Thursday, March 14, 2013
Breakfast links: A kicker? That's it?
By Dan Graziano
There's a scene in a later "Sopranos" season, after Tony's come back from getting shot by Uncle Junior and nearly dying, where he's in Dr. Melfi's office talking about how dull his life has become and he utters the memorable line, "I keep saying every day's a gift, but does it have to be a pair of socks?"
I thought of this scene late Wednesday night, when I surveyed the day in the NFC East and realized that, on the second day of the NFL's much-ballyhooed free-agent signing period, the only player who had signed to play in our division was new Giants kicker Josh Brown. No offense, Josh. I'm not calling you a pair of socks. But I think even you'd have to admit this division hasn't exactly been a hot zone of free-agent activity to this point.
This is what happens when two of your teams had their cap space taken away and the other two don't seem to want to sign big-name guys. You wait. And you think of things to write and talk about. And you look for links. Like these.
Lorenzo Alexander says that the Redskins couldn't offer what the Arizona Cardinals offered in terms of guaranteed money or a chance at more playing time. This is why Alexander is an Arizona Cardinal today.
The Redskins are bringing in former Tampa Bay tackle Jeremy Trueblood for a visit this weekend. Not exactly the top end of the free-agent tackle class there, but that's where the Redskins are right now. They need to take a chance on someone who can outperform a make-good contract. We'll see whether they decide Trueblood can be that guy.
New York Giants
Free-agent linebacker Jasper Brinkley was in New York to visit the Giants on Wednesday. He left without a deal, but so did Cullen Jenkins a week or so ago and they still signed him. The Giants need linebacker help, and these early visits do tend to offer a clue or two about the kinds of guys they're after to fill their needs.
And the New York Daily News reported that Steelers free-agent safety Ryan Mundy will visit the Giants on Thursday. I kind of like Mundy as a safety option, and I know we've talked about him for a couple of NFC East teams. He's an under-the-radar guy who played a bit role in Pittsburgh but likely could handle more. The Giants' starting safeties right now appear to be Antrel Rolle and Stevie Brown, but in spite of all of the interceptions I don't think the Giants are ultra-comfortable going with Brown as a full-time starter just yet.
Remember how upset so many of you were last year when the Cowboys lost Laurent Robinson to free agency after his one big year? Yeah, well, the Jaguars cut him Wednesday, so you can have him back if you want him. But do you? He obviously didn't do much in Jacksonville, and the concussion issues appear to be a significant problem. I don't see wide receiver as a major need right now for the Cowboys, especially compared to others, and I think we've all learned our lesson here that sometimes the receiver is special and sometimes the system and the quarterback make the receiver.
Randy Galloway thinks Tony Romo could have helped himself in the public perception department if he'd given a little in contract negotiations with the Cowboys and helped them clear some cap room in advance of free agency. But as Randy notes early in his column, I don't think Romo cares that much about public perception. And in the NFL, you get your money while you can get your money. Not everybody's got UGGs deals and is married to a famous Victoria's Secret model, after all.
Ricky Jean Francois left Philadelphia without a contract Wednesday, though it remains possible the Eagles could sign the free-agent 49ers defensive lineman. Jean Francois is a versatile lineman who can play any of the three spots on a 3-4 defensive line, but he's not a full-time starter and could be looking for someone who thinks he is. Part of free agency is, after all, finding out what people think you're worth.
And Eagles brass isn't offering too many clues about what it was doing in West Virginia the other day checking out top quarterback prospect Geno Smith. I don't expect execs to offer many, either. Could be they were just doing due diligence and making sure they don't overlook any options with that No. 4 pick. Could be they've done a turnaround on their opinion of Smith and are going to shake up their whole quarterback plan. Could be anything in between. But I feel pretty confident saying they don't want us or any of their competitors to know the answer. Nothing wrong with a little gamesmanship when you have something as valuable as the No. 4 pick in the draft.