Here's one we didn't see coming. The Washington Redskins, per the indefatigable Adam Schefter, have agreed to terms with former Dallas Cowboys defensive end Stephen Bowen on a five-year, $27.5 million contract that includes $12.5 million in guarantees. I have several thoughts on this.
1. Wow, that's a lot of money for Stephen Bowen, a nice 3-4 defensive end who wasn't really even guaranteed a starting role in Dallas this year if he'd stayed. He's a good athlete with great size, and he's only 27 years old. But the Redskins appear to have given starter money to a rotational defensive end whose specialty is rushing the passer. I wonder how much more Cullen Jenkins was asking for that they decided to move down the list and offer this much to Bowen.
2. Odd as it might seem, it appears to fit with a couple of the Redskins' other offseason moves. Cornerback Josh Wilson, for instance, is a young, still-emerging talent who's likely to get better with time, and the Redskins' coaches know they're in the middle of a rebuilding project. If you concede that Washington isn't likely to contend in 2011 and that they need pieces that can grow in their system so they can contend in the years beyond, you can make the case for Bowen as a guy like that. I just don't see why it had to be for so much money.
3. This also impacts the Cowboys, who had been talking to Bowen about re-signing. Dallas still needs two starting defensive ends. The Cowboys could still bring back Marcus Spears and might. And if this takes the Redskins out of the running for Jenkins, as I assume it does, it could improve the Cowboys' chances of getting Jenkins. But if Jenkins was asking a lot more than what Bowen got from Washington, how can the cap-strapped Cowboys afford him? They still need two safeties, remember. Names like Robaire Smith and Kenyon Coleman have come up for the Cowboys as defensive-end possibilities along with Jenkins and Spears, but the Bowen signing takes one of their targets out of play and likely moves the market upward for the remaining ones.