brewer, Brandon Mosley and Matt McCants are as players, but the Giants may want to get some young pieces in place behind this group.
• Three players visited the Cowboys yesterday. They were Raiders S Michael Huff, Steelers S Will Allen, and Lions LB Justin Durant. Allen and Durant took physicals. When the Giants signed Steeleers S Ryan Mundy a week ago, I took a look at the Steelers’ snap counts in 2012. It appears Will Allen began the season as the 4th safety, then jumped Mundy to be the 3rd safety, then was jumped by undrafted rookie free agent Robert Golden, becoming the 4th safety once again.
I can’t add anything more than basic insight on Durant and Huff at this point, so we’ll hold off on those guys until either of those situations progress.
• The Eagles signed punter Donnie Jones, and cut Mat McBriar. McBriar averaged 0.4 seconds in hang time (estimated), and was dead last in the NFL last season in net punting, with a 36.5 yard average. Jones was 13th at 40.5. Jones is also the second coming of Jack Lambert.
By the way, say “Donnie Jones” out loud. Remind you of this annoying Eagle/Giant of years past?
• Chip Kelly talked about his penchant for going for it on 4th down, which he downplayed, although the following quote was music to my ears:
“If you don’t have a guy that can kick a long field goal, what are you going to do when the ball is on the 37-yard line?” he said. “Will you kick a 52-yarder or are you going to punt it? If [the punt] goes into the end zone, you have a net of 17 yards. Or do you go for it because you have a good defense and you’re not averse to putting them on the field on the 37-yard line?”
There is nothing more infuriating to me than a net punt of less than 20 yards on 4th and 3. It’s awful strategic football. Andy Reid was a great coach in Philly, but he was a serial offender of that move.
• The Eagles are bringing in Cowboys OLB Victor Butler for a visit. Butler is a player that I have admired for years. I talked more about him yesterday.
• Sheil Kapadia of PhillyMag has a dedicated page to track all the Eagles’ draft prospects visits/workouts in one place. Every team should have a writer that does this.