The next eight days leading up to Wednesday’s start of the new NFL league year, I’ll be going through offseason blueprints for all 32 teams, division-by-division. We start today with the NFC East. This is what I would do from the outside looking in, but there are countless directions each team could go this offseason.
Re-structure Sean Lee’s contract
It sounds like Dallas has no desire to part ways with veteran linebacker Sean Lee, and I don’t blame them for that because he’s been great and has meant a lot for the franchise over the years. However, they can’t bring him back at a $10 million cap hit, as he’s unlikely to be a full-time player, and he isn’t likely to contribute on special teams. Ideally, they’ll bring Lee back at a much lower cap number as a part-time linebacker and an excellent mind to have setting the example for Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch.
Draft a replacement for Cole Beasley
Cole Beasley seemed to confirm he’s looking for $20 million guaranteed in free agency, in which case I think the Cowboys should just part ways with him. This year’s draft class looks very deep at wide receiver, and Dallas could draft someone with versatility to form a young trio with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. Remember, the Cowboys don’t have their first-round pick after the Cooper trade, but there could be highly-graded players in the second round—if Ole Miss’ A.J. Brown is somehow available, he’d be a steal as someone that can move around the formation like Cooper. Massachusetts receiver Andy Isabella could be a perfect fit later on Day 2 of the draft.
Don’t extend Dak Prescott
Originally, I was thinking the Cowboys shouldn’t franchise tag DeMarcus Lawrence, instead hoping that he’d want to remain in Dallas long-term. However, with Brandon Graham re-signed, the edge rushers in free agency looks weaker—making Lawrence more likely to get an offer the Cowboys don’t feel comfortable matching. Instead, we’ll focus on the quarterback. I wouldn’t extend Dak Prescott unless it’s a team-friendly deal, as he might play better with a little extra chip on his shoulder without a long-term contract entering 2019. If necessary, you can franchise tag Prescott next offseason.
New York Giants
Continue improving the offensive line
After drafting Saquon Barkley second overall (which I also would’ve done with zero hesitation) and strengthening the offensive line, Dave Gettleman and Pat Shurmur made it clear they want to win the battle up front and run the ball. Look for the Giants to continue building on the offensive line (and defensive line) to make things easier on Barkley, the quarterback, and the rest of the offense.
Sign Nick Foles
One reason the Eagles were thinking about franchise-tagging Nick Foles was because a couple of NFC East teams might be interested in signing him. At the very least, the Giants should strongly consider swapping out their own former Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning for another, and it helps that Shurmur has a history with Foles as the offensive coordinator under Chip Kelly with the Eagles in 2013 and 2014. Going back to the offensive line, it’d be hard not to like an offense with perhaps the best running back in the league and an accomplished and accurate passer behind an elite, stout unit.
Trade Odell Beckham Jr. if you get a huge offer
Because he’s incredibly talented, Odell Beckham Jr. shouldn’t be traded at a discount. But if you can get a first-round pick and more, the Giants should at least explore dealing him to another team. If OBJ was 100% brought in after he was handed a near-$100-million contract ahead of last season, it’d be a different story—but clearly, he did some things the Giants were not happy about. We’ve seen the issues Pittsburgh is having with a similar personality in Antonio Brown, and a potential AB trade could set the market for the Giants to get a huge return for Beckham.
Don’t sign Le’Veon Bell
New Phillies acquisition Bryce Harper is already recruiting Le’Veon Bell to join the Eagles in free agency, which has led to many Eagles fans clamoring for the All-Pro running back. The Eagles are a team built on culture, though, and I don’t think they should add someone that decided to sit out an entire season because he didn’t want to play on the franchise tag. Also, Philadelphia has been great offensively with a committee backfield, and they can find other running backs that’ll cost a lot less in the draft and other free agents. Tevin Coleman, who could lead a committee, is my ideal target.
Keep and extend Nelson Agholor
There’s been talk that Nelson Agholor could be a trade candidate because his fifth-year option of over $9 million is too high. For an extremely talented player that’s been underutilized if anything, I don’t think that’s too high—but if it is, they should just extend Agholor anyway. The former first-round pick was a hero in Super Bowl LII, and the team should want to keep a reliable player with untapped potential that just keeps his head down and works extremely hard.
Target a wide receiver in the draft
I don’t ever think it’s a good idea to just target a position and decide to draft that position no matter what, but there’s a chance some wide receivers are high on the Eagles’ draft board when they’re on the clock in the first two rounds (they own one first-rounder and two second-rounders). Adding a big target like Iowa State’s Hakeem Butler might give Carson Wentz more confidence to give his receivers more opportunities to make plays like Foles does. A trio of Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, and a rookie like Butler—along with tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert and a solid running back group—would be very potent.
Revamp the receiving corps
The Redskins have seemingly been attempting to revamp their receiving corps every year, but inconsistency and injuries have made it difficult for Jay Gruden’s squad to get steady play at the position. Again, there are a bunch of options in the draft, and I think that’s a better route than giving a premium draft pick for Antonio Brown when you’re not set at quarterback—that might be asking for issues if the team isn’t doing well and Brown isn’t getting enough targets.
Add to the secondary
Josh Norman is fine at one cornerback spot, but they could probably bring in more competition via free agency. With starting options Ronald Darby, Jason Verrett, and Eric Rowe all coming off injuries as they enter free agency, the top guys available might be available for value prices on one-year deals. Signing Darby would also weaken the Eagles, which is a plus.
Acquire a quarterback
Despite a very negative perception surrounding him for whatever reason, I think Colt McCoy can play well for the Redskins with Alex Smith looking unlikely to suit up in 2019. Still, the Redskins must look at bringing in competition—whether it’s a veteran or a rookie—to push McCoy for the starting job. I would try to get enough money to sign Nick Foles, but that looks unlikely. In the draft, Duke quarterback Daniel Jones looks like he’d be a good fit in Gruden’s offense, and Jon Gruden might give his brother Jay some insight after he coached Jones at the Senior Bowl.