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NFC East offseason power rankings

3/9/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

Though many of you are clamoring for more entries on No. 81, I've decided to give it a rest today. We'll focus on the players who remain in the NFC East -- if that's cool with you guys.

Now that free agency has slowed down, it's time to account for how everyone in the division has done. The New York Times has a "Winners and Losers" entry on its wild and crazy Fifth Down blog. It looks like they praised the Giants, ignored the Eagles, doubted the Redskins and mentioned the Cowboys in passing.

Here's how I would rank the NFC East offseasons so far:

1. New York Giants: I like what they did shoring up a defensive line that wore down in the second half of the season. Defensive tackles Rocky Bernard and Chris Canty will give the Giants more options. And Michael Boley's a nice player at linebacker. None of these players blow you away, but they'll all make significant impacts. During these tough economic times, the Giants receive extra points for being efficient with their funds. They haven't addressed the receiver position yet, but that's coming.

2. Washington Redskins: Yes, I realize the Redskins took a page out of the Mark Cuban playbook and launched a personal stimulus package. Unfortunately, most of it ended up in Al Haynesworth's immense back pocket. Signing Haynesworth and cornerback DeAngelo Hall to enormous contracts provides a lift to the fan base, but it guarantees nothing. This should be an improved defense, but $63.5 million doesn't go as far as it used to.

3. Dallas Cowboys: As much as I scold him, it's only fair to give owner Jerry Jones a pat on the back for releasing the most polarizing player in the game. He didn't want to do it, but for once, he listened to other voices in the organization -- and acted on their advice. The Cowboys might initially suffer on the field, but better locker-room chemistry will eventually make up for it. And it was smart to acquire backup quarterback Jon Kitna. They were held hostage by that position during a three-game stretch last season. Linebacker Keith Brooking and defensive end Igor Olshansky both have a good shot at starting. Brooking's the more accomplished player, but Olshansky has a lot more tread left on the tire.

4. Philadelphia Eagles: No matter whose side you take, releasing safety Brian Dawkins left a gaping hole in the organization. Sean Jones is a nice player, but he's coming off a knee injury and it's not like either side was certain enough to agree to a long-term deal. Stacy Andrews, another player coming off an injury, should start immediately at one of the offensive tackle spots. Something tells me Donovan McNabb's not exactly thrilled with this offseason so far. But the club has two picks in the first round. If they come out of the draft with another starter on the offensive line and a competent backup running back, Eagles fans will feel a little less miserable.