Edwards to Eagles? Nicholas to Giants?

July, 25, 2011
7/25/11
10:56
AM ET
Our man Adam reports that teams can start signing their own free agents as early as this afternoon. But the rumor mills have already started churning in earnest. We have this from D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who's reporting on the Falcons but is hearing ancillary information about other teams in connection with that reporting. This particular report contains the following two items of interest to fans of the NFC East:

-Vikings defensive end Ray Edwards "is expected to land in Philadelphia."

-Falcons linebacker Stephen Nicholas "is headed to the New York Giants."

Edwards
Edwards
We've talked about Edwards and Philadelphia before. With Brandon Graham still a major question mark because of his injury, new defensive line coach Jim Washburn is interested in adding a pass-rushing defensive end to play on the side opposite Trent Cole. Edwards might have played in Jared Allen's shadow in Minnesota, but he's shown enough (I think, in particular, of a January 2010 playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys) to make teams think he can be a force on his own. The conventional wisdom now seems to be that Charles Johnson will re-sign with Carolina, which has something like 6,000 free agents and a long way to go to get to the new minimum spending threshold. And while Jason Babin makes some sense because of his ties to Washburn and to Philadelphia, Edwards might well be the best option on the market.

Nicholas
Nicholas
As for Nicholas, the nattily bowtied D-Led points out that he opened last season in a reserve role but played his way into a starting spot. And with the Giants having a big-time need at the strongside linebacker position, he makes sense. The name of James Anderson has come up recently for the Giants, but again, Carolina and their free agency/cap situation. Carolina guys might not be as available as some other guys. I've heard Manny Lawson connected with the Giants. I've heard Nick Barnett, if the Packers cut him quickly. Sounds as if the Giants are at least looking for a linebacker, which is a step. Nicholas was credited with 129 tackles over the past two seasons in Atlanta. He didn't have a sack last season, but he did have three the season before.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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