Breakfast links: Gearing up

July, 25, 2011
7/25/11
8:00
AM ET
Aaaand, we're back.

By the midday, the NFL's new labor deal should be approved and we'll have a schedule of events for what should turn out to be a wild week. There are reports very early Monday morning that suggest free agency could open as early as Tuesday, and that training camps that had been scheduled to begin Wednesday or Thursday would do just that.

Amid the chaos, you will be looking for order. Stability. Something on which you can count. Something like ... the NFC East blog's breakfast links.

Dallas Cowboys

Anybody see this deal where Rex Ryan wrote in his book that Jason Garrett provided motivation for a speech he made before a big Ravens-Cowboys game in 2008? Anybody else think it has any chance to matter at all when the teams play each other in September? Anybody else excited that we're going to be talking about meatier stuff real, real soon? Yeah. Thought so.

The Cowboys are apparently still hoping to open training camp Thursday in San Antonio. Yeah, as in three-days-from-now Thursday. Assuming that players' vote goes through today, a lot of people are going to be making a lot of short-notice travel plans.

New York Giants

I found it interesting that the extremely plugged-in Mike Garafolo puts Ahmad Bradshaw's chances of returning to the Giants at "50-50" in his free-agent look-ahead piece. Mike likes the Giants' chances of keeping Steve Smith, Kevin Boss and Mathias Kiwanuka, but he's skeptical on Bradshaw due to his "lower-leg issues, fumbling problems, ever-present character concerns, a deep class of free-agent running backs and Bradshaw’s hinting he'd love to play for the Dolphins." I mean, I guess when you put it that way ... Yeesh. Pretty long list of stuff, right there. Mike speculates that Dolphins free-agent running back Ronnie Brown could be a target to replace Bradshaw if he leaves.

Bob Glauber spoke with John Mara, who said that Osi Umenyiora and Jerry Reese need to sit down "man to man" when this mess is all over and work out their issues. Lots of people keep asking what'll happen with the Umenyiora situation. If I had to bet, I'd say the Giants call his bluff, dare him to hold out and/or make their lives difficult in the final year of his deal. With the depth they have at defensive end, I think it's a chance worth taking. Worst case, they end up having to decide whether to pay him as a top free agent after he has a big year.

Philadelphia Eagles

Still can't quite get to closure on this Brett Favre thing, which is par for the course with all things Favre. Jeff McLane thinks it's a long shot, but the report has plenty of overtones that suggest the Eagles are interested in pursuing it. Of course, whether Favre has interest remains a topic of nothing more than pure speculation. You can also read here about the odd incidence of Michael Vick tweeting Sunday that he'd love to play with Favre and then that tweet being deleted.

One free agent who does have interest in the Eagles is Stewart Bradley, whose agent told Tim McManus he'd like to re-sign in Philadelphia. It'll be interesting to see what the injuries of the past two seasons have done to the market value of Bradley, whom the Eagles would like to bring back but probably not on a contract that requires them to assume too much risk.

Washington Redskins

Gary Myers sets up a bidding war between the Redskins and the Jets for free-agent receiver Santonio Holmes. He thinks Holmes will go to the highest bidder, and if that's the case it gives Washington more than a fair shot. But while I can see Holmes being a free agent who's not necessarily chasing Super Bowl dreams (he's already won one), there is the quarterback situation to consider. Holmes likes Mark Sanchez and did very well playing with him last year. Does he want to jump to John Beck's offense? And how much money will it to take to convince him to do so? The Redskins have a lot of holes. Overpaying for a stud receiver when your quarterback situation is a huge question mark might not be the best plan of action.

Acme Packing Company takes a look at potential destinations for Packers free-agent defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins, with the Redskins at the top of the list. I think he's a more realistic target than Holmes, but I also think Jenkins is going to be a very intensely pursued individual, given his pass-rushing skills and his ability to play in either a 3-4 or a 4-3 defense. He's about to add a lot of zeroes to his annual salary to go with the Super Bowl ring he just won.

And with that, I'm going to go enjoy one final quiet morning before all you-know-what breaks loose.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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