Saturday, February 16, 2013
Twitter mailbag: Cowboys' drafts vital
By Dan Graziano
Welcome to our weekly Twitter mailbag, to which you can contribute at any time of the week (i.e., not only when I specifically ask for submissions) by tweeting with the hashtag #nfceastmail. Here are your questions and my answers.
@ZenonSzulc: starting to worry that #nyg might not get a deal done with Cruz. Should I relax, or am I right to worry?
@ESPN_NFCEast: I would say the answer is both. The New York Giants have been talking with wide receiver Victor Cruz for months now about a long-term deal, but the two sides clearly aren't seeing eye to eye. My guess is the Giants have a set number in mind for Cruz, and that it's very generous for a slot receiver but not for the No. 1 receiver Cruz likely considers himself based on his numbers from the past two years. This becomes a philosophical issue for the Giants, who also have to work on a new deal for wide receiver Hakeem Nicks and see him as more of a true No. 1 receiver. I wouldn't be surprised if the Giants got cheap with Cruz, and if that's the case he could walk. But should that happen, I wouldn't be too worried if I were a Giants fan. Cruz is great, but the Giants have experience that tells them they and Eli Manning can get big-time production out of their slot receiver, and I imagine they'd find a way to replace him. This is a case where you trust the people running your team to make the right decisions, because they generally do.
@ILEADSOFOLLOW: How likely is it one of Eagles 3 QB'S get traded. Vick's contract is easier to trade now right?
@ESPN_NFCEast: EasiER, sure, but that's not the same as easy. I really don't see the harm in the Philadelphia Eagles keeping all three of the quarterbacks they have right now. Michael Vick is the near-certain starter, given the contract figures and his relative experience level, but he could flop in Chip Kelly's system, and he certainly could get hurt. Dennis Dixon is a career backup who has some value in that role. And Nick Foles showed this year he's a backup who can step in and start games if necessary. There's no harm in keeping all three around, and I can't imagine any one of them having more value in a trade than they do on the roster.
@mcintosh37: Do you think Garcon is a true #1 WR? If not, why pay 8m for him?
@ESPN_NFCEast: I will say that I didn't think Pierre Garcon was a true No. 1 wide receiver when the Washington Redskins signed him to that big contract on the first day of free agency last year. But Mike Shanahan believed that he had the ability to be one in the offensive system they envisioned with Robert Griffin III, and when Garcon was on the field in 2012, he performed like one. Garcon doesn't turn 27 until August, and assuming he can get past the foot problems that cost him games last season, there's no reason to think he can't evolve with Griffin and be a No. 1 wide receiver in the NFL. He has the size and speed to do it, and doesn't seem to mind the responsibility of carrying the load.
@dustinkrueger@85: what can the cowboys do with such limited cap room this offseason to actually improve?
@ESPN_NFCEast: It sounds like a simplistic answer, but the Dallas Cowboys are really going to have to nail this year's draft, and in a way that's aimed at helping the 2013 team, if they're going to be better than 8-8 in 2013. Now, if they're rebuilding and they keep picking long-haul-focused pieces as they did last year, that's one thing. But if the goal is to make the playoffs in 2013, they are going to need to draft players in April who can contribute to that, and they're going to need as many of them as possible. That means not using the first two picks on one player, as they did last year when they traded up for Morris Claiborne, and drafting for need on the lines in the early rounds. They're also going to need to see some quick return from last year's draft, as Claiborne, possibly Tyrone Crawford and maybe even someone like Matt Johnson are going to have to be productive in larger roles this year. The Cowboys might not have enough cap room to re-sign Anthony Spencer to play defensive end in their new 4-3 scheme, and if they can't do that they also won't be able to afford a veteran replacement. That means finding inexpensive solutions at a couple of very key spots, and that means draft picks performing well early in their careers.
Thanks as always for the submissions. Please keep them coming.