Friday, March 16, 2012
NFC East Friday: How was your day?
By Dan Graziano
I've got to be honest. I'm a little jealous. I'm so used to our division being in the middle of the action, that I almost wish we had a team in the Peyton Manning sweepstakes. That's the story getting all of the attention, but our four teams feel good about quarterback, so I just read Williamson and Kuharsky and Sando with blog envy. Ah well. We'll always have Indianapolis.
Anyway, how was your day...
"Harmless, so back off!" Hey, hey, hey. It's not me you have to worry about. It's all of these Cowboys fans I keep hearing from on Twitter who feel like everybody their team signs has to be Anthony Munoz or Jerry Rice. No, Nate Livings isn't the best guard in the league. But the Cowboys had next to nothing at guard last season. Is it wrong for them to pick out a couple of veterans they like to mix in with the kids they drafted last year and create some camp competition at those positions? I think the most surprising move of the day was the decision, as reported by Todd Archer, to part ways with veteran guard Kyle Kosier. Yeah, he's getting older and was banged up in 2011. But the Cowboys really valued him as an on-field leader and mentor for the young linemen. Looks like Livings, Mackenzy Bernadeau, David Arkin and Bill Nagy will fight it out for two starting guard spots (and maybe, if one of them can do it, the starting center spot) come training camp.
And yeah, Kevin Ogletree has had and blown chances to show he can handle the No. 3 wide receiver job. But just because they re-signed him doesn't mean they won't still look to upgrade there or even that he'll be on the 53-man roster come September. He visited the Giants this week, so it's not as though no one else wanted him. Maybe he helps on special teams, maybe things finally click for him in the passing game, maybe not. No real sweat either way, and wide receiver isn't a major need position for Dallas, which likely believes it can find this year's Laurent Robinson in the same bargain aisle in which they found last year's. Their need positions were defensive back, linebacker and guard, and they've addressed all three, along with backup quarterback, by signing eight players in the first four days of free agency.
People have been telling me they wish the Cowboys had signed more recognizable players, but the fact is they've whiffed badly in past years when going for the better-known names. Maybe this time around, the scouts and the coaching staff are targeting specific players for specific reasons without worrying about name recognition. Me, I say that's a good way to go.
"Busy." They agreed to terms with defensive back Cedric Griffin, who might be a candidate for free safety or might be a candidate for nickel cornerback or might just be a guy they think can help deepen the secondary. They restructured the contract of center Will Montgomery to spare themselves about $2 million in cap space. Fred Davis signed his franchise tender, which is what they wanted -- hold one of their best 2011 playmakers for a reasonable price and give him a year to keep himself clean and prove himself reliable. They had a visit from cornerback Aaron Ross, since they're not done addressing the secondary. And since they're still determined to address the offensive line, they also hosted free-agent tackle Demetrius Bell and remain interested in free-agent tackle Eric Winston as well. Winston has been in Kansas City this week, but his scheduled visit to St. Louis was reportedly canceled after the Rams apparently blew their offensive line budget signing center Scott Wells. Lots going on, but still nothing with London Fletcher. That remains a justifiable concern of Redskins fans, but he still hasn't signed anywhere else as of this writing, and the linebacker market has yet to really flower. So, no real reason to panic just yet.
New York Giants?
"Bout the same." The Giants seem to be doing one simple thing each day. Friday's was the signing of punter Steve Weatherford to a five-year contract, which supersedes his franchise-player designation and locks up one of the most quietly valuable pieces of their Super Bowl champion team. There are reports about Mario Manningham negotiating seriously with the Rams, but the Giants have been prepared for some time to lose Manningham, for whom the market is likely to generate more than the Giants want to pay a No. 3 wide receiver. I'm curious to see whether they get involved with one of these right tackle candidates on the market, since they're saying good-bye to Kareem McKenzie. But they have the option of moving David Diehl over there if Will Beatty comes back healthy, so it's not an urgent need. The Giants will keep making the "un-sexy" moves general manager Jerry Reese enjoys so much, and as I've said before, they have earned the benefit of the doubt on this.
"Coulda been worse." The best thing that happened for the Eagles on Friday was what didn't happen -- namely, that free-agent guard Evan Mathis didn't sign with the Baltimore Ravens. Mathis is still apparently weighing offers from Baltimore and Philadelphia, and Reuben Frank reports that the Eagles have told Mathis they'll beat the Ravens' offer. So it sounds as though a resolution to this could be on the way shortly. Still nothing on linebacker, but again, not many teams are doing anything at linebacker right now. The Eagles are waiting it out kind of like the Giants are, since they feel decent about the roster they already have. They'll do something, but there is no hurry.
My day? Thanks for asking. It was fine, but I've got to be honest. I'm a little gassed. Going to turn off the laptop now and either go to bed or pass out on the couch watching basketball. No breakfast links tomorrow (we skip them on the weekends, due to concerns about high cholesterol), and I may sleep later than usual. But if something happens, I promise I'll post on it. I give you my word as a Spaniard.
(Anyone know the next line????)